A party for a returned troll.
I paused at Gurglumpa’s door, my thoughts drawn to the last time I had visited my old friend. That was the day before she departed for England. What had she learned in that year at the Trollbridge Finishing School for Refined Trollettes?
The invitation in my hand promised a party with a difference in which the strange customs and fare of a foreign land would be revealed. I lifted my free hand and rapped on the door. It swung open immediately and there stood Gurglumpa, as ugly as ever and arms wide, threatening one of her crushing embraces.
“Fussnurgal,” she exclaimed,”How I’ve missed you! Come to my arms and have a hug, my lovely!”
I submitted to her powerful grasp and survived without any broken ribs. Dragged inside, I saw that I was not the only guest at the party. Spuria and Bletchley, the Hurpledrop twins, were there and Dumpwigga lurked in the background as usual. It was a reunion of school friends, it seemed.
Amid rumbled greetings, we were herded by Gurglumpa into the dining room where a table was set with lavish generosity. There were honeyed beetles and fricasseed earthworms, wiggly grubs and turtle tails, salamander paste sandwiches and various horse’s doovers, in fact all the tempting snacks to be expected at such a party. In pride of place, the largest plate was covered by a cloth. This must be one of the surprises, I guessed.
When all were seated and the chatter subsided, Gurglumpa uncovered the secret platter and announced, “Maggot-in-the-hole. A most popular dish in England. Dig in ladies.”
Essentially, it was a cake-like substance that we had to dig our fingers into and extract the maggots. The fat little things wriggled and squirmed which only added to the anticipation as we popped them into our mouths. Then the chorus of approvals began.
“Oh, that is delightfully bland!” enthused Bletchley.
“So insipid! I love it,” declared Spuria.
I chimed in with, “A real treat, Gurglumpa. You must give me the recipe.”
She gurgled with pleasure. “So glad you like it. Now I must fetch something to drink. She disappeared into the kitchen and returned holding a strange jar decorated with a scene of troll children playing stomp-the-frog.
“Hold out your mugs, dearies,” trilled Gurglumpa. “You’re about to try the drink that keeps English trolls awake in the daytime. It’s called ‘tea’.”
Our mugs were filled and we raised them to our lips to sample the promised nectar.
We could not help ourselves. Not only did the concoction taste awful, it was hot and burned all the way down into our stomachs. Cries of protest arose and Dumpwigga threw up in the corner. Even I could not stop myself spitting the stuff out in a stream that soaked the tablecloth. We headed for the door en masse.
I really must go round and apologise to Gurglumpa sometime, but not right now. Not right now.
Word Count: 488