I walked across this bridge so many times and never thought twice about it. Mainly because there was not anything outstanding about it. It was a means to an end, to cross what was usually a dry gully.
But this morning I heard a voice.
“Got a minute mate?”
I swear it came from under the bridge. Around me, the bush was its normal vegetative self. I leant on one side, ignoring the cigarette butts in the box which I was always sure were intended for bird seed, but I never saw any in them and looked down.
The eyes I met were bright, and a shade of pink I’d not seen before.
The eyes were attached to a small man who looked up and me and said: “Its cold enough down here to freeze the walls off a bark humpy. Got a light?” he said holding up the sorry end of a well-spent cigarette.
“No,” I replied not sure who it was I speaking to.
“Your supposed to have something for me, as a toll for crossing, you know, trolls and things, I’m Barker the last of the bridge trolls just out trying to make a living you understand, don’t you.”
For a troll he was far better looking than I’d read about, he was more of a gentleman than I imagined.
“No,” I said, “but I do have a handkerchief.” I held up my ironed hanky.
“Thanks,” he said stuffing it in his pocket, “ you’d best keep going, tolls paid, can’t have you putting off business. People expect me to be furious and nasty. Huh, but do we have bad press. Now buzz off and let me get on with my day.”
I did leave him, and not one inquiry ever led me to think what I saw was real.