Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’


Two Women and the God of Trolls

April 20, 2018


Two Women and the God of Trolls

Mr. Binger

Two racially diverse women, and yet in affinity with one another, speak to each other. They stand together upon a wooden walkway surrounding a blue two-story apartment building. Here, there are sixteen units, eight on each floor. The two bilingual ladies linger on the northwest corner and watch the sun set under Los Angeles. The light of day is still intense, but the women stay safe, hidden from yet potent UV rays because the shadow of an intervening hilltop home. A cramped parking lot and dry concrete seasonal wash separates these landmarks.

The two women speak a common language this writer without merit does not understand. Taking the liberty, as the author of this story, I interpret what they say. This is not the future nor the past, but this conversation between women happens now, during a time while California Governor Brown ends homelessness on the West Coast of the United States.

“He’s down there,” the shorter woman said to the other. Despite a difference in height, measured in substantial inches, the two share the same girth. Their hips are wide, but both ladies still wore the same jeans they each owned before the birth of their first and only children.

The first woman to have spoken clarifies herself. “The troll, he lives in 2.”

“Is he a troll?” the second woman asked the first. She had seen the man. He had shouted at her, “Be quiet,” when he once complained about her screeching infant.

“Is he really a troll?”

“Yes,” claimed the first.

“You can see. Trolls don’t wear clothes. If you peek through his door, you see he is always naked.”

“I don’t look into my neighbor’s homes,” preached the second woman. “Neither should you.”

The first tells the other, “I don’t – one time, I saw. He doesn’t like anyone making noise but his door is always open.”

“That’s because trolls like to live in caves, and caves don’t have doors. A small apartment is like a cave,” said the second.

“You believe me!” shouted the first. “You know he’s a troll.”

The taller second woman answers her friend. “No, I said trolls like to live in apartments because they’re like caves.”

The shorter first woman asks, “I thought they like to live under bridges? You always hear about one under an overpass.”

“Caves are better,” said the taller of the two.

The shorter one answers, “Then why…”

“Because there are only so many caves.” The taller woman speaks of trolls. “Their population is booming. My husband says it’s Climate Change, but I know it’s the pollution. It’s always pollution, that’s what trolls eat.”

The first woman says, “I thought they ate children.”

“No,” claimed the second. “That’s just in folk tales, to scare children to sleep. Do you ever see him by the dumpsters?”

The short one says, “Yeah… at night. I think it was him. I guess trolls bundle up when they go outside.”

The second interrupts. “There you are. He was getting his food.”

“Ugh,” commented the first. “Don’t they get Food Stamps? The state pays for them to live here.”

“I don’t know,” said the taller woman. “But the city must save money because all the recycling that trolls do. I guess they’re good for the environment.”

“Why would trolls live here?” wondered the shorter woman. “It’s obvious they don’t like people.”

The taller one tells her friend, “As I was saying, there are only so many overpasses. Our caves are better because they come with running water.”

“They’re so pale,” said the short other. Hung upon her elbow and over a metal rail, the woman waves her draped arm back and forth. “He is – the one who lives down there.”

“Imagine,” said the taller lady, adorned in a printed shirt filled with images and scripts the pair can surely understand; though foreign to this writer. “They live in caves or under bridges. Trolls hate the sun as much as they do noise.”

“Light doesn’t hurt them,” plead the first lady to have spoken in this narration. “They’re not like vampires. The sun doesn’t kill them.”

“No,” replied the woman who answered her friend. “I heard that trolls believe the sun is God, an evil god, and that’s why they’re not religious.”

The first gasps. “Ay!”

“When is your husband coming home?” The taller second woman asked. The pair then speak of the imminent future.

“After work,” said the first. “He’ll bring Joe home from his grandparents.”

The second woman volunteers, “Mine should be home; there must be traffic.”

“Always,” the short lady said. She then inquires from the other woman, “The 101? Yeah. Is Bonita sleeping?”

“Finally,” the other answered. “For a short while, thank God.”

Although the fact went unsaid, everyone in the rent-controlled apartment complex who had met both women agreed Bonita was a noisy child. The girl never rested and she became louder growing more tired. Poor Bonita may suffer croup, but no one in this neighborhood would know. Without truly helpful suggestions, the girl’s mother remained without hope. Everyone nearby suffered the child’s cries and coughs all the time. All the same, there were other loud children living here, too. Some were sick, but trolls had nothing to do with them.

