Trolls. Norse mythology. Ugly, rarely described as helpful or friendly creatures. In Scandinavian mythology, they have something to do with lightening. Mystical, not-so-attractive, poisonous and powerful dudes.
In truth, trolls are many things to many people. Your mother-in-law. Your ex-lover. Your boss/manager/pain-in-the-butt coworker. Your landlord. Maybe even your noisy neighbor. Have you ever thought though that trolls are just people like everyone else? Only with an attitude problem? Maybe a wart or two?
Today I’m not talking about short, smelly creatures that live under the bridges (and we do have a LOT of bridges here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). I’m talking about trolls who pop in and out of our fantasy fiction whenever they damn well please! They may come in the form of a sudden desire to change the entire plot. Maybe they appear as a new and unexplored personality glitch in your hero or heroine. But sometimes they simply show up as … trolls.
The last thing I thought I’d write into Cold in California was a troll, but Crudo Cushman pushed his stout, vertically-challenged personality in so intensely, he became a key character! See, Crudo is the manager at the West Hollywood warehouse where my hero, poor twice-baked vampire, Gabriel Strickland, is stuck living out an undetermined purgatory. Crudo is tough, he’s persnickety and never lived under a bridge in his life. Today, he’s taking charge of the blog.
“I’m blogging because people love to read the blog.” I said as politely as I could.
“Move over, woman, I’ll tell you what a real blog is!”
Okay, it’s happened to all of us. Writers are especially susceptible to this particular curse. It seems the inmates have taken over the asylum again. The following is a bit of information conveyed to me from Crudo Cushman himself. Needless to say, I’m compelled to pass it on.
According to this troll, the word ‘blog’ comes from ancient troll culture. He informs me that a blog was a roughly hewn shirt upon which a troll would make markings, symbols that indicated his or her (of course there are female trolls, just look around you) position within troll society. During his troll life, Crudo had never risen beyond mucking mud, which was symbolized by a pig’s snout made with red mire found in a certain bog several miles outside his village. He’d dip the side of his clenched fist into the mud and press it firmly against his shirt. It didn’t look like a pig’s snout, but it was recognizable by all. The bog-marked blog stank to high heaven even after the mark dried. If it rained, Crudo would need to remark himself. Where he lived, it rained a lot.
He says he envied the higher ranks, those whose blogs were etched with fine smears of brilliant green grass stains or careful figures drawn with bits of soft, colored stone, but Crudo came from a proud, long line of mud muckers and until his father passed, he wore the red snout, albeit with hidden embarrassment and hate.
When Crudo met his demise six hundred years later, he found himself in the West Hollywood warehouse and has since done very well. He moved up the ranks from “inmate” to “head honcho”, traded his rough, mud-stained blog for pressed white linen and bling and vowed to never, ever get dirty again. The symbols on his shirt these days say:
I’m in charge … I’m the boss … I’m watching you … and of course, Ralph Loren blessedly stitched on the silk tag inside his collar.
Vampire Explored is a blog by Deborah Riley-Magnus, author of the Twice-Baked Vampire Series. Book 1, Cold in California