Trolls Ate My Dingo
Olaf clambered to his feet, looked around, and raised his eyebrows in surprise. He had been in Anyanka’s shop in Vinland, battling against the annoying but very strong blonde girl, while Anyanka and the witch who had stolen his hammer cowered behind a counter and comforted the puny but brave warrior with the broken arm. Then the blonde woman had struck him several times and knocked him out. Now he was somewhere completely different.
Around him was a barren landscape, with red dusty soil and occasional clumps of unfamiliar trees, under a blazing sun. Nearby was an immense rock.
As Olaf gazed at the strange surroundings, wondering where the blonde and her friends had taken him, he saw an animal come into sight from the other side of the rock. It was a yellow dog, of unfamiliar breed and wild appearance, trotting along with its tail stiffly upright. Its head hung down under the weight of something that it held in its jaws.
“My baby!” a voice wailed from somewhere out of sight. “A dingo has stolen my baby! Do something, Shane!”
“No worries, she’ll be right,” a male voice replied. “I’ll see to it as soon as I’ve got the barbie going proper.”
A baby? Olaf stared at the dog. Yes, the object that it was carrying was indeed a baby. A plump, juicy, baby. His mouth watered.
Olaf snatched up a stone from the ground and threw it. His aim was true and his mighty arm propelled the missile at a lethal velocity. The dingo let out one brief yelp and dropped dead. The baby landed on the hard ground and wailed.
Olaf strode to the scene and snatched up the baby. His nose wrinkled. There was a smell most unpleasant. This morsel would need to be washed before it could be eaten. He could see no sign of water nearby and he frowned. At that moment a man and a woman came around the rock and saw him.
“Stone the bleeding crows!” the man exclaimed. “G’day, mate. You’re a big bloke and a half.”
“My baby!” cried the woman. She ran to Olaf and held out her arms.
Olaf hesitated for a moment and then caught another whiff of the smell from the baby. He grimaced and passed the infant to the woman.
“Thank you, thank you, cobber,” said the woman. “You saved my baby!”
“Too right,” said the man. “What did I tell you, Meryl? She’ll be right.”
“Thanks to this bonzer bloke,” said the woman. “Give him a reward, Shane.”
“Yeah, fair dinkum,” said the man. “You’re a bloody good bloke, mate. Have a drop of the amber nectar.”
“Beer, mate,” Shane explained, pulling something from his belt. “Take a swig from my stubby, cobber.” He handed Olaf a squat container from which was emanating an unmistakable aroma far more pleasant than that from the baby.
“Ale!” Olaf exclaimed. “Fragrant ale!” He drank from the ‘stubby’. “Delicious!” he judged. “Most welcome in this hot and barren place.”
“You sound like a new chum,” said Shane. “You’re not a bloody whinging Ham, are you?”
“A Ham?” Olaf frowned. “What do you mean? I know that only as the flesh of swine.”
“From Ankh-Morpork,” Shane said. “More pork. Ham. Hammy bastards. D'you get it, cobber?”
“I have not heard of Ankh-Morpork,” said Olaf. “I was in Vinland, in a place called Sunnydale, but it was not as sunny as this. I think that I was banished from there by a witch.”
“Strewth, you don’t want to mess with bleeding witches,” said Shane. “Probably sent you through a bloody portal, mate. There’s a lot of that happening these days.”
“I hate witches,” said Olaf. “Where is this place to which she has sent me?”
“EcksEcksEcksEcks, the finest bloody country on the Disc,” said Shane. “FourEcks for short. You’ll love it here, mate. Sunshine, sport, surfing, and all the best tucker. Speaking of which, d’you want to join us at our barbie?”
Shane’s eyebrows climbed. “Stone the crows, cobber, you’ve got a lot to learn about FourEcks. Barbeque, mate. We’ll have to chuck another shrimp on the barbie for you. No, on second thoughts, a shrimp won’t be enough. A whole bloody Great White, maybe, or a salt-water croc.”
“Or a dingo,” suggested Meryl, who was cleaning and changing the baby nearby. “There’s one just lying there. Be a shame to waste it.”
“A dingo? Strewth. Well, I suppose it qualifies as bush tucker, right enough,” Shane said. “What d’you think, mate? Willing to give grilled dingo a try?”
Olaf frowned and screwed up one eye. “I am not sure. Wild dog? I will think.” He stood for a moment and then, once Meryl had finished changing the baby’s nether garments, he accompanied the two FourEcksians to their campsite. He noticed them diverging from the direct route to avoid a tall tree but did not think to follow suit.
“Strewth, mate, watch out for the...” Shane began.
Something hit Olaf very hard on the head. He rocked under the impact and then felt something warm and wet trickling down over his forehead. He reached up and found that something was impaled on one of his horns.
“...drop bears,” Shane finished, as Olaf pulled the object from his horn and looked at it, frowning. “Oops. Too late.”
Olaf was holding the corpse of a furry animal. “What is this?” he asked.
“Drop bear,” Shane explained. “The buggers drop out of the trees on your head, knock you out, and then they eat you.” He grinned. “There’s good eating on a drop bear and it would only be fair goes to turn the tables on the bastard. Skin it and we’ll chuck it on the barbie.”
Olaf produced a short blade and ran it around the animal’s body.
Shane was surprised at the small size of the huge man’s weapon. “Strewth,” he remarked, “call that a knife?”
Olaf shook his head. “No,” he said. “This is my thumbnail.”