“You know what,” declared Bonita’s mother, “Do you remember who was living in 5? Were you living here then?”

The shorter lady, Joe’s mom, says, “If you were here, I was. I moved here before you did. What are you talking about?”

“Did you see what happened when 5 left his truck idle in the parking lot?” the second asked her friend.

The shorter woman answers, “No, I might have been away. You’re talking about that guy with the broken truck, yes? It was loud. I thought he got it fixed.”

“I don’t know about that,” the second stated. “Yes, about the noise, but, I saw what happened. I was coming to see you and they were in the parking lot.”

“There’s your answer, in your memory,” the shorter lady said when she teased her friend. “You were coming to see me, so I must have been living here…”

“I know,” countered the taller woman.

“Anyway, I saw the troll raise his middle finger when he followed 5 back into the parking lot. He flipped off the pana. They almost had a fight. This was in the daytime. I didn’t know he was a troll at the time.”

“What happened then?” asked the shorter lady.

“That’s it,” the tattletale said. “They went home.”

Outraged, the shorter woman who spoke first shouts, “What, well…”

And in a soft voice, she then asks Bonita’s mother, “What did he look like in the daylight?”

“Hey,” Bonita’s mom alarmed her friend, “You said you saw him naked.”

“In the shadow,” Joe’s mother explained. “I really didn’t look, but I know he’s short like me. His skin was glowing.”

“He looked strong,” the taller woman answered. “He was almost naked, but he was white – like albino white. He was wearing new ragged pants, sweatpants. They actually looked old, but I had never seen them before, so I thought they were new for him.”

“He was wearing old black boots with stripes, the kind that were really expensive thirty years ago, before I was born. And they were unlaced. I don’t think I saw socks.”

“Red stripes?” asked Joe’s mother. “Were the heels worn off the boots?”

“Yes,” the taller lady affirmed.

The shorter one tells her, “I saw them at the dumpster a while ago. The troll must have recycled them, too. I thought he took them.”

Bonita’s mother tells her, “I thought he got them from that thrift store. It’s closed, if you didn’t know; remodeling, I suppose.”

“Oh, no,” Joe’s mom said. “There might be trouble.”

The shorter women spoke of the young man she spotted coming around the southern end of her apartment building. An obese thirty-year old teenager had moved into his mother’s one bedroom apartment in a separate structure. The whole of the apartment complex shared this one of two paved lots, and the misshaped man was waddling to his car.

All the gossiping renters knew the impostor fat kid had lost his wife to a meth binge. The woman was still alive, but she had gone missing, as she would so frequently do. The rent was also due and the grown man needed his mother to help feed and raise his own child. He came home with half a family.

In the parking lot, directly outside the apartment entrance belonging to the troll, the distressed young man was known to play his music too loud. No one asked if he sought to taunt the tenants inside the adjacent apartment building, or whether he knew who lived there. That the music he pumped was modern Country, that hip-hop crap that real artists such Steve Earl lament and the late Merle Haggard would have despised, that genre alone indicated the malcontent sought to aggravate an encounter.

Joe’s mother knew the troll was provoked once the plump noise-maker prompted his car horn to beep while he repeatedly remotely opened and closed the doors and audibly switched the alarm off then on and off again. Once that racket was done, the music came on. The grown kid did what he should not have done and he sat idle in his car, allowing the engine to grumble. The bass in his poor taste in music rumbled windows while he sat smoking a cigarette with his own rolled down. Here came the troll.

His voice was the noise made by a warped foot-board chest; the wood being so dry that its metal hinges sound as if they tear through petrified furniture every time the lid is opened.

“What’s that?” shouted the troll. The crack of his voice echoed once dulled against golden grass upon the opposite hill.

The white figure wearing a Caucasian-colored robe yells at stationary vehicles in the parking lot. “Is that circus music?” A sleeve was missing from that bland robe. The troll had slipped his colorless arm through the frayed amputation and it appeared a whole new limb regenerated through sloughing skin.

