I had a student. My student had a friend. That friend had a job. That job had a job for me. So, my student’s friend told my student that his job had a job that I should call them about.
I said yes, confused.
“What’s the job?” I asked.
“Editorial work,” my student told me. Then added, “they pay well, you owe me a drink.”
And she was right. They did pay well, or said they’d pay well. It turned out to be a magazine for Trolls. One of those “under-the-bridge” magazines; the government was onto them a while ago.
As it turned out, trolls are a quite PC bunch.
The first article I was sent–passcode required–was entitled ‘When My Grandma Was Stoned, No One Giggled.’
The trolls seemed to have taken quite an issue with a great deal of modern lingo. (Including the word ‘lingo’ which as it turns out was the name of a well-respected basket-troll from the early 1800’s)
Personally, I didn’t care. I dislike slang and like money. (Slang and Money, coincidentally being the title of another article I was hired to edit.)
“Meet under bridge,” the text said, at the end of the month.
“Which bridge?” I asked.
“Nearest your home,” was the creepiest response I’ve ever received via text.
So, here I am. He comes up out of the water. He is big–stupid big–with jaundice hair. He is paler than I thought a troll might be. He doesn’t smile. He hands me a zip-lock bag full of cash. I take it. A number is written on the side, it is the right number. I nod. He nods.
“Good?” He says, in a deep accent.
I nod again. We stand beside each other a few more moments, awkward.
“There will be more work this month,” he growls before diving into the water, leaving a splash much smaller than him behind.
On my way back up to the surface I’m stopped. A hippopotamus, in uniform.
“Where are you going?” he asks, in Russian.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I tell him, in English.
“Where you going?” he asks, in English
“My tour group, can you help me find my tour group!” I say, bleary eyed, looking around.
The Hippo sighs.
“Go,” he says. I walk past him, heart pounding. He grabs my arm, I stop. He points back the way I came. His eyes go wide.
“There be a troll,” is what I imagine he would have said if a troll had not, at that moment, leapt up and bit off his head.
So, I run. As I do, the troll calls something after me.
But, I don’t catch it, of course; his mouth is full.