Rated: E · Short Story · Fantasy · #2258867
Grundlebletch explains about birthdays.
|The Trouble With Birthdays|
“The worst thing about birthdays,” said the gecko, “is that they only happen once a year.”
Grundlebletch the troll, who had been staring into space as though in a trance, turned his gaze upon his friend. “I orlways thought it were the best thing abaht ‘em. My birthday orlways turns aht to be an ‘orrible upset. Best thing is never to mention ‘em and find somewhere to ‘ide on the actual day.”
The gecko slapped his forehead. “That explains it,” he said. “I was wondering why you hadn’t had a birthday in all the time I’ve known you. That must be getting on for two years by now.”
Grundle nodded in agreement.
“But why, Grundle? What’s so terrible about birthdays that you try to avoid them?”
The troll frowned and thought for a while. “Well, for one thing, they makes you a year older.”
Gecko looked at him sharply. “You told me trolls don’t mind getting older.”
“They don’t,” said Grundle. “But birthdays puts a number on it. And it’s not so easy to ignore a number. There’s the ‘assle of rememb’rin’ what number you now is, instead of what you was afore yer birthday. That’s ‘ard enough.”
“Well, yes, I guess, but…”
Grundle cut him off. “And that’s not orl. ‘Ave you ever tried to count using troll numbers? That’s not funny, I can tell yer. Once you gets past tenteen, they gets really complicated. I knows of one feller oo got so confused tryin’ to work it aht, he still thinks ‘e’s a ‘underd and fourtenty. Orl because of birthdays. It’s not right, I tell yer.”
The troll fell silent as he thought of the plight of his overaged friend and Gecko kept quiet in sympathy. But, as the silence stretched beyond brief, he resumed his questioning.
“Couldn’t you have a birthday without thinking of the number?”
Grundle looked up. “Nah,” he said, “you ‘as a birthday, you ‘as to ‘ave a party. And wot ‘appens if you ‘ave a party? Orl yer friends want to know ‘ow old you are. ‘Ow old is yer, Grundle?’ they says, and ‘Wot’s the score nah, eh?’ Can’t avoid it, Gecko, you ‘ave to ‘ave a number to tell ‘em. I bet, if I ‘ad a birthday, first thing even you’d want ter know is ‘ow old I is.”
“Not now, I wouldn’t,” said Gecko.
“Well, maybe not now that I’ve told yer orl that. But wot abaht orl them others, ‘ey? They’d be wantin’ ter know.”
Gecko scratched his chin as he pondered the problem. “Couldn’t you just think of a number and tell them that?”
“That’s wot ole Pigsnorter did,” said Grundle. “The feller wot thinks ‘e’s a ‘underd and fourtenty. ‘Ad to add a year for ‘is next birthday and then the one after that and got really confused. Ended up, ‘e ‘ad three answers every time ‘e tried to work out what number ‘e should be. Couldn’t pick between ‘em.”
“Hmm, I see the problem,” said Gecko.
“But that ain’t orl,” went on the troll. “You ‘as a birthday, you ‘as a party, and suddenlike you is the centre of attention. Everyone lookin’ at yer and askin’ silly questions, and you with nowhere to ‘ide. It’s torture for a decent, self-respectin’ troll.
“And then there’s cake. Gotta ‘ave a cake if you ‘as a birthday. Ever tasted cake, Gecko? It’s ‘orrible, I tell yer. Orl that fluffy nonsense inside and loadsa sweet, sickly muck smeared orl over yon ahtside. Then some fool sticks candles orl over it, lights ‘em, and you ‘ave to blow ‘em aht. Ooever thought that one up didn’t know nothin’ abaht ‘ow ‘ard a troll can blow. Never been to a party where everyone didn’t end up with cake and muck blown orl over ‘em.
“Parties should ‘ave decent food like fricaseed worms and toasted cockroach, not ice cream and jello. But no, a party is special so we ‘ave to eat special food wot tastes like somethin’ yer granny left in the garbage. Parties, birthdays, you can keep the lot.”
There was silence for a while as the gecko contemplated his friend’s perspective on birthdays. Grundle, too, had been saddened by the very thought of birthdays and had no more to say on the subject, it seemed.
Then Gecko broke the silence. “Guess you won’t want to come to my birthday party then?”
Grundle snapped round to look at him. “You didn’t tell me you were ‘avin’ a birthday soon.”
“That was why I brought up the subject,” explained the gecko. “I was going to tell you and then we, err, got deflected.”
“So when is yer birthday?”
“Tomorrow,” answered the gecko. “And the party too.”
“Will there be cake?” asked the troll.
“No, no cake,” assured Gecko.
“Wot then? Can’t ‘ave a party withaht food.”
“Well, let’s see. Instead of cake, we’re having a sugar anthill surprise thing. And also pickled grubs, honeyed beetles and little caterpillars on sticks. Speckles is making a termite trifle and there’s going to be plenty of centipede candy on offer. All to be washed down with uncarbonated drain water. Pity you can’t come - you’d have loved it.”
Grundle raised a hand. “Whoa, ‘ang on there, buddy. I ain’t said I won’t come. I mean, if there ain’t cake…”
“So you’ll come?” enquired the gecko eagerly.
“D’you know, Gecko,” said the troll, “I think I might. But ‘ow old will yer be?”
Gecko smiled. “Two-na-half,” he said.
Word count: 911
For The WDC Birthday Bash Blog Relay, Day Nine
Prompt: The best or worst things about birthdays.