In reply to a critique in his listening taste, the sensitive man-child rested upon his steering wheel in such a way he pressed against the car horn. The blare was continuous. This noise enraged the troll; his nose and ears flushed pink. Bonita’s mother wondered if she saw the gray hair on his head come to stand on end. She had, as far from when she watched elevated outside her friend’s second story apartment.

“You,” yelled the troll. The two women went ignored. The young man was made guilty. “Stop!”

The music connoisseur swings upon his car door then rocks himself upright from his vehicle. The instigator puckers his face and tosses his half-smoked cigarette toward the troll. The smoking missile drops short onto a concrete sidewalk.

“What are you going to do, big man?” he challenged the troll.

“Big man?” the trolled shouted back. The two were no more than some yards apart.

The challenger explained, “You’re shorter than me.”

“Do you know what that means?” the troll growled as he begun a charge into the parking lot. The fat man held himself stationary. As there was a small distance between the combatants, the troll had more time to say. “I have to get you on the inside. I have to tear at your guts.”

Joe’s mother tells Bonita’s mom, “Uh oh.”

Both ladies saw with their brown eyes the troll wore no shoes this evening. Thick sallow talons curled over his toes. The warped nails were long and formed spirals that inclined his insteps. Both women said only to themselves, “That’s why he walks funny.”

They then hear the troll yell, “I have practiced tearing at guts.”

Joe’s mom answers to her friend, “I’m calling the police.”

The troll kicks forward and into the distended belly of the large roisterer before the shorter woman vanishes into her apartment so that she might fetch a phone. She is gone from sight when the truly big man falls to the asphalt. The circus music White people today call Country continues to thump an automatic amplified percussion. Whomever sings has been Autotuned so that he or she or some robotic AI sounds as a child from another planet. No one believes the intent the artists had was to ever have done so was intentional.

The taller woman calls into her shorter friend’s apartment. “I hope my husband doesn’t come home until this is done.”

From shadows inside, Joe’s mom mentions, “You are lucky if they don’t wake up Bonita.”

“It’s okay,” her friend answered. “We would hear her from here.”

“I know,” attested the shorter woman whom now returns to reddening outdoors light. “The police are coming.”

The taller woman whispers, “I think it’s over.”

Assumed to be miraculous, the larger man lays on the ground doubled up, otherwise, uninjured. Blood had splattered his face and the chrome hubcap on the front driver’s side wheel. Bonita’s mother assures her friend. “He bumped his nose when he fell.”

The shorter woman says, “He looked like he would fall on his face.”

The fallen accoster sobs. “Please, I’ll turn the music off.”

Unsatisfied with the conduct of men, the troll is seen examining the weighted knobs on the ends of his fingers; all that remained of his sheared claws. Plainly frustrated, the troll snags the talons of his foot into a speaker mounted inside the opened car open. Below torn noise, shredded plastic and black paper spill out from under the troll’s bare foot, and the questionable music from the radio is reduced from quadraphonic into a thinner, unbalanced stereo.

Driven because of the racket, the troll climbs into the young fat man’s automobile. The two female spies stationed on the second-story walkway are not able to see clearly inside the automobile. The kicked man outside was also yet blinded by blunt pain. All heard the three remaining speakers squelched one after another.

Unable to define the shadows she spotted inside the automobile, Bonita’s mother assumed she saw sickles flung into the dashboard, and that was so repeated in the back seat. The rear window cracked into the shape of a skewed web upon impact against the foot of the troll.

The disabled overweight man coughed into the ensuing silence. He had already started crawling home before the troll jumped from his vandalized vehicle. The man regains the clarity of his vision in time to see said troll then hurl a key chain into the concrete wash separating the parking lot from a blossomed then dead hill. The metal keys are heard to knock away pebbles and a plastic water bottle, likely one of those that nearby apartment tenants often cast toward the Pacific ocean.

The fat man gasps, “No.”

The troll then goes back into his apartment. This time, the two ladies hear his door slam shut. The only noise then outside is churned by chirping sparrows, and rush hour vehicles passing the scene outside with the troll on a major freeway a quarter mile west and away. A late garbage truck collects trash a shorter distance toward the east. The diesel machine beeps each time it frequently traveled in reverse. Although, its stops were orderly and those beeps were more pleasant to hear than that so-called music the angry man played to interrupt a quiet late afternoon-into-evening. That repetition was also moving away toward the foothills and up into night.

