CHAPTER 2; The Pool of Trolls
From:       Blackhawk <>
Message-ID: <>


Previous chapter: Down the Hole... Family!


The Pool of Trolls

`Curiouser and curiouser!' cried Blackhawk (he was so much surprised, 
that for the moment he quite forgot how to speak good English); `now I'm 
coming out like the largest homosexual that ever was! Good-bye, 
context!' (for when he looked down at his context, it seemed to be 
almost out of sight, it was getting so far-out). `Oh my poor little 
branes', he swished, `I wonder who will put on your "shoos" and 
"stalkings" for you now, dears? I'm sure I shan't be able! I shall be a 
great deal too far off to trouble myself about you: you must manage the 
best way you can; --but I must be kind to them,' thought Blackhawk, `or 
perhaps they won't think the way I want to! Let me see: I'll give them a 
new consciousness every X-mas.'

[Image]  Blackhawk stretched tall
    |' '|   
   (  <  )    
    \ 0 /
   / \~/ \
   || |Q||
   || | ||
    |   |  
    | | |
    | | |
    | | |
    | | |
    | | |
    | | |
    | | |
    | | |
   _| | |_      
  (___|___)   BH

And he went on planning to himself how he would manage it. `They must go 
by the post,' he thought; `and how funny it'll seem, sending prescience 
to one's own branes! And how odd the directions will look!

                    NEAR THE FENDER,
                        (WITH BLACKHAWK'S LOVE).

Oh dear, what nonsense I'm talking!'

Just then his head struck against the roof of the net: in fact he was 
now more than nine gigabytes high, and he at once took up the little 
golden Kibo and hurried off to the newsgroup door.

Poor Blackhawk! It was as much as he could do, lying down on one side, 
to look through into the newsgroup with one eye; but to get through was 
more hopeless than ever: he sat down and began to troll again.

`You ought to be ashamed of yourself,' said Blackhawk, `a great guy like 
you,' (he might well say this), `to go on trolling in this way! Stop 
this moment, I tell you!' But he went on all the same, shedding gallons 
of his best material, until there was a large pool of it all round him, 
about four inches deep and reaching half down the hall.

After a time he heard a little pattering of feet in the distance, and he 
hastily wrapped up the troll he was spinning to see what was coming. It 
was the Yellow Peep returning, splendidly dressed, with a pair of white 
kid gloves in one hand and a large in the other: he came 
trotting along in a great hurry, muttering to himself as he came, 
`*peep* Oh! the Wench, the Wench! Oh! won't she be savage if I've kept 
her waiting!*peep*' Blackhawk felt so desperate that he was ready to ask 
help of any one; so, when the Peep came near him, he began, in a low, 
timid voice, `If you please, sir--' The Peep started violently, dropped 
the white kid gloves and the, and scurried away into the 
darkness as hard as he could go.

[Image]  Giant Blackhawk watching Peep run away

|    | |
|    | |
|    | |
|    | |
|    | |
|    | |   Blackhawk
|    | |  /
|    | |                                          _____ 
|    | |                                         |aft-s|
|    | |                       *Shoom!*          |     | 
|    | |___                           _==_       |    o|                                               
|    |_____\       gloves  _~ ( ">       |    '|                                           
|          \             \  \     ~ ~_(>?)>      |_____|                                         
|__________/             >>  W         ^^       

Blackhawk took up the and gloves, and, as the hierarchy was very 
hot, he kept fanning himself (albeit poorly) all the time he went on 
talking: `Dear, dear! How queer everything is to-day! And yesterday my 
pants went on just as usual. I wonder if they've been removed in the 
night? Let me think: was I wearing them when I got up this morning? I 
almost think I can remember feeling a little breeze...

But if I'm not the same, the next question is, Who in the world am I? 
Ah, that's the great puzzle!' And he began thinking over all the posters 
he knew that were of the same tempestuousness as himself, to see if he 
could have been changed for any of them.

