The Cars Gruff | Teen Ink

The Cars Gruff

May 15, 2019
By mwootten BRONZE, Ashburn, Virginia
mwootten BRONZE, Ashburn, Virginia
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

"It's 8:51, and you're listening to 62.3 FM, Washington's source for traffic and weather on the 2s, 4s, 6s, 7s, and 8s. Oh, looks like it's 8:52, so time for traffic! Let's go to Jim at the traffic desk."

"Looks like there's a crash on the inner loop of the beltway, and a bit of a slowdown on 495," Tom said before stalling for a second. The call he hung up on a few seconds ago had an awful lot of static. The caller was definitely about to cross the American Legion Bridge, but he couldn't quite make out what she was complaining about. He could have sworn he heard "troll", but obviously that wasn't it. She was probably saying "toll", but there weren't any tolls on that road. He decided to just substitute his best guess.

"I'm also getting reports of tollbooth problems at 395. Best to just stay away from that area. Back to you, Frank"

"You know, I hate those tolls. They never work properly, and they're so expensive. You might as well just take my whole car with me in it. Okay, now to Todd with the weather."

Susan had never seen anything like it. While she couldn't completely rule out that it was just some prankster in a costume, it would require a prankster with the strength of an Olympian to just manage that suit. As the creature swiftly ascended the riverbank, she realized that no human could move that fast. Its unearthly voice was the final giveaway. "PREPARE TO MEET DOOM IN MY MARVELOUS MAW", the monster bellowed.

Susan cowered as the troll headed toward her. Why her? It's not like her car would be particularly good --- she drove a Smart Car. In desperation, she tried to see if that argument worked on the troll. "Why should I be afraid of you? You're only eating this car because it's the only one you can fit in your tiny mouth." "What else would I eat, then?" the troll asked, halting its advance. Susan glanced around. Conveniently, the SUV that had cut her off a few miles back was still nearby. "I hear real trolls eat SUVs." To her amazement, the troll began to saunter over. Susan smiled. It wasn't just humans that played stupid status games.

John, on the other hand, was not smiling. He hadn't abandoned his car to run for his life like the rest because he was sure the troll wasn't going to buy that woman's dumb ploy. When the troll was done he could sail across the bridge and not have to worry about the hours of traffic those morons would be stuck in as people failed to return to their cars. In light of the troll's new decision, this trade-off was unwise. He glanced back to see if he could pull the same trick as the woman. Nope, he had the biggest car as far as he could see. He reached over to the glove compartment and pulled out his gun. It wasn't technically legal, but he was glad he didn't care about DC's gun laws. As the troll closed in, he pulled the trigger and hit the troll square between the eyes.

The troll, unfazed, started to laugh at him. "Stupid human. As an ancient being, only an ancient weapon can kill me. Good luck finding a spear."

The maniacal laugh returned. As the troll turned to the sky in true evil villain fashion, he realized that he had violated the first rule of trolldom: always watch the sky. Always watch the sky because cloudy days have a nasty habit of clearing. He couldn't fit under any vehicles, so he lunged toward the side of the bridge, hoping to make it under before the clouds opened. He made it as far as the right lane before he froze permanently into stone.

Susan, who had been watching in terror, finally uncurled from her fetal position and rushed over the empty bridge. On the way, she redialed the traffic hotline, still in a panic. "HI THE TROLL JUST TURNED INTO A STONE EVERYTHING'S FINE OKAY THANKS BYE" she blurted into the phone before immediately hanging up. On the other end, Jim puzzled over the latest call.

"Looks like it's 8:54, so time for traffic! Let's go to Jim at the traffic desk."

Jim did not agree it was time for traffic. What had that woman said? It sounded like she said "troll" when she meant "toll", but this was the same issue as last time. What was the thing that sounded like "stone?" Bone, cone, tone, hone --- phone! She was complaining about the bad call quality. That's why she said "everything's fine": she had heard him misinterpret her earlier call.


Right, he was on air.

"Looks like there's another crash on the inner loop of the beltway", he mumbled. It was a traffic reporter's version of "um". "Also, the toll problem on 395 has cleared up."

"Thanks Jim. This traffic report has been brought to you by Cinderella Plumbing. Do you have a broken pipe? Call now for a free consultation so you can get back to living happily ever after."

The author's comments:

This is a retelling of the only genuine troll story I knew (the Three Billy Goats Gruff) in another format. It's worth pointing out that while this story makes several references to the area around Washington D.C., feel free to substitute a metropolitan area of your choice in your mind.

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