Anyway, I’m crossing this bridge. I have what’s left of a six pack of Great Western dangling from one hand and a smoke in the other. About halfway across I thought I should stop and take in the view.
I was standing there, puffing on my cigarette and sipping on a beer, and watching the Paddlewheel Queen lumber by when I noticed a smell. I turned around. There was a huge, blue, slathering troll there.
“Hello,” I said to the troll, extending my hand, “My name is Reverend Blair.”
“Me Doug,” grumbled the troll. “This my bridge, you must pay toll.” I noticed that he had a bit of a drawl and kind of a lisp too.
I took a sip of beer and considered, “Well, Doug, as far as I know this bridge was built with public money so that all who crossed it could enjoy the walk, and all who saw it could enjoy the beauty.”
“My bridge!” Doug insisted.
“‘fraid not Doug. This bridge belongs to all of us. You can sleep under it if you want, but you have to leave people alone.”
“Privatise!” Bellowed Doug. He was clearly getting agitated.
“No, Doug...public. For all of us. The restaurant is rented out to Burton Cummings. That was likely a bad idea because of the bad food that Burt’s company sells, but that’s the only private thing about this bridge.”
Doug jumped around a bit...he actually looked like a little kid doing the pee-pee dance. “Private better, me make toll money.”
“It’s not your bridge, Doug.” I finished my beer and tossed the empty in the recycle bin. I considered moving on, then realised I was quite enjoying myself. I lit a smoke and opened another can of Great Western.
Doug the blue troll sniffed the air, then looked at the beer. “Give Doug beer!” he said.
“No, Doug,” I replied, “This beer is made by union workers. They do not want their hard work wasted on radical right bridge trolls.”
Doug looked suddenly dejected, “If I had gun, I just take beer.”
“You don’t have a gun though, do you, Doug?”
“No. Stupid government!” Doug was close to tears.
I extended my pack of Marlboros to him. “Here, have a smo...” Doug grabbed the whole pack and ate it. I stubbed my lit smoke on his left cheek.
“Owie,” said Doug, rubbing his cheek, “Why you do that?”
“Because you ate my smokes.”
He pondered that for a second, then said, “You just hate me because I’m blue.” He seemed to be regaining his original vigour. I wondered if he was manic depressive. I discovered, much to my delight, that I didn’t care.
“Nonsense. I don’t hate anybody. I just don’t tolerate greedy little bastards who would do anything for a dollar and keep trying to steal what belongs to everybody.”
“Not steal, privatise.” Doug the blue troll returned to doing his version of the pee pee dance. “Now give me toll. Give me beer.”
I kind of giggled a bit. I couldn’t help it. He looked ridiculous and was clearly even less intelligent than the average blue troll. I finished my beer and began walk past him.
“I don’t want stupid bridge anyway,” Doug screamed, “It have million dollar socialist toilet!”
Now I’m a tolerant guy, and I’m not prone to violence, but I’ve got my limits. I whacked him across the eyes with my two remaining union-made beer. That got his attention. He rushed me, screaming something nonsensical about socialism. I side-stepped him, then tripped him as he stumbled past. He slid head first into the railing on the other side, knocking himself out cold.
I took the plastic ring thingy from around the beer cans and fashioned a set of handcuffs suitable for restraining even the most agitated troll. I dragged him back to my truck, then transported him to my house where I had the dogs keep an eye on him while I fashioned a crate out of old pallets.
I took the crate down to the CN station, slapped a couple of stickers on it that said “Live Animal” and arranged for him to go to Moose Jaw. My friend Derry will pick him up there. Derry raises goats and, as we all know from the children’s literature, goats know what to do with trolls.