TROLL STORY | Natalee Caple

I don’t know what your mum’s like but my mother is an actual troll; I don’t mean like when I call my friend Steph a troll — she’s a bitch and a slag but she’s a human being; no, my mother has the whole green skin, hooded brow, British teeth, clothes from Reitman’s — she is a real live troll and I heard you just then how’d she nab your dad? well, that question is sexist! you are a sexist pig and my dad’s a troll too; no I’m not a troll — what’s the matter with you? I’m adopted that’s the whole truth; my mum and dad went walking in an actual cabbage patch, kicked a baby, that was me; lots of trouble with the paperwork — I almost went to couple in Halifax; he was a werewolf but she was normal and nine times out of ten you can lock that shit up; anyway it’s not the first thing your friends see when you get dropped off at school — but no they broke up and I went to Mr. and Mrs. Ain’t Life Under A Bridge Grand; I don’t care if you liked Shrek — God that’s racist — everyone says that; no it’s not like I never felt love or stuff for them I mean they’re monsters but I’m not it’s just like it’s hard enough being the troll’s kid in a small town — OK a village — they don’t have to keep trying to do stuff with me in public — let me drive you to school — let me take you shopping — why don’t we volunteer together — it’s so lame and so obvious they don’t know me at all; like if I were goin to volunteer it wouldn’t be to sing in some amateur theatre’s off key production of Fame it would be to hang out at the Powerball in Toronto where the real people live! don’t you call me a chav; I’m going to change my name the second I’m eighteen — I’ll like blow out the candles and say don’t you ever call me Shalimarmarmar again! I’m Trancey Wheeler and I’m outta here! I swear to Moss if I stay in this village one day past that I will unravel one of those hideous sweaters she knits me and hang myself from the bridge so my dead body is swinging in the living room; then dad can say well hey there sweetheart what’s going on in your life — to my rotting face! Give you an example? Terry from Australia likes me you know — he says to me after German class hey Shalimarmarmar want to go to a flick tonight? and I practically scream yes — I mean he’s the shit! he’s the sexiest freak in the whole school; I could suck on his tentacles; I could cream when he does that cute thing lighting a match on his knee and then eating a whole lit cigarette — so I go home after school, clean my box, fluff the bulrushes, organize all the CDs so they are back in their cases like I promised and then when mum and dad come home they’ve got no excuse to keep me in; so it’s five thirty — the quiche is in the oven — I even made the crust; the movie is at seven; they come trundling in with my cousin Frank; well now I can’t go anywhere because he’s come all this way and we haven’t seen him in a century; I have never seen him so why does he care if I’m there? we don’t have a relationship; I might as well be the latest dog; so I lose it and throw a glass — which ok was a bit crap of me because it was actually a vase actually like a Ming vase they got from some silly twat no good at riddles needs to cross the bridge no matter what it costs — so I throw the vase; it breaks; dad starts crying; my mum is all NOT UNDER MY BRIDGE! I just start pulling on my hair and shrieking Fuck Fuck Fuck and Frank — he is just trying to be polite — starts copying me; we are running in a circle screaming Fuck Fuck Fuck and Terry shows up; I am so embarrassed; he’s never going to ask me out again so I run at him and knock him into the water and hold his head under until he drowns which takes forever because gills and lungs right? he floats up; Dad’s in a whimpering ball; Frank is having a grand time; mum says well I’m not even going to lift a finger to help you this time — like I’m so slutty I get dates and kill them all the time which you know I don’t — she’s so harsh; she should look at herself; I think well now the night is ruined but I still have to bury Terry or at least sink him; Uuuuuhhhhhhggggggggggggrrrrrrr! Mum relents after a while and brings me a knife; Dad unravels his damp self and says I’ll always love you buttercup; I’ll never never not love you; then he does do one cool thing; he takes Terry and puts him all in a bag for me; he is sensitive my dad; and then its just another night with flippin Netflix; anyway it’s my period or something I don’t know; I hate my life.

Natalee Caple is the author of seven books of poetry and fiction and the co-editor of an anthology of contemporary Canadian writers. The New York Times called her fiction “moving . . . unsettling.” The Washington Post described her writing as “breathlessly good.” Caple’s latest novel, In Calamity’s Wake, was published by HarperCollins in Canada and by Bloomsbury in the US. She is a professor of English, teaching Canadian literature and Creative Writing at Brock University.