Decennial General Meeting – #fridayflash

For this week’s #fridayflash story, I present a whimsical little yarn about a bunch of trolls, lamenting their lot in the modern world. It’s not really a complete story, more a vignette, a snapshot in the secret lives of trolls. It’s possible that there’s a bigger story hidden in here somewhere, but for now I’ll let this piece go as a #fridayflash whimsy.

Decennial General Meeting

‘Sorry I’m late.’ Glom collapsed onto a log, running one hand over his knobbly face. He smoothed back his tangled grey hair. ‘This bloody walk seems longer every time.’

‘You’re just getting older,’ grinned Flarg. ‘We all are,’ he added quickly.

Glom picked up a gnarled stick. He waved it at Dendel, who rummaged in a bag, producing a wad of meat. Glom nodded his thanks, stuck the meat on the stick and thrust it into the fire between them. It hissed then began to brown.

‘It’s a pain,’ Dendel said absently. ‘Why do we bother?’

‘Tradition,’ said Cronk authoritatively. He was the squattest of them all and had the air of one that knew everything. He was alone in this self assessment.

‘Tradition bollocks,’ barked Glom.

They were silent, moonlight bathing the woods. Old trees ringed the clearing, silhouettes guarding the meeting. Night creatures muttered and hooted beyond the firelight. Glom pulled his meat from the flames and chewed noisily.

‘Well, while we’re here…’ Shrend said, looking around. He wriggled his green toes, nails like gravestones piercing the earth.

‘I had a lad last month,’ Bilglen announced. ‘I spent weeks coaxing him, playing to his human curiousity.’ His face darkened. ‘When I got him he had a cold. Tasted mostly of snot.’

Dendel laughed, baring teeth like chunks of old wood. ‘You’re an animal, Bil.’

Bilglen grinned. ‘Aren’t we all?’

‘We should mind our reputation,’ Flarg said thoughtfully, ‘There was a time we’d only eat the fairest young humans.’

‘Hah!’ All eyes turned to Cronk, bushy eyebrows raised, faces barely concealing contempt. ‘Well,’ Cronk went on, defensively, ‘you talk about reputation. None of you even live under a bridge any more.’

‘No one lives under bridges any more, except you,’ Glom said, spitting out a bone. He paused, then retrieved the bone and popped it back into his mouth.

‘Takes too much energy,’ agreed Shrend. ‘The magic you need to be invisible for such long periods isn’t worth it.’

‘You’re the ones that brought up reputations!’

Shrend pointed at Flarg. ‘He brought up reputations.’

‘You have to move with the times,’ Dendel said ruefully. ‘It gets harder every year. Most bridges have motorways under them these days. There are more people all the time, but it gets harder to eat them. Look at Bil, coaxing snotty little brats into the woods. Weeks he said it took him. There was a time when I ate every week!’ He looked sadly down at his scrawny legs and hairy pot belly.

The group slipped into silence again, scratching at boils and testicles. The moon hung above them, incurious.

‘Do you still live under that bridge?’ asked Flarg eventually. Cronk nodded. ‘And look at you, fat and bloated. You look like you eat whenever you like.’

Cronk smiled a nasty smile. It said, You should all be more like me.

‘Well,’ Dendel said into the icy silence. ‘Is there any business to discuss? We travel all this way, use up loads of magic. It’s only once a decade.’

The others shuffled uncomfortably. Only Cronk sat still, fat and superior on a tree stump, sneering.

Dendel sighed. ‘I spoke to Soliloguin a few weeks ago. He said his people are moving up to Pict. The Nottingham forests are reducing every year. They have hardly any room left to hunt.’

Glom looked up. ‘Really? Long journey for them.’

Bilglen laughed. ‘Crossing a stream is a long journey for an Imp!’

Glom rolled his eyes. ‘That’s the point. If they reckon Nottingham is getting too small for them, what chance do we have? What about the Leprechauns?’

Dendel shook his head. ‘Dunno. Flarg? You know a few, right?’

‘Not any more,’ Flarg said wistfully. ‘None left in Albion now. They’ve all gone back to Emerald. Like the Faerie.’

‘Merlin’s Cock!’ cried Glom.

Bilglen nodded. ‘These humans are a plague.’

‘Ironic it is, but it’ll be the end of us.’ Glom poked his stick into the coals of the fire. ‘There used to be a time when you’d find us under just about every bridge.’ He scowled at Cronk, who sniffed and folded his arms. ‘Then the bridges became unsafe…’

‘Not all of them,’ said Cronk.

Glom glared. ‘Most bridges became unsafe. Then people stopped walking over bridges, driving everywhere instead, completely oblivious to nature. We retreat into woods and they start running roads through all the forests. Rock me, some of us even started walking out in the sunshine, considering eternity as stone the easier option! Now what? There’s six of us here, a dozen in Pict, a couple in Cym. Who knows about Emerald.’

‘Actually,’ Flarg said, ‘there are a few there. My cousin was visiting and he said they’re doing okay. Still lots of open spaces. Far fewer than the old days, but they’re getting by.’

Glom scowled. ‘Well, bully for those scrotes. The fact remains, life isn’t what it used to be.’

Cronk made a noise of dismissal. ‘For some of us.’ All eyes turned to him. ‘I’m just saying. Moving with the times is not all it’s cracked up to be.’

