“Okay, so why do trolls like to live under bridges anyway?” Kevin asked as the squad car drove them away from the homeless shelter. Brigitte, the person in charge of the shelter, had told them that Fraaphknot lived under the Brooklyn Bridge.
“Honestly,” Atheara said, unwrapping another chocolate bar, “I never gave it any thought.” Twisting up her face, the fairy lost herself in deep thought, “They aren’t that sharp, maybe they like it under there.”
“It’s not just a stereotype?” Kevin asked.
Taking a bite of her chocolate bar, the fairy shook her head, “Mmm … nope. Every one I’ve known lived under a bridge.” She was glowing green that day and shaking her head cast off a scattering of golden, glittering mystical particles.
Blowing off some of the particles that landed on him, Kevin switched mental gears, “Are these things like fairy dandruff or something?”
The car came to a stop by the bridge and the doors opened for them as Atheara answered, “Uh nooo! But if you mix them with fruit juice they’ll turn you into a frog … or is it a giraffe?”
Her face twisted up again, “Manatee?”
Shaking his head, Kevin climbed out and cast a look around the underside of the bridge. Fraaphknot wasn’t hard to find among the homeless. At over eight feet tall, as broad as a house and with ashen skin, he stood out worse than a manatee at a masquerade party.
Sitting against one of the Brooklyn Bridge supports in a flannel vest and blue jeans, he was scratching a mongrel dog behind the ears. He seemed strangely gentle although somewhat disconnected. The scratching was absent-minded. Had he been any other race, Kevin would have assumed he was deep in thought. But trolls didn’t have deep thoughts … did they?
“Fraaphknot?” Kevin asked, approaching the huge beast.
The troll looked up at him with his beady red eyes and blinked.
“We need to ask you a few questions about London if you don’t mind,” Kevin started, but the troll shook his head.
“Look, we just need to …”
The troll shook his head again, “Am I under arrest?”
“No, but are you aware ..?” Kevin started, but the troll cut him off.
“I don’t talk to cops without a lawyer,” Fraaphknot said through his tusks and continued scratching the dog.
“Look,” Atheara stepped in, “You’re not a suspect, not under suspicion …”
Fraaphknot shook his head again.
“Come on,” Kevin groaned, grabbing Atheara by the shoulder, “Leave him here.”
“Hold on,” Atheara tapped the PC on her wrist. Quickly she began scanning the holographic text that appeared in front of her.
“Honorable discharge huh?” she nodded.
The troll just blinked.
“But they wouldn’t let you re-sign huh? Section Eight?” she smiled.
“You can drag up whatever you want …” Fraaphknot started to say, but the young detective cut him off.
“So you were kicked out for mental issues, your boss and a guy you fought came up dead,” she noted, raising one eyebrow. “But why would you kill the dwarf?”
Fraaphknot likewise raised one eyebrow, “What dwarf?”
Kevin stepped forward, “That has your attention? Why would Dwaldin Vtharth get your attention?”
“The jeweler right?” the massive troll pulled himself up.
“So you do know something,” Kevin smiled.
“Aye,” the beast swatted at Atheara’s hologram, causing it to warble and distort. “You detectives suck. Come on.”
The big troll pushed past as Atheara spoke up, “Wait, what …”
Stopping, he looked over his shoulder at the police, “A jeweler is killed. A lost key is stolen. A security company owner is killed.”
“How do you know about the key?” Kevin started, but quickly knew it was a stupid question.
“The news jackass,” Fraaphknot groaned. “Now come on, we don’t have long.”
“Before what? Where are we going?” Atheara asked, quickly gliding to the troll’s side.
“The House of Lords,” the troll explained.
In the year 2019, a musician and actress who went by the name of Traci Lords had gained prominence by becoming the Senator for the state of California. At the age of fifty-eight, she had become President. The former pornographic star turned trance musician was voted into two terms before popular vote put her back in office for two additional terms. In an unprecedented move, she turned down a fifth vote so she could focus on peace in the Middle East. In what became known as the Middle East Unification Treaty, she had managed to bring all the feuding countries together under an umbrella of mutual assistance. The Middle East Unification Treaty was the start of what later became known as the Century of Peace; one-hundred-fifty years with no territorial wars, police actions or skirmishes. She had died at the ripe age of ninety-seven, a legendary world leader and humanitarian.
Then started the worship. Her media quotes were used as gospels, the club music she had written was used in churches devoted to her and her effigy became a symbol of peace. Even the pornographic videos she had been in when she was underage were re-released as holy objects. By the year 3000, the House of Lords was the most prominent religion in the world.
“That place weirds me out,” Kevin mumbled.
Fraaphknot stopped by the car, an amused look on his dull face. There wasn’t a shoe-horn big enough to pry him into the little vehicle.
“Why?” he asked.
“It always seemed like I was just going to a dance club,” Kevin explained, catching up to the big troll, “Just with prayers.”
Snorting, the troll chuckled, “You might want to say one now … it’s about to get real ugly.”
I’ve been listening to way to much Traci Lords on my “I Heart Radio” stations. It’s weird how much of her music has found its way into popular culture without people knowing she even did music … thus the idea for the House of Lords.