Let It Loose, Let It All Come Down: A Very Sad Business All Around

Some mysterious combination of failing light, and the smell of an unrecognized plant bring back to some men the sense of childhood, and of future hope; and to others the sense of something which has been lost and nearly forgotten.

–Graham Greene, The Honorary Counsul

What we cannot think, we cannot think; we cannot therefore say what we cannot think.

–Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

When not engaged in warfare they spend a certain amount of time at hunting, but much more in idleness, thinking of nothing else but sleeping and eating. For the boldest and most warlike men have no regular employment; the care of house, home, and fields being left to the women, old men, and weaklings of the the family. In thus dawdling away their time they show a strange inconsistency –at one and the same time loving indolence and hating peace.

–Tacitus, Germania

The place was perpetually murky, either sticky-hot and prone to tantrums, or inhospitably cold and overcast. Clouds would roll in and set up shop for months at a time, casting a disorienting pall over the days, a permanent crepuscle that made it easy to lose track of time.

In the warm months, between spasms of rain, the little town would bake and be congested with dust kicked up by the slow, ceaseless procession of late-model European and American cars, bicycles, and carts dragged through the dust by old women and children on their way to the crowded markets.

The town was surrounded by thick woods that rolled steadily upward toward the mountains that were overgrown with lush, almost tropical greenery. These mountains were said to be populated by ancient tribes of warring giants and trolls.

For almost a century the population of giants was alleged to have been in alarming decline, a decline that was attributed to environmental factors and a mysterious crisis of infertility. For generations the giants had subsisted on wild hogs and the young and elderly trolls they were able to steal from their rival tribe.

Over the years, however, the trolls had become masters of stealth, cunning, and deception, and had adapted to the once frequent incursions of the giants by moving underground, where they had excavated a complex network of tunnels and subterranean villages. They also became quite expert in creating traps for the giants. These traps were huge bunkers that the trolls would cover with brush and bait with a howling child or pig. One giant, thus captured, could feed one hundred trolls for a month.

Eventually, the combination of these various factors led to the wholesale eradication of the giants, and the trolls had the complete run of the place. They moved above ground, started to read the Bible, and built unsightly compounds comprised of little but poorly-made mansions, town homes, and strip malls.The trolls, it was said, were indiscriminate breeders, and they rapidly accumulated great wealth and power.They were known to comport themselves with a strange combination of indolence, aggression, and arrogance. The natives of the village grew to regard them with fear and loathing, until one day a band of brazen local youths, armed with nothing but stones, mounted a series of attacks that razed entire neighborhoods, killed hundreds of trolls, and drove the remainder of the crass little bastards back underground.