|photo by sharon|
Everyone agreed Grunk had been the best troll the bridge had ever had.
He’d terrified small children, eaten goats and published several award winning collections of riddles - including one composed entirely of sonnets. He had been a real boon for local tourism as well; every week he would leap melodramatically from beneath the bridge and pretend not to let coach loads of pensioners pass - then give them all homemade scones. Grunk was a hero, but he had very suddenly and unexpectedly announced his retirement. Speculation was rife - a health scare perhaps? The end of the “will they / won’t they” friendship between he and the Vicar? No one knew for sure, but by the September weekend, Grunk had quietly gone, leaving a very large hole to fill beneath the village bridge.
An emergency planning meeting was called to discuss recruiting a new troll.
“Okay, I don’t want to be negative,” said Councillor Green, signalling a very real intention to be precisely that, “but the problem here is that you can’t just advertise for a troll. It’s discriminatory. The job has to be open to all monsters.”
“Are you sure?” said Councillor White, “Only....dragons wouldn’t really fit under the bridge.”
“I’m not trying to be negative, I’m just telling you the rules.” said Councillor Green.
So, the village advertised for a new “monster” for under the bridge. It didn’t really go very well; on the face of it, the mermaid seemed like quite a good choice for a riverside job, but she couldn’t actually get out of the water to chase folk off the bridge; the ogre, while certainly the most trollish of the initial applicants, was suspended on full pay after he ate an old lady; the vampire just dissolved. It was time for another emergency meeting.
“We’ve been given permission to have the job exempt from some equalities legislation,” said Councillor White, “we can now specify the job is for a troll.”
“Now I don’t want to be negative,” said Councillor Green, “but I’ve a real concern around some of the health and safety issues monster employment presents.”
“But Grunk was with us for years with no problems.” said Councillor White.
“Yes, but that was before the ogre ate the old lady. We’re under the microscope now,”
“But you made us employ the ogre!”
“And we’ve had comments from parents, suggesting we try a friendly troll so as not to cause fear and distress in children.”
“Why don’t we just make sure they’re vegetarian as well in case we upset any goats?” said Councillor White.
“That’s actually a really good idea.” said Councillor Green, “Could someone minute that?”
So, the village advertised for a new child friendly vegetarian troll. No one applied. Because there’s no such thing.
“That’s really disappointing.” said Councillor Green, “Especially with so many monsters apparently unable to find work right now.”
“Look we’ve recruited folk for down the zombie mines faster than this.” said Councillor White, “We’re coming back into summer season and this needs sorted. How about ‘Wanted - Scary Troll for under bridge’?”
“Ah well,” said Councillor Green, “over the last few months we’ve had a team under that bridge. It has some real structural issues and it’s probably going to need taken down.”
“What?! But people come here for the bridge and our troll...”
“Yes. But it looks like that’s no longer sustainable,” said Councillor Green.
There was momentary silence while no one disagreed.
“Okay then, next item. Pre-approval for new supermarket on former bridge site.”
A flashpoint written at Swan Hotel, Newby Bridge in the Lake District - thankfully the bridge is in absolutely no danger of being replaced by a supermarket and so the troll living under there is quite safe.