Bridge Troll Blues
It’s not easy being a bridge troll to begin with, much less being one in the age of Google & Siri. How are you going to keep people off your bridge if they can just search-engine their way out of your best riddles? One troll may have found a solution.
THRAG: Hey, Glorg. I need some new riddles.
GLORG: You’ve never needed new riddles.
THRAG: I need them now.
GLORG: I’m just…this is unprecedented. Thrag the bridge troll, who has asked the same three riddles since bridges were invented, Thrag is asking me for new material.
THRAG: You don’t have to make a big deal about it.
GLORG: Don’t I? We should mark this on the calendar! It should be a troll holiday! Young trolls should sing songs and eat sweets on this day! There should be a parade! I’d hate for this moment to be lost to time!
THRAG: Are you finished?
GLORG: Not remotely. But I will spare you the details of my vision of the festivities of “Thrag Asked For More Riddles Day,” if you tell me why.
THRAG: Well, it all started with…
GLORG: It ends with a costume contest!
THRAG: What does?
GLORG: Thrag Asked For More Riddles Day.
THRAG: I thought you were going to spare me any more details.
GLORG: Had to say that one.
THRAG: But you’re done now?
THRAG: ‘Cause I am not going to tell you why I need more riddles if you keep interrupting me.
GLORG: You are tough but fair. Lay it on me.
THRAG: Okay. Well. It all started with the slabs.
THRAG: Yeah, the little slabs? Seems like every human has one now. They look hard, but they must be soft because they can’t seem to stop touching them or putting them up against their faces.
GLORG: Oh, those. “Sell phones,” I think they’re called.
THRAG: Why would they be called that?
GLORG: I dunno. I guess they use them to sell things. I’ve also heard humans call them “smart phones.”
THRAG: That makes more sense! I was thinking humans seemed smarter recently, but that can’t be it. It’s the slabs. The slabs are smart for them. I’ll give ‘em one of my three riddles, right? And then they’d stroke the slab, or they’d talk to it, and then I’d have to let them through, ‘cause they’d solve the riddle! But they’re not solving it! It’s their smart slabs.
GLORG: That’s why you need new riddles?
THRAG: Yeah, something they can’t guess, no matter how much they tickle their slabs!
GLORG: I’m afraid I cannot help you.
GLORG: There is no riddle that cannot be guessed with a properly tickled slab.
THRAG: What do you do, then?
GLORG: I’ve got a slab of my own. (hefts a large flat rock) If they whip out one of their smart slabs, I take out this dumb one here, lift up over my head like this, and slam it down on their slab.
THRAG: And that breaks the slab?
GLORG: And their hands, most days.
THRAG: I guess I don’t need new riddles, then.
GLORG: Too bad. The traditional layer cake for “Thrag Asked For More Riddles Day” was going to be amazing.
Jadzia Axelrod is an author, an illustrator, and a world changer. Throughout her eventful life she has also been a circus performer, a puppeteer, a graphic designer, a sculptor, a costume designer, a podcaster and quite a few other things that she’s lost track of but will no doubt remember when the situation calls for it.She is the writer and producer of “The Voice Of Free Planet X” podcast, were she interviews stranded time-travelers, low-rent superheroes, unrepentant monsters and other such creature of sci-fi and fantasy, as well as the podcasts “Aliens You Will Meet” and “Fables Of The Flying City.” The story started in “Fables Of The Flying City” is concluded in The Battle Of Blood & Ink, a graphic novel published by Tor.She is not domestic, she is a luxury, and in that sense, necessary.