So what would you do if a troll asked you to take him treat or treating?
It was at one of my now infamous Packer parties where it began. During halftime, Oton pulled me aside and asked, “how do I get the candy?” He had already downed a baker’s dozen of sprinkle-plastered donuts, chocolate of course. “What are you talking about?” A wicked grin snaked across his gaunt cheeks. “You know ... when the little humans put on crazy clothes and demand candy from strangers.”Little humans? I knew what he meant. It was mid-October, and Oton has spent more than a hundred years observing the people of Stoughton, but there was no way I was taking a troll trick-or-treating, no way, period. Okay, so I’m made of pudding and relented, but only after endless nights of begging. I was afraid he was going to go out there on his own. I had to do something to control the situation, but what. “Fine, but there are rules,” I said as my shoulders slumped. “1. I’m going with you. 2. You need a bath, and 3. No Magic, None. If you so much as sneeze a spell, we are going straight back to Elvsmyr.” He flung his arms in the air, and started sputtering. “Nope, you do this the human way, or not at all.” I should have known better. The next few nights were a blur; Oton was impossible to please. He wanted to wear a costume just like the little humans he saw each year, but have you ever tried to put a Halloween costume on a troll? Let me tell you, it isn’t easy. First, we tried my idea. I figured a cut up sheet and viola, a ghost. “This is not what I had in mind,” he growled from under the delicate pink blooms of the sheet. I guess plain white was the way to go, but I didn’t have one.
However, I did have a plan B: Mummy, but I may have wrapped him a little too tightly because he fell over after just a few steps.
Next, we tried his idea. “I want to be a Viking.” It wasn’t what you think. “You mean like Clay Matthews?” He wiggled, dancing in place, obviously in love with the idea. “Oton, I keep telling you—Clay is a Packer. Not all football players are Vikings.” He furrowed his brow and looked at me from under hooded eyes. “They’re all Vikings.” I gave up. I had introduced the trolls to football last year. Their first game was the Packers vs. Vikings. Something about that blasted Viking horn is stuck in their troll brains and now every game is a great battle of so-called Vikings. It all makes my little green and gold heart cringe, but on the bright side, Oton and the others cheer wildly for the Packers. Anyway, back to the Halloween fiasco. Oton wanted to be a tiny Clay Matthews so I tried to imagine that in my head. Let’s see, a jersey, toss on a blonde wig, and leave his hair spiky on top so it looks like he’s flinging it just like number 52. Yikes.
It was October 25, and I was getting desperate. If I didn’t think of something, and quick, this thing was going to get out of hand. Then it hit me. Oton is a costume—just slap a mask on his face and he’s a walking ghoulie.
The big night was just hours away, and Oton showed up, as promised, for his bath. Sure, he tried to bargain his way out it, but I held my ground and hosed him off in the backyard then plunged him into a bubble bath. That’s right—clothes and all—I dunked him repeatedly in a tub of frothy bubbles. I may never get that ring out of the tub, and he wasn’t what I would call clean, but at least the stench had been neutralized. Through it all, he smiled. I should have known.We hit the streets as soon as it got dark. Every time a prancing cluster of kids headed one direction, we went the other. I couldn’t risk an encounter with a curious child. The first several houses opened the door, politely complimented him on his “amazing” costume, and tossed a few treats in his bag. That is until somebody opened the door, shoved a giant bowl of chocolate bars in his face, and said, “you can choose.” Uh-oh. Before I could stop him, he had yanked the bowl from the squealing old man’s arms, dumped the whole thing in his bag, flashed a giant smile of gray teeth, and beaming, said, “thanks.” The look on that man’s face will stay burned in my memory for years to come; it’s the stuff of nightmares. However, Oton was already down the sidewalk and hollering, “we’re burning moonlight.” I mumbled an apology and stomped after the troll. “He meant choose one. That was rude.” Oton was already on his way up the front walk of the next house. “He said choose, and I chose. You humans have funny rules.”
It was going to be a long night, but he was good for the next few houses. Then a young mother, home with a squalling baby opened the door. Oton dropped his pumpkin of goodies, ripped a pair of mums from the pot near the door, jammed one in each ear, and started flapping his arms. The baby instantly quieted and started to giggle. I just shrugged my shoulders and moved on to the next house. “Why did you do that?” Oton looked puzzled and said, “I didn’t want her to be scared.” I shook my head and trailed behind him as we rounded the corner. Right in front of us, stood a little girl dressed as an adorable purple fairy and what I assume was her brother, posing as Wolverine. They made quite a pair. I wasn’t worried about Wolverine, but the fairy was going to be trouble. You see, trolls and fairies don’t get along. In fact, few humans know this, but Elvsmyr, where Oton lives, was the site of the Great Fairy Battle. I felt the troll take my hand. He was shaking and I whispered, “easy, it’s just a little human. She’s not really a fairy.” However, this particular little girl seemed to be convinced that she really was a fairy because she skipped up to Oton, tapped the troll on the forehead, and said, “a fairy kiss for you.” My stomach bottomed out and Oton began to scream, a horrible rasping scrape of a scream. The girl recoiled and started to scream as well. Her brother flashed his rubber claws and ran bawling into his father’s arms. I escorted Oton in the opposite direction as I waved my arm overhead, “Sorry, it’s a scary night for the little ones,” and then grumbled to Oton, “I knew it, I just knew it. I never should have let you talk me into this.” He was squirming wildly as I drug him up the street, away from the “fearsome fairy” of Stoughton.I had had enough, and most of the houses had already turned the porch light out, but we were a long way from home. I wanted only to avoid people at all cost, but I wasn’t that lucky. I heard the steady slap of running shoes coming up behind us, and turned to see a young woman jogging with her fuzzy dog. If you’ve been following along, you will already know this meant trouble. This dog, a lovely, floppy dog, knew exactly what lived under that colorful mask. He lunged at Oton, jaws snapping, hackles rigid as the woman held him back. “I don’t know what’s gotten into him. He’s usually so good.” I knew exactly what had gotten into the dog. “Oton,” I snarled under my breath. “Don’t do it…” Too late. I should have known.
I’m not making excuses, but Oton is really—really sorry. He assures me the horns will fall off in a few days.
Are you curious to learn more about my Packer Parties with the trolls? Enter Green Bay Packers in the search box.Want to learn more about the Great Fairy Battle? Blue on the Horizon reveals the hidden history of trolls. Purchase your copy today at Amazon.