A gnome decked out in a hat with lime and pink feathers, complete with a pair of tusks, waved delightedly.
“Wow, Vamen, where in the world did you find that topper?” I marveled at his newest head adornment. Outlandish hats are to Vamen what designer shoes are to human women.
“Got it from an angry jungle gnome. Long story.” He cackled with a dismissive wave. “How are you and Ringo doing — BY BONZO’S BRASS BUTTONS, IS THAT YOURS?”
I place me hand on the head of a blond toddler peeking out behind me robe. “This is Bael, our wee son, aye. He’s nearly two now. He’s off to stay with his ‘Opa and Oma’ while Ringo takes me on yet another fun-filled expedition.”
Bael gave a floppy wave and began quacking enthusiastically, his new favorite game. “Gak, gak!”
“Wow! I’ve been away longer than I thought. Sheesh, what else have I missed? Nothing big, I hope.”
As if on cue, a night elf strutted by on a blue-painted mechnostrider, tooting on the horn and switching blinkers on and off like a child playing with a new toy. The gears and pumps supporting the seat hissed and creaked under the extra weight. These machines were not designed for heavy loads.
Vamen sputtered and stammered as the tips of his ears turned red.
I grunted at the sight and explained, “Gnomish Motors is now allowing the humans, night elves, and draenei to purchase their vehicles.”
“Why, in the name of all that is sacred, why?!”
“Economy ain’t doing well, lad. The king of Stormwind would not give the gnomes bailout money unless they fired the head of GM, Wagonwheel Featherwhistle, and sold their vehicles more aggressively. That meant opening up the market to new buyers.”
“The king of Stormwind?! What about High Tinker Mekkatorque?!”
“I heard that he was trying to secure more funds to send troops into Gnomeregan. The war has been dragging on and starting to losing favor with the public since we have more pressing concerns in Northrend and abroad. Luxury vehicles ain’t a top priority, lad.”
Vamen sighed, his shoulders slumped forward in defeat. “This just is not right.”
The mechnostrider backfired as the night elf gunned the motor and sped off in a cloud of smoke.
“It sure ain’t.”