Earlier this summer, the kids in one of the creative writing camps I teach through The Cabin Idaho (a Boise-based literary center) came up with an imaginary troll named Evil Knievel that haunts the tiny, hobbit-looking supply closet in one of the classrooms there.
Naturally, after the kids had invented it, they wanted to feed it.
So they started drawing pictures of food and slipping them under the door for the troll.
At first the food they fed it was normal things like an apple, a piece of licorice, or a Goomba from Super Mario Bros.
One anachronistic kid fed it a thermostat.
Then things got a little bit weirder.
One kid decided to feed it just candy and lettuce, and it was a disaster.
“It’s allergic to lettuce!” a kid shrieked in response, “It’s allergic to anything green!”
“It’s a troll. Trolls are tough. It’ll be okay,” I said, “but if you’re really that concerned, draw it some medicine.”
So kids drew medicine and a LifePak heart defibrillator and slipped them under the door.
The following day, they started drawing Evil Knievel a much more varied diet.
One kid gave it an enormous piece of ginger. Another decided to feed it a single grape being heated in the microwave.
The day after that, kids started slipping it some magic potions, like inexplicably, a trio of gender-changing peppers.
One kid fed it a chair.
“The chair’s for sitting on,” the kid explained. “It has no furniture in there.”
Despite the troll’s green allergy, kids were drawing a steady stream of green food and willfully stuffing it under the door.
By the end of the week, the kids had fed the troll about 50 different bizarre foods. Once camp was done, they all ran off, leaving me the owner of a hobbit closet filled with an eccentric, imaginary troll larder I have no idea what to do with.
One only hopes the troll will polish them off soon.