Last week my sister brought home a new addition to our family.

My sister worked ridiculously hard on her science fair project for biology, taking significantly more time than I spent. She planned it from start to finish, researched intensely, and presented a fantastic project. To the best of my knowledge, she got something like a billion percent on it, a few percent higher than mine got. The judges at the science fair were so pleased with her breakthrough work on proper fish anesthesiology that she won a number of awards for her research. I can't exactly remember what most of the prizes were, but among them were the Nobel Peace Prize, the John Newbury Award for Outstanding Achievement in Children's Literature, and a life-size cardboard cutout of Orlando Bloom's interpretation of Legolas.

Where do you keep a bigtime, hotshot celebrity like that? When my sister brought him home, my family seemed to decide that he belonged in the front hall next to the door. "That way," they probably reasoned, "we can have our very own butler for a fraction of the cost!" He wouldn't be my first pick for the job-- he refuses to wear a tux, doesn't take our phone messages for us, and doesn't shine his shoes-- but he gets the job done, loves what he does, and earns his keep. What more could we ask? Unfortunately he scares off most of our visitors, but I have yet to see a single Uruk, troll, or Nasgul within four hundred feet of our house, for which I'm deeply grateful. Naturally we offer him free room and board, but he seems content to diligently keep to his post night and day, being the seasoned veteran of butlery he is.

Legolas stands at about five and a half feet or so off the ground, which is about a half foot shorter than I am. Despite the height disparity between us, he's a very intimidating presence to have around the house. At first glance, he looks exactly like his publicity photos most of us have probably seen in the Teen Teen Pre-Teen Celebrity Thirteen Teen Magazine special issue, "Elf Watch" (just admit you own that one): he's poised and set to fight at a moment's notice, bow to his side and arrows at the ready. The weirdest thing about him is how his eyes seem to always penetrate your very soul, no matter where you are in the room. There's no escaping it, and it's sort of creepy. Worst of all is his rocky personality. He's found occasion more than once to scare the living daylights out of me for a cheap laugh.

Since he stays at the bottom of the stairs, he always gets me when he jumps from the shadows and I hear an imagined "BOO" as I'm getting ready for school, shaking my composure and putting me on a nervous edge the rest of the day. Every time I come up from the basement on the way up to bed at night, it takes me a few seconds to gather myself as I remember who my only acquaintance is with a wardrobe of Elven tunics and boots, complete with accompanying arrow satchel. Then, after I realize who it is, I have the eeriest feeling that he's watching me as I move through the hall. If anyone notices my eyes darting nervously about this week at school, it would be best to leave the subject be.

I figure the only way I can save myself all of this trauma is to turn it on my sister. When she's asleep, I'm going to go move Legolas outside the door to her room and wait until morning. Wish me luck.

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