The two women waited outside while the fat man regained his footing before he staggers back home. Neither intervened nor made their presence clear; although, the ladies did not hide. The police then arrive and the parking lot becomes dark and without lamps to fend away the suffocation of night. Both the taller and shorter women remain on the elevated walkway and neither of their husbands were yet returned. Small Bonita never dared attempt to join the birdsong with screeches.

Joe’s mother calls down to the Los Angeles city police officers who scope the parking lot in their cruiser. “I called you.”

“It’s over,” the taller woman pronounced for the officers. The English of both women was fine. Their identical accents blended with those that varied throughout San Fernando Valley. The police officers, too, spoke with lisps of foreign speech.

“This is the incident with a troll?” solicited the officer riding shotgun.

“I don’t think anybody was hurt,” Joe’s mother said.

Bonita’s mom tells her and the police, “That man was kicked.”

“I think he’s okay,” the shorter woman rushed to say in her native tongue.

“You better check,” Bonita’s mother suggested to the officer visible in the vehicle at starboard.

The police cruiser goes into an empty parking stall, one that belonged to neither Joe’s nor Bonita’s absent fathers. After gathering themselves, the pair of officers exit their car and personally address the two women.

Gazing upward, the driver, a cleanly shaven corporeal, asks both women at once, “Are you Ms. Calafia Montalvo?”

“Yes,” the shorter woman replied in English.

“Your name, ma’am,” the corporeal asked the other, taller woman.

She tells him, “Radaria.”

He answers, “Thank you.”

The other police officer, ranked yet unknown because the sparse light, he asks Ms. Montalvo, “Someone was hurt? Where is he?”

“The building in back of this one,” the tall Radaria answered instead of her friend. Little Bonita then wailed.

“I should go, anyway,” she told the shorter woman.

“Yes,” Calafia said in her accustomed language.

That same time, Radaria told the passenger law enforcer, “I’ll show you.”

Led to the gargled howls of her awakened daughter, the taller woman strolls away with an officer come to assess the potential damages of an aggravated assault. Although, by international law, the endangered Scandinavian troll was graced with some exaggerated exceptions – especially this strain now considered native to Southern California.

Governor Brown graces this lucky blanched bunch derelicts with luxury apartments. Granted, these homes are offered in more squalid parts of LA. All the same, this could be heaven for a barbaric troll, except for all the people, human or however they come. All know trolls will not tolerate the company of others, not of their own, nor even their reflection in a mirror.

Joining the shorter woman named Calafia Montalvo at the top of a short flight of stairs, the corporeal tells a complaining citizen, “Trolls can make trouble, but we need them, right?”

“Huh,” the shorter woman grunted and she frowned.

The police officer says, “Global warming, right?”

Calafia asks this public servant, “What are you saying?”

“It’s getting hotter, yeah?” he explained in yet his affirming way of speech.

“Yes,” the woman told him. “Fossil fuels…”

“No,” the corporeal insisted, “The trolls are right, the sun is getting closer.”

“That’s just a story,” she educated the man. “It’s their religious thing.”

The badged man evangelizes. “Maybe, you haven’t heard that story – trolls are trying to keep the sun away. They don’t worship their god, they hide from him. That’s all there is to it. They’re like monks, polite Hare Krishnas without all that singing and dancing.”

Small Calafia had suffered enough. She tells the corporeal, “Officer, I called the police because a man was attacked.”

“Because he was making noise?” the corporeal said and, this time, he waited for the citizen herself to confirm the statement.

“Yes,” she said. “It’s always about noise.”

“That’s what I was saying,” the corporeal insisted. The bald-faced man tells the woman, “The god of the trolls is coming because all the noise we make. Trolls are here to keep things quiet – that would save us from work, but now the police in California guard endangered species. Trolls don’t like being guarded, either.”

“He’s fine,” announced the Los Angeles police man without rank as he ascended stairs behind his partner. “The guy is scared out of his mind that he was attacked by a troll, but he’s not hurt. There’s property damage and I told him to make a claim at city hall.”

“That’s all?” gasped Calafia.

“That’s it,” replied the corporeal.

She objects. “Don’t you want to know where the troll lives?”

