Monday, August 27, 2012

A Man's Nose and the Trouble It Caused

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a man named William.  William was a short man, with a gnarled face that exuded a nose that threatened to tip his lank form over to the ground.  That nose is where this story begins.  Walking upon a path that was bordered by perfect flowers, William was using his nose to the greatest advantage.  The fragrant flowers filled his wide nostrils, and for a time he walked with head tilted back and nose poking forward as if he might take flight any minute. 

The olfactory romance was not to be, though, as a putrid odor invaded his peaceful jaunt.  He stopped.  He sniffed.  He gagged.  He grew angry, for someone was ruining his walk.  What could create such a foul smell he could not guess.  It smelled like a mixture of dead skunk, pig, soured milk, and unwashed trolls feet (You may, at this point, wonder about the existence of trolls.  Please be aware that they are real.  They are in no way written into this story as a means of creating an artificial need for a parenthetical statement for the author to exhibit his wittiness.  Please continue.  Bacon.). 

He walked in a broad circle, sniffing as he walked.  He found that off the path to the east, where the sun had not long ago peaked out, the smell grew stronger.  In that direction he set off through the woods.  It was rough going, both for the dense undergrowth and for the ever-growing kick in the face that was the odor.  More than once William retched onto the forest floor until there was nothing left.  He grew angrier with each step.  He began mumbling to himself the things he'd say to whoever was letting that smell pollute this beautiful forrest.  He also made up his mind that poltergeists weren't real. This has no relation to the story at hand, but for William was no small a realization.  He had been hearing the strangest sound whenever he would use the necessary, coming from a hole in the wall.  It would start a few seconds after he entered and stop just as he was leaving the room.  It was a  sort of scurrying noise followed by a thud.  He had feared ghosts, but had decided that more likely it was the mouse whom he had almost caught, but instead put out a single eye.  Likely it was in the hole, running a the sight of him only to smack into a wall as it veered into its bum eye.

It was with this pleasing thought that William exited the forest into a large clearing.  To the right and left the forest extended like a giant hedge meant to keep the neighbors away.  In front was a rolling, grassy field for a hundred yards or so, then the mighty Hiawathahana River.  Close ahead, beside a large pot over a raging fire, was a lumpy, green-skinned troll was boiling her laundry.

"Well, that explains things..." William sighed to himself.   His angry words died on his lips.  He was fond of having his limbs attached, so he quickly moved to walk back into the forest.  His noisy approach and exit had alerted his presence, though, and the troll was already turning toward him. 

The troll eyed him from about 20 yards away.  This lasted for 5 seconds, neither moving, until the creature roared violently and raced after William.  William, deciding quickly that death wasn't his preferred method of ending this day, ran to the forest.  He was in before the troll caught up, and was gracefully dodging limbs and holes while behind him the troll ripped up the forest to clear his path.

He ran for what seemed like hours, never quite getting away from the creature before a cracking branch or a startle grunt of pain from a scratch would bring the troll's attention and the panicked race would begin anew.  It was almost at the end of his strength that he took a turn around a massive tree whose branches grew low to the ground. He quickly and nimbly, especially for an old man, climbed into the tree, up high enough to be above the vision of the troll.  His chest rose and fell hard, and he listened for the monster.  He was certain the beating of his heart alone would give him away.  He stayed in his spot for a few moments hearing the beast crashing toward him.  The troll appeared under the branches, and thankfully never paused as it ran underneath.  For many minutes William listened as the sound of the creature's passage faded into the distance.  He climbed down from his perch and made his way back to his village using the sun to guide him, ignoring the scent as if it was a sweet smelling boom that didn't have a crazed troll waiting for you at the end.

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