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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2233220
Grundle gets to invite oomans to a party! Third in Holiday Short Story Contest, Sept. 2020
A Twentieth Birthday Party

“Grubmuncher Snarleybump? You wants me to organise a TwoTentieth Birthday Party for Grubmuncher Snarleybump? Impossible. Everyone knows that Grubmuncher’s got no friends. Oo the ‘eck am I s’posed to invite?”

Grundlebletch stood with his hands on hips, waiting for the wizard’s answer. Boguz, the wizard, stopped sucking his moustache and looked at Grundle with a steely blue eye. “Correction. Grubmuncher has no troll friends. He does, however, have several friends who are not trolls. There are a few humans who know him quite well and he is sometimes even seen in the company of an elf. Find out who they are and get invitations to them. I’ll handle the food and cakes.”

Clearly, Grundle was unconvinced. “A helf? You expects me to speak to a helf? You know trolls and helves don’t get on. Finding out where ‘e is will be difficult enough, but then getting ‘im to wait around to ‘ear me is too much. And those oomans will run away as soon as they see me.”

“You don’t have to speak to them. Get some proper invitations printed up and send them to the relevant addresses.. It’s not difficult.”

Grundle was silent while he considered this. It did seem possible, if he could work out a way to print out the invitations and if he could find out the addresses of Grubmuncher’s friends. Boguz interrupted before Grundle could voice these objections.

“Printing them should be easy. Young Bogwart Scumdrop was given a computer for his birthday and he’ll help you with that, if you ask him nicely. And he could go on the internet to find addresses for Grubmuncher’s friends. All you’ll need is their names.”

“Piece o’ cake,” said Grundle, “And I could just ask Grubmuncher for the names, o’ course. ‘E’s never gonna wonder why I needs to know, is ‘e?”

The wizard shook his head in frustration, “Sarcasm, Grundle, is the lowest form of wit. I expect better from you. Use a bit of guile and wheedle the names out of him by stealth. You’ll think of a way.”

Boguz was right; Grundle did think of a way. That night, he hid in the shadows as he waited near Grubby’s cave. Sooner or later the pacifist troll was bound to turn up and then Grundle would have his chance.

Sure enough, in just half an hour, Grubmuncher came wandering up the path, humming quietly to himself, and Grundle was able to leap out of hiding and snatch him up in a great bear hug.

“‘Ere, wot’s goin’ on?” yelled Grubby. “Lemme go - I don’t like this game!”

“I’ll let yer go awright,” said Grundle, “just as soon as yer tell me the names of those oomans yer ‘ang out with. And that helf yer’ve been seen with. Wot’s their bleedin’ names, ‘ey?”

Grubby wriggled but Grundle was too strong for him. “Why d’yer wanna know?” he asked.

“I’s ‘ungry,” said Grundle.

Grubmuncher wriggled some more and refused to tell but, as time wore on and Grundle’s grip only became tighter, he weakened and spat out the names. Grundle made him repeat them until he had them memorised, then let poor Grubby go and disappeared into the darkness.

Back home under his bridge, Grundle carefully wrote out the list of names he’d memorised. Lilli 🧿 ☕ , that was one, he said. Then there was Ned and Christopher Roy Denton . A few others followed and then he wrote: that’s enough for a decent party, I think.

And so his part of the bargain was done. Bogwart printed out invitations on his fancy new computer and Grundle scared the daylights out of the local postman by presenting him with several envelopes to deliver.

On the day of Grubmuncher’s birthday, Grundle appeared at the designated party venue and found Boguz blowing up the last of the balloons and adding them to the decorations. The table was laden with enticing foods and interesting delicacies. It needed a wizard to select foods that wouldn’t disgust humans, trolls, and an elf, so it was entirely appropriate that this task had fallen to Boguz.

Grundle helped with the balloons until it was ascertained that he didn’t know when to stop blowing. And then they sat down to await the arrival of Grubmuncher and the guests.

It turned out to be a long wait. The time appointed for the party came and went but only Grubmuncher appeared. “Ooh, foodies,” he said and started tucking into the fricaseed beetles and honeyed worms. Grundle and Boguz began to get anxious.

An hour later it was clear that there was not going to be a party. None of the guests had arrived and a dreadful suspicion arose in the wizard’s mind. “What did you write on those invitations?” he asked.

“Just what you told me,” answered Grundle. “‘Ere, look, I’ve got some spare ones ‘ere.” He produced a couple of crumpled envelopes and handed them to Boguz.

The wizard tore one open and began to read.

You is hereby invited to a party to sellibr serrib ceribl have fun on Grubmuncher Snarleybump’s birthday. This will be held at the narled oak in Two Ways on Saturnsday, September the twotentieth, this year. Don’t be late.

Boguz dropped the note and buried his face in his hands. When he spoke, his voice was muffled by his hands but clear enough to be understood. “Grundle, Grundle, Grundle, what am I to do with you? Only trolls understand trollish numbers. The guests will still be trying to work out when the twotentieth is!”

Word Count: 921
For Holiday Short Story Contest, September 2020
Prompt: Write a story about a 20th Birthday party! You need to include three of your WdC friends in the story!

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