‘Right!’ Glom stood up, swiftly clearing the fire. The thatch around his balls flared as the flames licked it. He grabbed Cronk by his squishy neck.

Cronk squealed, scrabbling at Glom’s fingers. The others around the fire leapt up, shouting uselessly.

‘Rock him!’ Glom yelled and grabbed Cronk’s ankles with his other hand. Upending the fat troll he slammed his head down into a rock, a pile driver of wobbling flesh. Cronk’s head burst like an egg dropped from a nest.

Silence descended on the group. They all stood frozen. Glom still held Cronk, dripping. He looked slowly around, an expression best described as ‘Oops’ etched into his craggy features.

‘So,’ said Flarg. ‘Five left in Albion.’

‘On the upside,’ said Dendel slowly, ‘I hear there’s a good bridge location available near Exeter.’

END

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31 thoughts on “Decennial General Meeting – #fridayflash

  1. Oh my, glad we’ve no bridges nearby here… got our hands full with our menehune and night marchers.

    Started to wonder if I could keep all the names separated, but you moved the dialogue so well it didn’t matter, cued me into Cronk so effectively.

  2. This is hysterical. I love the way you’ve built up the characters and created a whole atmosphere. It’s really easy to picture this little troll party clearly.

    Snot. Lordy. That was so totally gross.

    Very nicely done!

  3. This is my first chance to stop by Alan and what a joy.

    I enjoyed the superimposed “fantasy” world onto the real world … a unique take on the ruinations for progress. And I always love a story which is carried on the wings of dialogue.

    I was most intrigued by Cronk’s bridge and how it was, that the bridge in Exeter still had good pickings. What was unique about his bridge (is there something special about bridges in Exeter?)

    And I could almost imagine the trolls going without their magic to live with the homeless under bridges and overpasses etc – and to really be unnoticed – because after all, who ever really bothers to “look” at the homeless. Only the homeless look at each other and there is something of a solidarity between most. would that be considered by trolls as going “over to the dark side”??

    Humourous ending … I wonder if a battle to the death ensued, leaving the last troll in Albion in retirement comfort under that bridge in Exeter!

  4. Rosa – Always be wary of bridges!

    Jodi – Thanks for dropping by. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. Who knows what’s better about Exeter? More space maybe? 🙂

    Ben – Thanks, mate.

  5. Oh, man! I thought for sure the other trolls were going to eat Cronk in the end because 1. they weren’t eating as well as he, 2. he was an annoying know-it-all, and 3. He was nice and fat and juicy. :p

    Pretty gross story! Nice job!

  6. The callousness of that last line was a wonderful way to end the story and show the brutality of the trolls at the same time.

    “Tasted mostly of snot.”

    Great Line.

  7. This probably wasn’t the smartest choice of story to read while eating lunch but it was very entertaining! I too chucked at “Merlin’s Cock!”

    Nicely written!

  8. ganymeder – It’s easy to imagine Cronk on a spit by the next paragraph, had I written that!

    Stephen – Thanks very much.

  9. I’m actually away this weekend, so I’ll get onto everyone else’s story early next week – I’m not ignoring you! Thanks for your comments all.

    🙂

  10. A fun read. I love the behind the scenes look into the private lives of fantasy creatures. Very witty and nicely paced. And thanks for giving me something new to shout in exasperation. You gotta really be bent on killing to not care if your bollocks catch fire.

  11. Marisa, Kylie, Chris, Jennifer, JM and Michael – thanks all for the kind comments. Interesting how much of a hit “Merlin’s Cock!” seems to be. I’ll be glad if that finds it’s way into general parlance – I’ve been using it for a while now. Here’s hoping it catches on. 🙂

  12. Things are tough all over, sure enough. I too loved Merlin’s Cock, but I choked even more at the image of them scratching at boils and testicles. Could have guessed they’d be male trolls – wonder if female trolls are even more gross? An excellent story, thanks.

  13. Funny stuff. Cronk’s just deserts for all that smugness seems just about right. Great use of dialogue to show character. Another good read. Cheers for putting a smile on my face.

  14. Pippa – Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.

    Anthony – Excellent work! Let us know how you get on.

    Dan – Thanks, no problem.

  15. What were you eating/drinking when you dreamed up this little baby? Very droll. (geddit?)

    I personally enjoyed your use of ‘boils’ and ‘testicles’ in the same short sentence. Gross.

    Nicely done!

  16. Thanks Lily – I often find it’s best not to look too deeply at where my ideas come from. That way, madness lies!

  17. I have to laugh – we have trolls on the brain this week – you and Jim W also! Maybe there are more troll stories down the list that I have yet to read …!

    Very nice story – it’s a good juxtaposition of the fantasy and reality – and even better if the reader is familiar with the actual places mentioned.

  18. The thing to do is to cut the head off the child first then you don’t get that snotty aftertaste.

    I enjoyed everybody in the comment thread suggesting that trolls are fantasy.

    I did tell you that I just rejoined the dating pool right?

    Just FYI? Trolls aren’t mythical.

    Great story as always Alan!! Funny! but gross! but funny! [but gross] damn. where’s the infinity button?
    Karen :0)

  19. PJ – I haven’t got to Jim’s story yet I don’t think. Trolls are cool.

    Karen – Does that mean that you take the heads of potential dates? Sort of a preying mantis style of dating?

    Thanks for the comments.

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