Monday, October 18, 2010

Story: A Little Musical Venture

Meet Troll, a shy, albeit very sarcastic little fellow who has been there and done that. His adventures are almost always bordering with the impossible (because he likes to exaggerate a lot) but this time, he has decided to tell us of a gig of his favourite band. Of course, it wouldn’t be him if there wasn’t a twist.

Hello, my friend. What? You say you don't know me? It seems your memory has failed you again. Are you sure you aren't getting old? No? Well, let me reintroduce myself then. I am Troll. I like to wander around, but I don't like being seen because trolls aren't exactly glamorous or popular.

Yes, I know it's sad to live a solitary life, be long forgotten and always have to watch those you admire from afar, but you get used to it after time. You don't believe me? Try it! Hide in the basement for a year! Tell your relatives to lock you and throw away the key. It will be fun, I promise. Oh, and you might as well lose that excess flab hanging out of your jeans along the way! That's great, isn't it?

No, thanks? Suit yours… wait, what? No, I'm not going to hell. I don't like publicity and from what I hear, there is a bunch of angry devils roaming around with tridents. Hey! Stop insulting me! I haven't done anything to you and you get all whiny. You know what? I bet you can't play that instrument of yours as well as I can. Ha! Prove it. Come on, what are you afraid of? Good to see some courage. Hah, you're holding it like a spoon!

Me? I can play any instrument I'd like. Guitar, keys, drums, anything. No need to show you my excellence. What are you trying to point out by saying I'm small and wimpy? Watch your tongue, or I might rip it off your mouth!

But… yes. I admit I lied a little. I can only play the xylophone. No, don't laugh at me. It's just so unfair. You get to hold your axe in your hands, shred like the devil and pull off a magnificent solo. And I? I can't even lift it because it's too heavy for a troll.

However, it doesn't mean I can't dream, does it? I've got my Gods of music, too. They call themselves Oceansize. Maybe one day, I will be like them. Maybe.

Don't laugh. As I said, I can dream. Especially when I saw that poster informing about them coming to town. What town, you ask? I don't know, I can't read. No, I really can't!

How did I read what was on the poster? Those nine letters are magical. It's basically the only word I can write. That and numbers. Yes, I know numbers aren't words. Or are they? Are you making fool of me?

Of course I don't live in a city. I live in a swamp and my neighbours are monsters. The city is not far away, though. Seeing Oceansize was an event I didn't want to pass up, so it made sense that I decided to be there at all cost. Even if it meant crawling through sewers. Disgusting? Nonsense. You're too housebroken. We swamp residents are resilient to dirt and smell. Besides, human stench is much worse than the odour of an unwashed, untidy troll. So next time you say I'm disgusting, try smelling that sweated shirt of yours… where are you going? Oh, why didn't it occur to me? Bathroom. Go ahead, I'll wait…

Are you back? Good. So I traversed the canalisation and made my way right into a section beneath the building where they were to perform. I crawled some more until I stood directly under a manhole cover. In all the hype and excitement, I nearly did the grave mistake of running outside into the crowd that had been gathering at the entrance.

Thankfully, I came to my sensessoon enough and instead of emerging right into the street, I jumped to the pool of waste flowing in the sewers. There, I splashed around until I gained a thick layer of slime. Then, disguised as a lumpof dirt, I finally surfaced, noticing night skies and armies of chatting people slowly flow into the destined building.

Completely amazed that I would be seeing the band live, I began my daunting advance, dodging the feet of unforgiving people and squeezing through the openings. I was doing well at first, but then things started going awry. I felt a boot kicking me in the back and sending me face down to the ground. I tried to recover, but some uncaring, ignorant and evil human stomped on me as if I wasn't even there. I thought the being was trying to squeeze the soul out of me, but thankfully it stopped after a second.

Dazzled and shocked by the experience, I asked myself whether it was a good idea to go through the front door. You humans can prove to be quite malicious.

No, I was not a coward. I was not a coward, or else there would be no tomorrow! I made it so far and I was only few steps away from seeing Oceansize. I wasn't turning back. I wasn't going to give up, not when I was so far.

I felt as strong as never before. With resolve made of steel, I got on my feet and bravely marched towards the door.

"Look at that moving pile of slime!" I heard somebody shout and in an instant, my tough act withered like a raisin, my heart shrank and I felt as tiniest as possible, begging silently that those evil people let me be.

"Kick it!"

Bullies. It was so easy to pick on the smaller and weaker.