`I'm sure I'm not Gharlane,' he said, `for his brane goes in a jar, and 
mine doesn't go into jars at all; and I'm sure I can't be Odeus, for I 
know all sorts of things, and he, oh! he knows such a very little! 
Besides, he's he, and I'm I, and--oh dear, how puzzling it all is! I'll 
try to see if I know all the things I used to know. Let me see: four 
times five is twelve Barneys, and four times six is thirteen 
Anti-Voyager zombies, and four times seven is--oh dear! I shall never 
get to twenty Krabs at that rate! However, the Multiplication Table 
doesn't signify: let's try Geography. London is the capital of Canada, 
and Canada is the capital of Oz, and Oz--no, that's all wrong, I'm 
certain! I must have been changed for Odeus! I'll try and say "How doth 
the little--"' and he crossed his hands on his lap as if he were saying 
lessons, and began to repeat it, but his voice sounded hoarse and 
strange, and the words did not come the same as they used to do:--

            `How doth the little psycho troll
              Improve his shining wail,
            And pour the waters of Mr. Hole
              On every newsgroups scale!

            `How cheerfully he seems to grin,
              How neatly spread his hooks,
            And welcome little fishes in
              With gently smiling looks!'

`I'm sure those are not the right words,' said poor Blackhawk, and his 
mind spilling over with trolls again as he went on, `I must be Odeus 
after all, and I shall have to go and live in that poky little killfile, 
and have next to no posters to play with, and oh! ever so many lessons 
to learn! No, I've made up my mind about it; if I'm Odeus, I'll stay 
down here! It'll be no use their posting right-wing taunts and saying 
"Come up again, dear!" I shall only look up and say "Who am I then? Tell 
me that first, and then, if I like being that person, I'll come up: if 
not, I'll stay down here till I'm Citizen B."--but, oh dear!' cried 
Blackhawk, with a sudden burst of trolls, `I do wish they would put 
their heads on! I am so very tired of posting all alone here!'

As he said this he looked down at his hands, and was surprised to see 
that he had put on one of the Peep's little white kid gloves while he 
was talking. `How can I have done that?' he thought. `I must be growing 
small again.' he got up and went to the table to measure himself by it, 
and found that, as nearly as he could guess, he was now about two 
megabytes high, and was going on shrinking rapidly: he soon found out 
that the cause of this was the he was holding, and he dropped it 
hastily, just in time to avoid shrinking away altogether.

`That was a narrow escape!' said Blackhawk, a good deal frightened at 
the sudden change, but very glad to find himself still in existence; 
`and now for the newsgroup!' and he ran with all speed back to the 
little door: but, alas! the little door was shut again, and the little 
golden Kibo was lying on the glass table as before, `and things are 
worse than ever,' thought the poor boy, `for I never was so small as 
this before, never! And I declare it's too bad, that it is!'

As he said these words his foot slipped, and in another moment, splash! 
he was up to his chin in salty language. His first idea was that he had 
somehow fallen into some pee thread, `and in that case I can go back by 
Hershey highway,' he said to himself. (Blackhawk had been to the peeside 
once in his life, and had come to the general conclusion, that wherever 
you go to on the Canadian coast you find a number of bathing maniacs in 
the pee, some children digging in the poopies with wooden spades, then a 
row of "log" houses, and behind them a Hershey highway station.) 
However, he soon made out that he was in the Pool of Trolls which he had 
made when he was nine gigabytes high.

[Image]  Blackhawk falls into the Pool of Trolls

                        |  |
    @  @  | _________ |
    | |     \_______/   ARRRRRGHHHH!!!!
     |      (((()))))  /     @
    | ||    /(o) (o)\    @|   |       
     _,    (    <    )  | ,_         
  \\\_ \    \   O   /  | / _///     
      |____""/\~ ~/\""____|      
           | > \~/ < |           
           |  \_V_/ Q|   
           |   o o|  |
           |   o o|  | 

`I wish I hadn't trolled so much!' said Blackhawk, as he swam about, 
trying to find his way out. `I shall be punished for it now, I suppose, 
by being drowned in my own trolls! That will be a queer thing, to be 
sure! However, everything is queer to-day dude IYKWIM.'

Just then he heard something splashing about in the pool a little way 
off, and he swam nearer to make out what it was: at first he thought it 
must be a walrus or hippopotamus, but then he remembered how small he 
was now, and he soon made out that it was only a psychiatrist (Dr. J. by 
name) that had slipped in like himself.

