Troll Moons Horse
Rebecca Ferrell Porter, Troll Reporter
Sytennde Mai—it was an easy assignment or it should have been. My job: cover the Norwegian parade and the downtown area in general. Sounds safe, right? Even Oton wouldn’t be crazy enough to show up with thousands of humans around …I got there early to soak in the atmosphere surrounding Stoughton’s premier annual event. Hundreds of chairs and blankets already lined the route. Young and old, tattooed and bookish—everyone came out for the colorful parade. I stopped to watch the juggler entertaining the crowd. A short, impish man with a wild head of hair did battle with the stiff breeze blowing out of the southwest. Eventually, he found his rhythm and got his various objects to cooperate. This young man couldn’t wait to be part of the act. Only after reviewing the photos, did I see what you may have already noticed in the background—Oton.
I moved on and did what most other people did that day; I walked in to Fosdals, and waited in the long line for a treat. A yummy, scrumptious bismark for lunch may not be the healthiest choice, but hey, it was a special day. I clutched the small, waxed paper bag to my chest and pushed my way outside.“Where’s mine?” A familiar voice demanded. I nearly jumped out of my skin, but there he was, crouched behind the weathered, wooden chair at the entrance to the bakery. “Oton, are you nuts? It’s shoulder to shoulder humans out here,” I said when I could catch my breath. It’s funny, but I could only smell bakery, not a whiff of troll, um, aroma could be detected. “Did you take a bath?” He giggled through his pudgy fingers. “We had another diving contest last night. I won,” he beamed. “I pulled off a perfect belly flop.” He lifted his grubby tunic to reveal a blood red belly. “It only hurts when I rub it.” I shook my head and headed back inside for an Oton special. The young girl behind the counter gave me a puzzled look, but I told her some out of town friends had turned up, and I was providing a Stoughton treat. She smirked and stuffed the bag with a dozen sprinkle plastered, chocolate donuts. I paid the tab, lowered my head, and rushed outside. “Come with me,” I snapped. I didn’t have time for this.
We walked a few blocks, to a location that was devoid of other humans. I was stunned that no one we passed gave us a second look. I was prepared to see gaping expressions or maybe a gasp of horror, but we never even got a double take. Maybe they thought he was one of the many colorful costumed characters making their way to the parade staging area.
I tossed the bag to Oton and tried to eat my own pastry while he gorged. With his face plastered in chocolate and pink sprinkles he said, “Where’s the coffee?” I had reached my limit. “Look, I didn’t’ expect to see you today. What are you doing here anyway? And you’re not invisible. Aren’t you afraid to be seen?” His tongue darted across his lips, lapping up any trace of sprinkle, “you humans don’t look for what you don’t expect to see. Now, where have you been? I’ve been downtown since sunrise.” I was puzzled. Why would I expect to see a troll, in broad daylight, with half of Dane County, dozens of visitors from afar, and don’t get me started on the dogs. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? “If you want me to leave, I will,” he said plunging his hands into his pockets. “I have work to do, but if can stay out of the way—AND you are certain the others won’t see you, I guess you can hang out with me today.” He clapped his hands and did a little jig that I can only describe as a drunken chicken dance. “Let’s go,” he said, taking the lead.I followed in his wake— me the grumpy human, and Oton the prancing troll. We found a perfect location: the corner of Division and Main, right next to a brightly painted trash can to cover the smell of river that clung to Oton. I pushed all thought of the troll to the back of my mind and started snapping photos. It was sunny, and warm: a wonderful day in May. Finally, the colorful and clever parade started rolling past.
I was wrapped up in my work and failed to notice when Oton slipped away, but being Oton, he made sure I stayed on pins and needles. Everywhere I looked … TROLL! Nobody reacted. Only this horse seemed to notice, but that was only after he mooned powerful animal.
I continued to snap photos. If that wacky troll wanted to be found, so be it. I wasn’t his keeper. At times, he totally forgot to maintain his invisibility, but still, no screams indicated he had been seen. “Can that thing get wet?” Oton suddenly said from between my feet. “No, so whatever you’re planning, drop it,” I said without taking my eye from the eyepiece. “Better run then,” he laughed. I lowered the camera, and looked over my shoulder. Angry, dark clouds boiled to the southwest. That got my attention. Just then, my finger slipped and I snapped this one last photo. Oton, get off my camera.