“We know where he lives, ma’am,” the corporeal told a diminished Calafia. He says, “We know about this troll. How about we leave him alone?”

“Uh,” Calafia grunted.

More prejudiced and overcome by a foul waft no one in the apartment complex cared to notice, the rank-less police man motioned toward full dumpsters. He mentions, “He might not be here if you would stop feeding trolls. Recycling helps.”

Calafia nearly vomits. “Gah!”

Without reply until the police have descended the stairs, she suddenly believes she acts wry and questions the police. “What about giving them a home?”

This whole division of Los Angeles law enforcement walks away as these two wave their good-bye. Small Calafia Montalvo would not let this city and state to govern with so much indifference. This night she vowed to vote in whichever election. She, herself, has an idea and says in a strong voice, “At least, they should have to cut their toenails, too.”


Read other stories not quite like this one at the author’s publisher page on



Fumigator of Souls

October 15, 2017

My neighbor behind me is a slob, Exterminators have told me so much. The man never cleans his apartment. His place is infested with bugs. My bathroom and his kitchen share the plumbing and the east wall. Cockroaches come through the plaster and between wooden beams. They squeeze under un-stuck caulk and into my bathtub.

When they stare up at me, each pressing themselves up onto a slanted, six-legged stance, I sometimes think, “If reincarnation were true, and there was a karma that only the sacrifice of life satisfies, I think they beg me for death.

Sure, a last surge of self-preservation overcomes them all before each are squashed, but they go to a better life, I suppose. If it all were true, I make believe I satisfy karma in acting as their executioner. And as an atheist, I have no concern for an afterlife of my own. In my time on earth, I become a remorseless fumigator of souls.



The Shape in the Doorway

August 22, 2016

The other night… There’s shouting outside in the parking lot facing my apartment, so I get up to take a look. My door is open, but I can’t see anything between or beyond the luminosity of my back-lit front room and the darkness outdoors. I take a hit of medicinal marijuana, my third or fourth this evening, go the door holding my breath, squint then look outside.

I spot a full grown man, my neighbor’s son. He’s parked right outside my apartment and shouting something unintelligible at an assumable friend. I don’t know either’s names. And I’ve never met the man personally. I’m certain we’ve spied each other in the daytime, but neither of us have stopped, closed the gap between us and introduced one to the other.

The moment I’m ready to expel the therapeutic vapor from my lungs, that son sees me and he just stares, looking blindly at my shadowed shape in the doorway. He eventually says, “Hello, big man.”

“Odd,” I’m thinking. “Who shouts hello from parking lots to strangers after dark.

I reply with a muffled and stunted, “Hello.” And I wait until he turns away before I blow smoke.

Not much time has passed, but in truth, after four hits of marijuana, I’ve already transcended the temporal. In any respect, he – as in the man outside – he turns away and he speaks to his obvious friend. I am released, at least from that restraint on my lungs. I’ve still said nothing more then returned a greeting when those other two begin walking away. Everything seems normal, peaceful once again. But then that son turns his head and strains his neck and stares at me again.

“Odder still,” I quietly wonder. “Is he on drugs, drunk?”

“Probably,” I answer myself. “It is Friday night. Summer.” Yet his fixed gaze is disturbing, disquieting. The guy stares at me like I’m waving my dick at him.

While he disappears into darkness – the opposite direction of his mother’s apartment, I wonder, “Where is he going?” We all know there is a homeless guy in that direction, one who sells methamphetamine. The LA cops have busted the operation a couple times. They even fenced off the nearby dried-up streambed where derelicts would camp. All the same, even today, there are disaffected transients roaming outside peddling anything from yarn jewelry to much harder stuff.

“Carpe diem,” I mutter aloud and out of earshot of the strange passerby’s. “Caveat emptor.” And they are gone.

In modern American English, I still think, “Don’t stare at another man’s dick, son.” I will need to speak to his mother about this.

– Mr. Binger


Come Stay in Sunland *

June 23, 2013

Unction is an icky story of a mad necrophiliac and his homeless nemesis who sleeps in a park across the street. Brian Tucker is that dysfunctional killer. And the crazed killer is certain his hallucinations are true – there are demons. Monsters do hunt the residents of this Los Angeles municipality.

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Ebook available from Smashwords –

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