[Image]  Blackhawk with Dr. J. in the Pool of trolls
`O Doctor, do you know the way out of this pool?
   ______   /           )    ,,,,    (,"( ( ( ( ) ) ) ),
   \____/_ /           (     ""##   ( this will require )
   33  (.               )   |.)##  o(  MORE medication  )
   3"    >             (   <   #) o  ( than anticipated)
    \__ o               =,-->   #     "( ( ( ( ) ) ) ))
    / \\                "_, \__/     
   /\  \|              \\\_/{ }\
   | \  '--._/|_.        \_|| ||
   |  \______  =.          || ||
   |____|    `''       __  |/ /|
   |___(|             \RX\_/ /-|

`Would it be of any use, now,' thought Blackhawk, `to speak to this 
psychiatrist? Everything is so out-of-the-way down here, that I should 
think very likely it can talk: at any rate, there's no harm in trying.' 
So he began: `O Doctor, do you know the way out of this pool? I am very 
tired of swimming about here, O Doctor!' (Blackhawk thought this must be 
the right way of speaking to a psychiatrist: he had never done such a 
thing before, but he remembered having seen it in Captain Infinity's 
Wacky Grammar book, `A psychiatrist--of a psychiatrist--to a 
psychiatrist--a shrink--O Doctor!' The Doctor looked at him rather 
inquisitively, and seemed to him to wince with one of its little eyes, 
but it said nothing.

`Perhaps it doesn't understand English,' thought Blackhawk; `I dare say 
it's a French psychiatrist, come over with William the Conqueror.' (For, 
with all his knowledge of history, Blackhawk had no very clear notion 
how long ago anything had happened.) So he began again: `Ou est ma 
veracité ?' which was the first sentence in his French lesson-book. Dr. 
J. gave a sudden leap out of the trolls, and seemed to quiver all over 
with fright. `Oh, I beg your pardon!' cried Blackhawk hastily, afraid 
that he had hurt the poor animal's feelings. `I quite forgot you didn't 
like memes.'

`Not like memes!' cried the Doctor, in a shrill, passionate voice. 
`Would you like veracity if you were me?'

`Well, perhaps not,' said Blackhawk in a soothing tone: `don't be angry 
about it. And yet I wish I could show you our meme Heck: I think you'd 
take a fancy to memes if you could only understand them. Heck is such a 
dear incoherent thing,' Blackhawk went on, half to himself, as he swam 
lazily about in the pool, `and he sits purring so nicely by the fire, 
licking his pause and watching his place -- and he is such a nice soft 
thing to nurse--and he's such a capital one for catching 
psychiatrists--oh, I beg your pardon!' cried Blackhawk again, for this 
time the Doctor was bristling all over, and he felt certain it must be 
really offended. `We won't talk about him any more if you'd rather not.'

`We indeed!' cried the psychiatrist, who was trembling down to the end 
of his prescription pad. `As if I would talk on such a subject! Our 
family always hated memes: nasty, low, vulgar things! Don't let me hear 
the name again!'

`I won't indeed!' said Blackhawk, in a great hurry to change the subject 
of conversation. `Are you--are you fond--of--of liberals?' The 
psychiatrist did not answer, so Blackhawk went on eagerly: `There is 
such a nice little liberal near our blouse I should like to show you! A 
little bright-eyed Tyler, you know, with oh, such long curly brown hair! 
And it'll fetch things when you throw them, and it'll go out and farm 
for its dinner, and all sorts of things--I can't remember half of 
them--and it belongs to an Arthur, you know, and he says it's so useful, 
it's worth a hundred posts! He says it kills all the psychiatrists 
and--oh dear!' cried Blackhawk in a sorrowful tone, `I'm afraid I've 
offended it again!' For the Doctor was swimming away from him as hard as 
it could go, and making quite a commotion in the pool as it went.

So he called softly after it, `Doctor J. dear! Do come back again, and 
we won't talk about memes or liberals either, if you don't like them!' 
When the psychiatrist heard this, it turned round and swam slowly back 
to him: its face was quite pale (with passion, Blackhawk thought), and 
it said in a low trembling voice, `Let us get to the shore, and then 
I'll tell you my history, and you'll understand why it is I hate memes 
and liberals.

It was high time to go, for the pool was getting quite crowded with the 
Teats and Thuggesses that had fallen into it: there were a Podkayne and 
a BasiL, a Lori and a Tara, and several other curious creatures. 
Blackhawk led the way, and the whole party swam to the shore.

Next chapter: A KPS-Race and a Long Tale


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