When I was a child in the '60s, I had a troll doll. I loved to sew clothes for the two-inch creature and to look at the troll costumes and miniature accessories being sold at the height of the fad. So, while my parents shopped at the Government Employees Market general store in Rockville one evening, I browsed in the toy department, looking for the troll display.
On the cash register was a troll in a slinky, metallic green gown, with masses of flying, hot pink hair and brilliant purple eyes. As a shy child, I dreaded talking to strangers, but I was sure that if one troll was around, there must be others. I waited until the clerk was free and timidly asked him where the troll display was.
He promptly picked up the troll, slipped her into a bag and began to ring up something on the cash register. I was worried -- I had no money. What did he think I'd said?
Following the store's practice, the clerk taped the bag shut, stapled on the receipt and handed me the bag. They no longer sold trolls, he told me, and I could have this last one for free.
The troll sits on my desk today, smiling, her ridiculously slinky gown fading but still sparkly. She is my favorite bargain, a silent reminder to speak up.
Kathy Kuhl, Herndon
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