The Troll


He knew the troll was there—it always was.  He also knew that, if he was going to get the job done, he had to go over the troll’s bridge.  The answers he was seeking were on the other side.  Hopefully, the troll would be asleep when he came to the bridge.  He would take off his shoes and tiptoe across.  With stealth and luck he might make it across without having to deal with the troll.

“Well, this is pretty boring,” the troll conferred with himself after two days with nobody needing to cross his bridge.  For something to do, he scooped up a couple of fish from the stream and ate them whole, drooling fish parts down his hairy chest.

“I hope I can interfere with someone’s plans soon or I’m going to have to send out my gremlins to spy for me.”

The troll’s gremlins were the little amusement he used when the bridge patrons became too clever for him to catch.  They could make themselves invisible and travel far from the bridge to snoop around and get into important things that people were trying to carry across the bridge.  They did such things as make people forget, get into the things people were carrying and ensure they didn’t work once they were carried, sneakily, to the other side.  The troll would listen once he became aware that someone had snuck across the bridge, then wallow in laughter when he heard the tantrum and cussing from the person when they discovered their folly, perpetrated by the gremlins.  Creating misery in others was so much fun, so thought the troll.  

So, the man approached the bridge.  He had done everything possible, at least he thought he had, to prepare for what he had to do on the other side.  Lists completed and double checked.  All the information he needed to use on the other side was bound in a handsome binder, ready to present to a very important person—an old a wise person who could control the future of the man.  He knew that person would examine what he had prepared before accepting it.  He definitely didn’t want to have to go back over the troll’s bridge to get something he forgot or rework something that the important person wouldn’t accept.

Shoes off, pack on his back, and determination in his mind, the man stepped onto the troll’s bridge and started across.  He kept on his toes with each step, trying to be as quiet as possible.  He had timed his travels late in the evening, in the hope that he could catch the troll asleep.  It didn’t take many minutes and he reached the other side without so much as a whimper from the troll.  Back on with his shoes and on his way to his meeting went the man, satisfied that he had won.

But the troll wasn’t asleep at all.  In fact, it was all he could do to stifle his laugh as the man crept across the bridge.  The troll could always sense where his gremlins were and he knew that they were with the man, in his backpack.  The troll knew all was not lost—pandaemonium would still break out on the other side of the bridge.  He leaned back into the mud on the side of the creek with a smile on his face, grinning from one pointed ear to the other.

It didn’t take long.  When the man opened the carefully prepared documents he immediately noticed that he had forgotten something.  Something that made all his work unacceptable to the very important person.  That same person was directing him to go back to the man’s side of the bridge and find what he missed.

With fear in his heart the man approached the bridge again to get back home and discover what had gone wrong.  If the troll was awake he would things had not gone well for the man and he would laugh and tease the man with abandon.   This time the troll was sitting in the middle of the creek, upstream of the bridge, his fat, slimy tummy jiggling with laughter as the man strode back across to his own side.

“You’ll not get back over so easy next time, my good man,” screamed the troll.  “You’re going to be up all night trying to figure this one out, aren’t you?  Don’t you see how clever my gremlins are?”

“Yah, I’m going back to find out what went wrong, but I will, and I’ll smash all your gremlins to dust, you old, ugly, slimy bit of misery.”

“You don’t bother me Mr.  I got you this time—made my day I’ll tell you.  And, hey, you better be careful that I don’t send out some new gremlins to goof you up again.  Why not?  This is such fun.”

The man gave a finger to the troll, expressing his disgust, and went on his way, confident that he would win next time.  Now he knew exactly where to look for those damn gremlins.  There would be no safe place for them to hide under his eye.

You’ll want to know that this creature is unique—he's the Accounting Troll.  His gremlins hide out in spreadsheets and invoices, covering up numbers in such a way that they are there, but can’t be seen.  It often takes many different trips across the ‘bridge of completion’ before the gremlins relax and allow the mistakes to be visible.  They are annoying, create sleepless nights, and much worry that dementia has arrived.  This past week those nasty little things were in my house and they were winning, for a while, but I finally found those mischevous devils and flushed them from my work.  I went back over the bridge and this time made it safely across to the very important person, who liked my work.  The troll was extremely grumpy when I got to the bridge and wouldn’t even come out from underneath as I made my way back across to my place.  I made sure my laugh could be easily heard.