After receiving a swift hit into the bottom and being launched into the air, I crashed into a flamboyantly dressed woman's skirt, making it look like she hadn't made it to the toilet in time. Under normal circumstances, I would have laughed, but that was no ordinary circumstance. The woman was understandably upset after noticing what had happened.

"You prick!" she yelled at the perpetrator, a youngster with a penchant for trouble. "What have you done!"

I didn't wish to be around anymore and tried getting out as fast as possible, but given my nature, my little legs and frail body, I could do nothing against being held up in the air and thrown at the youngster.

"What the…" he uttered before I landed straight into his face.

Immediately afterwards, the crowd began yelling and laughing. I didn't know whether they were happy or angry, but I wasn't interested in finding out, so I pushed against the acne-scarred face and gravity pulled me to the ground.

My bones hurt to this very moment from that fall, but thank heavens I am still alive. A little side note: trolls aren't really useful for being kicked, so please if you ever notice something resembling a slimy ball, leave it alone as it's probably me. Thanks.

Now to the story. With tons of new scratches and bruises, I noticed my disguise was wearing out and it was high time I had left.

I ran to the sewers, jumping into the pool again and getting myself a fresh coating of green colour. I shuddered at that moment, reflecting on what terrible things had happened moments ago.

I tried to stand tall, but I felt my muscles aching and bones cracking. Perhaps one or two dislocated ribs getting back to their proper places. I lamented and cursed as the pain was unbearable, but I knew there was a band I was dying to see above me and I was determined to do anything. Apart from getting killed, that is. What sense was there in passing away and not attending the gig?

Then, it dawned upon me. The parking lot! The band had most likely entered the building by a side entrance there. Why would they have pushed with the crowd when they had needed to be there before them? Clever thinking, right? Yes, I'm a genius. I sense a sarcastic undertone, but thank you anyway.

So I traversed the underground once more, eventually arriving at the destination of my choosing. The parking lot behind the building. Carefully, I climbed through the grated exit and checked whether the coast was clear. Yes, I know there was no coast in urban wastelands you call cities, but in case you didn't notice, it was a metamorph… something like that.

Don't roll your eyes. I've never been to school unlike you. Yes, I'm aware of the fact that I'm not as erudite as you. Pardon me, Lord Professor. It seems that school didn't suck that much, eh? Actually, those years have paid off, right? Now you can exert your dominance over an uneducated, illiterate troll.

The car park was indeed devoid of any soul, or so I thought when I first looked around. I saw an array of cars and one bus, perhaps belonging to the band. I wasn't sure about that because I couldn't see well in the dark.

Knowing that the concert had already started, my attention shifted from it and instead, I located the door I wanted to enter. I came to it and tried pressing against it, realizing a flaw in my plan. I wasn't strong enough to open it by force and tall enough to reach the handle. Oh, the irony.

Was I doomed? Was there nothing to do? I looked at the door and sorrow began overwhelming me. I would never see Oceansize live. It was all the more sad to know that they were just a room or two away. So close yet so far.

I sat there sobbing until, as if sent from heavens, I saw another way. A ventilation shaft. My heart rejoiced and immediately, I crawled through, entering a narrow corridor hopefully leading to the concert hall.

When I advanced but a few metres, I heard two men talk.

"Hey Bob."

"Hi Fred, ready to do some nightly shopping?"

"As always."

"I wouldn't want to be the unfortunate soul to experience the massive bereavement."

"Me neither, but let's go."

"Nah. Wait a minute. We need to make sure everything is okay."

"Right. Are you an idiot? The car park is completely empty. There is not even a soul. Everyone is in there and enjoying some music."

"Better safe than sorry."

"Aw, come on."

"I said we wait. Who is the boss? Me. Now shut up and stay calm."

I didn't pay much attention to them and their conversation partly because I didn't understand them that well and partly because I was blinded by the fact that I was close to my goal. I could hear the spacey music rushing to my ears.

I crawled some more until I saw the end of the tunnel, bluish lights and the band. Completely paralyzed by the knowledge that I was actually listening to the ethereal sound of Oceansize and saw them through metal grating on stage, my dream was fulfilled. It was so unbelievable I thought it wasn't true. Such a moment was simply beyond imagination.

That moment didn't last for long, however. Suddenly, I heard an intrusive roar. At first, I believed it was yet another clever element of the music, but when I realized it was coming from behind, it dawned upon me that something was wrong.

I didn't want to leave, but I had to. I was afraid of the worst.

With heavy heart, I crawled back where I had come from, noticing fumes coming out of the exhaust tip of the bus.

It was clear. Those strange people I hadn't cared about in the parking lot were actually thugs! And they were stealing the tour bus of my favourite band! It was my solemn duty to ensure those were their last wrongs.

