It was dark and moonless, a circumstance that made the Pesky Pond Troll (PPT) of Clay Head Swamp bask in his invisibility. Unlike Peter Pan, the PPT never managed to lose his shadow, in fact, it was the only thing about him that was visible to human eyes. But, no bright light, no shadow.
He’d ventured from the swamp to dance around the tree in the yard of the house above the pond, waiting for that silly dog to be awakened from slumber. The PPT had ears like a bat, in fact, better than a bat he thought with a snort, but whoever said “ears like a troll?”
First there was the thump of That Dog Autumn (TDA) bounding to the window next to the tree, then a barely audible whimper, then the barking commenced, and, finally, the reward, a human voice admonishing “Autumn, be quiet!” usually followed by “Stop it, I’m sleeping!”
He knew TDA tried but he still heard – just barely – a final few muffled “woofs” down in her throat, and one last “Autumn!” Music, all of it, a veritable symphony, to the PPT.
Then silence and he scampered along, almost tripping on toys TDA had left outside. Darn things, he had to agree with the human on that one; “No one wants your slimy tennis ball!” The great long braid that used to be a rug . . . the PPT was ambivalent. On the one furry hand, it had been lying outside for years, intended for the dump, then thrown over weeds in some silly last resort effort at weed control. Who would want such a thing?
On the other furry hand he had to admire TDA, she had entertained herself with it for over a year, now. And that had entertained him, especially when she got herself tangled in it, and sat by the door, waiting to be freed.
The PPT was bored and wanted to go out to the Old Harbor and enjoy not just one but TWO Christmas trees, but he had to wait until daytime and traffic on the Neck Road. He liked to hop on the big trucks headed south after visiting the transfer station – and imagine himself piloting one of them.
He liked trucks and had to concede it had been a good couple of years in the neighborhood. There had been brush cutting and road building, which promised more house building. There had even been his favorite thing, a big noisy well drilling rig that was often visited by his very favorite thing, a little boy, one who climbed on a dirt pile and talked of things the grown-ups thought were imagined.
In truth, the PPT did have quite a few favorite things, no one of them raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, although a bright copper kettle, that would be tempting . . .
“Bright” brought his thoughts back to those Christmas trees calling. He loved them both, the one of lobster pots he could climb, confident of his invisibility even on the sunniest days; there was so much glorious stuff no one would ever notice his shadow. He was also quite pleased with the traditional tree on the lawn of the old church, especially now that there was furniture on the porch just above it, left, he was sure in his self-centeredness, for his benefit.
Then there were the decorations along the street, all the shops with pretty twinkling lights. He decided years ago he would never steal any of them. It was a minor penance for all the lunches and books and trinkets he took over the course of a summer.
One shop, though, he had a bone to pick with. He had always liked the owner of the Block Island Trading Company on the corner of Water and Dodge Streets, underneath the porch of the National Hotel. In fact, he quite like all those shop owners, but now . . .
He had his technology, the PPT did, he was even on Facebook where a “profile” photo could be of anything, and he had been following a series of photos posted daily by that shop he would no longer name even in his thoughts. Every photo, fifteen days of them, was of Santa Claus posed on a different porch about the island.
At first he quite liked it, until he didn’t immediately recognize one locale and another realization hit him.
He was so tired of Santa. Santa this, Santa that, television specials and songs. Santa got to ride on the Fire Truck for pity’s sake, he got his picture taken by the paper, he had an endless supply of candy canes – not that the PPT even liked candy canes but that wasn’t the point. And after December 25, when real winter arrived, the bearded man in the red suit disappeared, probably off to Florida, riding a Fire Truck the whole way!
Daily photos of the great and glorious Pond Troll in his various haunts, that’s what should be on line! (As was his wont when feeling slighted — the fact of his invisibility completely eluded the PPT.) Riding a truck, a tractor, a well drilling rig, waving from atop the Lobster Pot Tree, the missed opportunities!
He’d have to take a little break from his tree delighting when he finally got to town, and throw things at the windows of that shop on the corner. He wasn’t sure what, but he find something. Maybe candy canes and that darn Santa Claus would be blamed!
A plan formulated, he decided he did not want to wait until dump day and went over to the neighbor’s and climbed into the back of the big truck he knew would be headed out in a few hours. It was always full of glorious stuff, and he curled up happily amidst it to await the dawn. One way or another he was going to have himself a Merry Little Christmas!