Bridge Trolls, on a Downward Slide

by JM Becker

 

    

 

My father pulled me aside, and pressed a rusty pocketknife into my hand. He looked me in the eyes, and said, "Son I am leaving." My mother was weeping in the other room, I asked, "What's wrong with Mother?"

 

   "She's got a busted lip." Father said, while exhaling cigarette smoke into my face, "Sometime you have to slap a Broad, it helps them see things your way."

 

   "Where are you going?" I asked.

 

   "I got plans, big plans, and you two are slowing me down. You are like a goddamn speed bump! So, this knife will keep you safe. Carry it with always. Don't forget, slap Broads, and Men only respect a guy with a knife."

 

   Mother ran into the room, blood trickled from her bottom lip, she yelled, "You bastard!" Father raised his hand, and Mother back away. A car honked on the street, and Father ran to the living room window. He laughed, "Well, I'll be damned" he turned back and placed a hand on my head, "Son, just so you know, you really are a bastard."

 

   A few weeks later, Mother was committed to a hospital, diagnosed with Hysterics. Before she went crazy, she sent me to live with an elderly woman, named Susan. At first Susan was very nice. She was the first person that ever offered a hug and a kiss. Before Susan, I only got one or the other. She taught me about manners and morals. And even though I never really comprehend, I always tried to appear thankful and loving.

 

   One day, Susan tried to teach me about personal hygiene. She extended her pointer finger and placed it behind my ear. She gasped, "The area behind your ear is filthy!" I felt dirty, angry, and insignificant, so I reached for the pocket knife. When Susan saw the dull gleam of the big blade, she took a quick step backwards and tripped over her favorite ottoman. She fell hard onto the granite coffee table, cracking her head open.

 

   Eventually, she got up, but she was never the same. After the fall she was a crazy old hag. She would sit in her leather recliner holding a shotgun, mumbling to herself about little red train cabooses. And she never let me out of her sight. She moved my bedroom into the living room and made me sleep on a plastic coated couch.

 

   The day I turned thirty-three, I stood up and pulled out the knife. Susan's eyes got real big when she saw the big blade again. Her mouth dropped open and her body started to shake. I could see her finger inching for the trigger so I said, "Go ahead and shoot, bitch!" But, instead of shooting she fell out of the chair and started shaking all over the beige carpet. I got tried of watching her shake so I turned around and watched an episode of the "A-Team". And when that was over I walked out the front door.

 

***

 

Incest has a funny effect on your love life. I found this out the hard way a few nights ago. I was holding my lover, kissing, and caressing her, when she said, "J.J., darling, can I tell you a secret?"

 

   "Sure kid. Secrets are my livelihood."

 

   "Not this type of secret."

 

   "I've heard them all, lay it on me."

 

   "J.J., my daughter's father is my father."

 

   After I slapped the Broad a few times, I was still a bit emotional, so I pulled out my pocketknife. I was using it as an emotional crutch.

 

   "Esmeralda, these are the things you declare during the first date."   Esmeralda slumped to the floor and balled up. I could hear her daughter, Sophie, crying in the other room. I extended my pointer finger and caught one of Esmeralda's tears with my fingertip. I placed Esmeralda's tear below the corner of my right eye.

 

   "Listen kid, this isn't working out. I got plans, and you two are slowing me down."

 

   "No, J.J. You said, you'd never leave."

 

   I took a drag off my cigarette and exhaled the smoke into Esmeralda's face, "I checked the calendar today, kid. And do you know what today is?"

 

   "Thursday?"

 

   "Nope. Today is J.J. Day. And, I am hitting the road."

 

   Little Sophie ran into the room. I placed a hand on her head; I had never noticed how close together her eyes rest, "Sophie, just so you know, you are the creation of an evil thing."

 

***

 

They kill the dogs that attack humans. I read that today in the newspaper. The article was about a Rottweiler named, Sam. His master, had commanded Sam to sit, but instead Sam sunk his teeth into his master's stomach, and tore out twenty-five feet of his small intestine.

 

   "Why don't they just dig into their brains, and cut away all the evil?"

 

   "Once they taste blood, they'll always lust for it. Sort of like you alcoholics."

 

   "That's no way for a Bartender to talk to his clientele!"

 

   "Listen J.J., you haven't paid for a drink in three weeks. You are no longer my clientele! You are a goddamn dependent."

 

   I reached into my pocket and clenched the pocketknife. This guy gives me a few drinks, here and there, and lets me sleep in the small room on the second floor, and he thinks he can talk to me like that?

 

   "Son of a Bitch!" I yelled, while pulling the pocketknife from my pocket. "You are going to pay for those words!"

 

   I woke up in the small bedroom on the second floor. My top lip was cracked; I could taste my bitter blood. Florescent light, from the beer signs, seeped into the small room. Why don't they dig into the dog's brain and take away the evil. Maybe that Sam did not feel like sitting. Maybe ripping his master's guts out was his way of saying no.

 

***

 

It takes nine months for a baby to bake. In the mother's stomach, I mean. I am sure you could bake a baby in the oven in a few hours. But I don't think that's something you should do. Imagine the smell.

 

   "I think I'll have the Veal today."

 

   "Veal? This is a soup kitchen. All we have is chicken soup and crackers."

 

   "No Veal? Well, I suppose the Chicken Soup will do."

 

   I have been residing in a crevice. I have heard a few bums talk about me behind my back, "That man lives in a hole." It is not my fault they kicked me out of the shelter. Actually, it is my fault. I pulled the pocketknife on one of the kitchen workers. A man can only eat so much chicken soup.

 

   Even the intellectual bums in the park laugh, "That vagabond dwells in a vug!" I just put my head down and grip the knife. They know about the knife. A few of them had the pleasure of seeing it in action. That son of a bitch, Franklin, laughed when I said, "King Me!"

 

   "This is Chess, not Checkers!"

 

   "Son of Bitch!" I yelled, while prying the largest blade from the knife base, small flakes of rust edged up under my thumbnail. Franklin's lover, Mary, tossed him a good-sized stick and we started to dance. Five or six bums circled up and cheered us on, "Poke that caveman's eyes out Franklin!" I jabbed the knife at him a few times, but he was very quick, especially for a guy with a prosthetic leg.

 

   Mary yelled, "Franklin don't let him stick you with that blade, you'll get lockjaw, again!" I guess Franklin had a bad experience with tetanus, because he got all fired up and started charging at me with his stick. "Never again!" he screamed.

 

   I woke up under a small bridge. Two young boys were tossing pebbles at my face and laughing. A little girl and her mother walked over the bridge. I could hear the little girl ask, "Mommy is that a bridge troll?" The mother answered, indifferently, "Yes."

 

   "Just like Rumplestiltskin?"

 

   "Exactly."

 

   That dumb Broad was lucky I could not feel my legs; I would have gotten up and slapped her across the mouth. Rumplestiltskin was a tactful partisan. He would have gotten everything he desired, if he only kept his mouth shut.

 

   I picked myself out of the slow trickle of the stream and walked over to the pebble-tossing boys. "Hey kids, you got any money for Frank?"

 

**

 

JM Becker is a freelance writer and computer programmer in

Baltimore, Maryland.

 

 

Archived at http://lit.konundrum.com/prose/beckerj_trolls.htm