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Put Your Gnome Out There

September 5, 2022
Photo by Stefan –

I don’t know why I’d told my mother about the pub around the corner and it’s trivia nights, but now our entire weekly phone call had been her trying to convince me to attend said trivia night. Her argument consisted of three points: 1) I was new to the neighborhood and didn’t know anyone, 2) I was new to the city and didn’t know anyone, and 3) I didn’t know anyone. She wasn’t wrong.

“Honey, just take a chance. What’s the worst that could happen?” She’d asked.

“I can’t just stroll in without a team. That’s not the way trivia is played.” I argued.

“I sure there’s a free-agent team. You can just go up to the DJ and ask when you get there.”

She’d had a point. I was never going to leave my apartment without a purpose, and I’d never make new friends if I didn’t leave my apartment. But my robe and slippers were so comfy.

There was also the little issue of the sign out front, which is what compelled me to share with my mother in the first place. When I passed the pub on my way home from work it read, “Tuesdays are free if you bring a gnome costume”. It sounded so ridiculous that I’d had to share with my mother, who proceeded to tell me how to cobble together a respectable gnome costume.

“Get out of the house and take a chance. Everyone else will look ridiculous too, so you won’t be embarrassed.” There was a long pause before she continued. “Think about it as a way to re-define yourself, honey. Be the person who has the courage to dress in a gnome costume and show up at trivia without a team. Put yourself out there. Wasn’t that the whole point of moving?”

There was more silence.

“I know mom. Thanks for the pep talk. I gotta go.”

“Let me know how trivia goes!” I could almost see her wink at me through the phone and couldn’t help smiling.

“I will. I love you mom.”


So, here I am standing outside the pub dressed in a red pointed hat. There’s a green apron tied at my waist over a darker green dress that poofs out a bit to look like a bell. I’m wearing knee-high red and white stripped socks stuffed into clogs. I look a little like a gnome Christmas tree, but it’s the best I could do. I took a picture and sent it to my mom before I left the apartment. She’d immediately sent back a whole row of smiling emojis.

I take a deep breath and push through the door. It take a few seconds to adjust to the soft light and then I see them. A sea of gnomes decked out in every color of pointed hat. I see fake belly-length beards and tunics with pillows tucked into them to create rounded bellies. Some of the women have flowers tucked into their hair or under their pointy hats. I even see a woman sporting a well groomed mustache and beard combo.

I make my way to the DJ table and wait my turn to ask about teams. He’s talking to a woman with long blonde braids falling out from under a blue pointy hat.

“Just wait a bit and I’m sure someone will turn up Suz,” the DJ says to her and goes back to his paperwork. She humphs in response and moves toward the bar close by.

“Team name?” the DJ asks me without looking up from the table.

“Um… well, I don’t have a team. I just moved here and I was hoping there was some kind of free agent program or something that I could hop in on.”

The DJ looks up and gives me a slow once over before grinning. “Nice socks,” he says without any hint of mockery. “Suz, there’s a gnome here for you,” he yells toward the bar.

I hear a squeal, followed by a cheer. As Suz makes her way back to the table, beer in hand, the DJ says, “Welcome to the neighborhood…” and when his voice trails off I realize he’s fishing for my name.

I quickly fill in the blank. “London. My name is London. Nice to meet you…”

“Peter.” He offers his hand and I give it a shake. “You have a cool name, London. This is Suz.” He inclines his head toward the girl with the blonde braids who has maneuvered back to the table. “Suz, this is London. She’s new in town and looking for a team.”

“Awesome! One of our regulars got a new boyfriend and has gone MIA on us. She probably won’t come up for air for months if it goes well.” Suz grins at me and I can’t help but flash her a wide smile. “Come meet the rest of the crew.”

Suz starts towards the bar. She’s still talking as she weaves through the crowd.

“Thanks,” I tell Peter.

“Don’t worry, Suz and her friends are great. Let me know if you need anything.”

“I will,” I say and give him a deep smile before twirling on my clogs to follow Suz.

** The Gnome Craft Pub is an actual pub located in St. Paul Minnesota and instead of trivia nights they have bingo! I came across it as I was searching for inspiration for this story. If anyone has ever been, let me know how it is. The menu looks fabulous!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Yael Kisel permalink
    October 17, 2022 6:48 pm

    This is a great start to something. It left me wanting more! ☺️

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