The elf hits me doing what feels like eighty, blowing through the light at the new intersection by the outlet mall. One of his headlights glances off mine, and he swerves on two wheels before slamming into a construction barricade with the sound of a typewriter dropped off a roof. No seat belt: he is thrown from the car and sails into the desert.

It’s not until I’m through the scrub, the 911 dispatcher buzzing in my ear, that I realize he is beautiful.

He’s on his back in the creosote. The crash laid him just so. The elf’s black hair goes down his neck on either side of his ears, which are pointed, or, actually, slip-on versions of pointed ears. His costume isn’t Christmas elf but elf who is a thousand years old and lives in the woods. He’s definitely tall enough to run through the glades, hunt from the treetops with hair-strung bow. The top of his embroidered tunic laces like a shoe. The bottom hem is lifted, and I can see he’s in shape: above his tights, his hip bones make a V.