Someone on the internet told me I have a “troll complex.” I don’t know what that means.

I had a troll complex once. I thought it would be a fun and interesting conversation starter at parties, kind of like having an ant farm. I imagined swanky events where men with highballs would ask me, casually, “So, do you have any pets?” and I could say, “Yes, actually. I have a troll complex.” They’d say “Fascinating! I never met a woman with a troll complex! Tell me more,” and it would be like that scene in Firefly where Kaylee brings all the boys to the yard with her engine talk.

I found a troll complex kit, complete with troll starter growth packets, on a shady website, but I could buy it with Dogecoin. Sold! I set up my troll complex and followed the directions, mixing urine and bottom shelf vodka with the growth medium, according to directions. After a few days with no sign of trolls, I started to think I’d been scammed, but a couple days later they hatched. Baby trolls with colorful tufts of hair and eyes squinted against the light of the green LEDs that illuminated the troll complex.

At first the trolls were playful and their naughty antics had a child-like purity. As they grew, they lost their charming innocence and turned barbed and malicious, but I still loved them the way you love the cat your kitten becomes.

My neighbors, alas, did not feel the same.

It began with passive aggressive notes in my mailbox and escalated to a formal complaint. Finally the co-op’s board decreed I had to get rid of them. They even put up a sign with a picture of a troll and a circle with a line through it in the lobby. (Terribly unfair, because I know the people on two have neckbeard that pees in the elevator sometimes, and they’re allowed to keep it! How’s a troll complex any worse?!!!)

First I put an ad on Craigslist offering a mature troll complex free to a good home but the only reply I got was from a guy who wanted to use them as “intimacy aids” in place of gerbils. I called the animal shelter but they don’t take trolls, though they did give me the number for a rescue society in Norway. I guess trolls are endangered there? The rescue society only rehabilitated wild trolls for release back into their environment, it didn’t take the kind you order off dodgy web sites.

I knew if I didn’t get rid of my troll complex pretty soon, there was going to be another meeting with the board and they’d probably evict me. Late one night I put the whole troll complex in the basket of my bicycle (someone spray painted “troll lover” on it — nice neighbors, huh?) and rode down to the utility box by the highway where the telecoms have a fiber juncture. I let the trolls go beside it. They stood, small and vulnerable, on the loose gravel beside the bike path, dazed by their new freedom. My heart was breaking, but I knew I had to stay strong. I stamped my feet and shouted, “You guise r amazeballs! ILU! BFF! <3 <3 <3!” and they scattered for cover in fear and confusion.

I still miss my troll complex: Hatey & Stalky & Flamey & Pervy & Ragey & Drunky & Snarky & Gay Basher. I hope those little guys made it into the fiber box and they’re somewhere out there in the wild internet doin’ what trolls do.