I know what you're thinking. How could a little troll such as me disrupt the spree of dastardly thieves? Well, I didn't know at that time either, but I was determined to not let that happen.

Quickly crawling to the exit of the shaft, I found myself jumping out onto the ground and running towards the vehicle.

"Come on, you idiot, we need to leave!" a man sitting on the driver seat shouted at his colleague, who was admiring the bus from the outside.

"Right, right," he grunted and got in. Then, just as he was about to close behind him, I squeezed in.

I knew it wasn't the best idea because I was as inconspicuous as a green slime ball could be, but apparently the thugs weren't really sober, so believed I was safe.

"Hey, Bob, have I thrown up this day?"

"How in the hell am I supposed to know? Why don't you look around from the windows and check for cops instead of asking me stupid questions?!"

"Okay," the thug named Fred sighed. I knew he thought I had once been an inhabitant of his stomach and watched him as he gazed at me with an expression resembling confusion. I tried to be motionless. Even a single twitch could have meant my doom. Or not?

Precious minutes were passing by and the slime was causing a funny tingle in my nose, which soon rose into such strength that I was battling hard to resist it. It was to no avail, however. I couldn't hold the sneeze any longer.

"Bob! My barf is sneezing! Look!"

"Will you shut up? I'm trying to concentrate on the road!"

"But my barf is sneezing!" Fred yelled in amusement while I shook in terror. I thought it was my end.

"You should stop smoking that weed, dude. It's eating your brain out."

"I swear, just look!"

"Shut up already!"

Scared to near death and driven by self-preservation, I ran for my life, hiding behind driver seat.

"My barf is running! Damn. I'll catch you, barf! Nobody is running from Uncle Fred. Come on, where are you hiding?"

I saw an ominous hand reaching out for me. What to do? Crouching in the corner, I knew the end was near. The hand was so close. Its fingers were just a centimetre away. My heart was pounding. My head wanted to jump. I succumbed to primal instincts and bit the hand.

"Ouch!" Fred yelled and sobbed like a little child at the same time. "The barf bit me, Bob! The barf bit me. Ouch, that hurts!"

"Are you stupid or what? Sit down and don't do anything if you can't stay silent for a second."

I thought Fred would launch yet another offensive but to my amazement, he withdrew completely and cried maniacally instead. "Stop! Pull up! Stop the bus! I need to get out! Stop! I want to leave!"

"Silence!" Bob shouted as angrily as he could, but it didn't have any soothing effect on his friend.

"I want to go home. Why did we have to steal the bus? Why? We should have stayed at home instead of going out into the unfamiliar. Mom!"

The door opened and Fred jumped out, making Bob curse as he noticed it.

"Dumb idiot," he remarked and pulled up to search for his accomplice.

It was my chance. I climbed on the seat and then leapt towards the steering wheel, my feet nearly resting on the ground.

It would have been a funny moment for the potential onlooker, but there wasn't a soul in the dead of night apart from two thugs disappearing in a dark street.

I drove out and hoped the police wouldn't stop me because driving looked choppy. Every time I accelerated or changed gears, I reached out for the pedals, my attention fixed to the floor and not to the road. It must have looked like a drunk was roaming through the night. Not to mention I was stretching beyond the capabilities of my frail body, thinking that it would tear me in half next time.

Eventually, I managed to get to the parking lot and pull up, although I nearly crashed into the wall. When I left the vehicle, I almost tumbled to the ground as I felt like a spring. My body was aching, but deep in my mind, I knew I was a hero.

I would have revelled in that moment forever had it not been for a rustling sound coming from behind the door. I promptly realized I had missed the rest of the concert due to my rescue mission. The band was leaving.

Under the influence of my bravery, I thought I should have stayed to tell my Gods of the experience and become friends, but sanity finally took over and guided by shyness, I fled to the bushes nearby, watching the cheery band members stare in suspicion at the opened doors of their tour bus.

"I saved your dear possessions," I whispered while watching them even though I knew they wouldn't hear me.

They stood there for a little longer, but upon finding everything was okay, they loaded their gear to the vehicle and disappeared inside.

I yawned, which was a sign to call it a night. Despite seeing only little of the gig, I felt a strong sense of fulfilment. I finally saw Oceansize live. And they were ace. Even for those few seconds. With tears of happiness flowing freely on my face and washing the dirt, I headed home, knowing that next time the band comes to town, I will be there, enjoying the breathtaking experience.

And that's it. Till next we meet, your friend Troll.

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