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UNDERCOVER TROLL

Dreamed 1994/7/6 by Chris Wayan

I'm impersonating a troll. That's easier than it sounds. Trolls have massive torsos, but bandy little legs. However, no one SEES their legs--or anyone's. After all, the world is waist-deep in water, and always has been--so legs are deduced from your height and gait. If I wade with my knees bent, in a perpetual squat, my long torso makes me look quite trollish. Just pad my muscles and belly, and of course scowl a lot... Voilà! Instant troll! Dream: in a waist-deep flooded world, I pose as a troll for political reasons.

I'm going undercover for political reasons. I belong to the Liberty party. The headquarters of our main rivals, the Neos, is a huge well-defended complex across town--a converted medical complex. They don't publically admit their agenda is fascist--but their leaders freely whip up street violence to intimidate other parties. Trolls aren't especially drawn to the fascist party, or favored--all races are pretty evenly distributed, politically. I'm impersonating a troll because as my human self, I'd be recognized: I've been quite prominent in the democratic party. So for many weeks I've been working at Liberty headquarters as a troll, and making a name for my alter ego as an eccentric writer, a smart but harshly principled newcomer to politics. A troll like that could lose his temper and switch parties...

So I waddle up to the fascist security gate and claim to be defecting from the Liberties. Say "Their leadership is taking bribes, and I can't countenance it. So I've come here--ready to work with you, IF you can prove to me you mean what you say. Your campaign literature claims you're against civil war. But will you sign me on?" This brash challenging matches my known behavior in the other camp--their spies have tracked "my" rise over there of course.

Their leader, a tall human male, arrogant amused and slick, admits he doesn't trust me. Long interrogations... I spill only what a writer would know, and stubbornly snappishly naively warn of the nasty things I'll do to them if they use the information to start a war, not prevent it. The testing goes on for weeks... I'm slowly accepted just because my persona is so out-front, the opposite of a good spy. A character, an intelligent but naive artist, being used by the leadership. People like me, and they open up. The data comes to me--I don't even have to (cough) troll for it.

My only real problem is... impersonating a troll's getting harder over time. I'm growing! Until a few months ago, I was under 4'11". But I ate a certain magic herb, and now I'm nearly six feet. I'll go on growing, certainly to six and a half feet, maybe over seven.

I just can't pass as a troll much longer; it hurts my knees too much.

Soon, I'll have to stand up... and be myself.

Damn.

NOTES

Strangely enough, this dream turned out to be not just a reference to the Lord of the Rings (Merry and Pippin growing a foot or more after drinking ent-draughts), or symbolic of spiritual or psychological growth, but literally predictive. I'm 40, and should be getting shorter if anything. Yet in the last few years I've grown an inch! Maybe it's the dance classes stretching my spine, or the super-healthy diet I eat--who knows?--but I really am almost six feet tall now...

And growing.



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