Friday evening was one of those utterly excuisite early Summer evenings. Mark and I decided to have a bbq and we invited our neighbour, Ray, around. Ray is lovely, an elderly (soon to be retired) freelance artist and sculptor. He dotes on our dog Sparrow and looks after both house and dog when Mark and I go away on holiday. Ray is also obsessed with gold and jewellery, but that’s another story altogether.
Ray is always full of fab tales and Friday night was no different. He’s been working part-time at a local charity shop. It gets him out of the house and lets him laugh at other people – this is a good thing, in his opinion.
He told us about a carer that came in last week to drop off a few things for the charity shop. Ray and the carer got talking and the carer told him the following story:
The carer has a regular elderly person whom he visits on a daily basis. The chap is in his late seventies, is quite tall but is wheelchair bound. The carer popped by to tidy up the house and to make sure everthing is okay. When he got in, the old man said to him:
“I have a troll!”
The carer was a bit taken aback, wondering what “troll” was shorthand for today, but he didn’t pay the elderly gentleman any attention and chatted to him about the football and whatever as he went around tidying the flat and making the bed etc.
The elderly man however kept repeating “Ooh, I have a troll!”
Eventually the carer thought to himself that maybe, just maybe he should actually listen to what the old man was saying so he goes:
“Oh yeah? And where is it?”
“Under the stairs,” said the old man, pointing to the cupboard.
The carer steeled himself and opened the cupboard. To reveal an incredibly angry tiny person in the cupboard! The person was no higher than 2 1/2 feet tall and was bouncing with frustration, fear and vitriol.
He’d been delivering leaflets through the door when the door swung open to reveal the wheelchair bound old man. The old man was so taken aback by seeing the tiny person he picked him up and manhandled him into the cupboard under the stairs. To be kept, like a pet.
Somewhere along the line, the elderly gentleman had convinced himself he had nabbed a troll and that it was okay to keep it locked away for six hours, without food or water.
Mark and I sat there blinking as Ray told us the story. Was it real? Ray assured us that it was as the elderly chap sometimes comes into the store with his carer. The chap was mostly lucid but on occasion he has lapses.
We just couldn’t believe it though – a case where the truth was in fact stranger than fiction. Thankfully the carer managed to placate the small person (am I right in calling this person a midget?) into not laying charges and explaining about the old man and his lapses with reality.
But, how utterly horrifying and also mind-numbingly real! You couldn’t make stuff up like this, at all.