Identifying Ogres | Alicia Bruzzone

The prodigal son has returned… prodigiously.


Identifying Ogres

By Alicia Bruzzone

For the Triumphant Return Award


There’s an ogre on my front porch. At least I assume it’s an ogre, maybe it’s a hybrid giant that didn’t quite meet the usual height standards.
He’s big; muscles bulging off other muscles and a barrel of a chest that appears to require rotating ninety degrees to fit through the doorframe. No neck- just shoulders straight up to a head that looks too small for his frame. He isn’t green, but I think that was a marketing ploy to lure unsuspecting humans into a false sense of security. Then, BAM! You’re lunch.
“Are you going to let me in, Derek?”
I quickly snap my mouth shut before the monster knows it startled me. I don’t remember mind reading being a factor attributed to ogres, though my folklore is a little rusty. I haven’t really needed it since the bunyip in the shed died. I tried to warn it not to drink the mower oil, but we had a language barrier problem. Then I had a decomposing body problem.
“Come on, Derek. Dad can’t still be mad. He said I was allowed back when I became a real man. I did it, I made myself a successful career.”
The ogre isn’t swelling with pride when I study it, though it does bear a strange resemblance to my brother, Luka. I haven’t seen him since I was eight and he ran off. We aren’t allowed to talk about Luka and his ‘affront to god.’ Dad’s a bit weird like that.
I stare at the bulk of flesh as my sister Rochelle calls out, barging past when I don’t answer. She starts crying and races to fling herself at the ogre, who I am beginning to suspect might actually be my eldest brother. Mutated with steroids.
“Luka! Holy crap, what took you so long? You should have told dad to stick it! I missed you so much.” Rochelle is a blubbering mess, her mascara running so she looks like a freaky Halloween mannequin.
“I couldn’t come back until I proved myself. Dad said I wasn’t allowed in the house until I was a man.” Luka manages to make it sound like he’s gloating this time.
“It took you this long to grow chest hair?” Rochelle answers as she slaps his bicep. From the sounds of things he has a metal plate installed there, and I think her extra tears are from the pain of impact.
Luka smirks. “I had that before I left. You’re looking at Loco Luka, tag team champion with Insangorium. I make good money on the international wrestling circuit. Dad has to accept me now.”
Rochelle makes a noise like a cat being strangled. Not that I tortured a cat or anything in the past, but I heard the bunyip trying to eat one in the shed before it died. “Dad caught you waxing your thighs in the bathroom while wearing a pair of gold spandex briefs. That was why he kicked you out.”
“Dad hates wrestling?” I asked Rochelle. I’d have to add it to pretty much everything else in the universe.
Rochelle shakes her head. “He didn’t know about the wrestling.”
“Then what-” Luka starts, before his eyes widen in disbelief. Then he starts to laugh and blub along with Rochelle. And I thought dad was weird. “Guess that comment about having a date to wrestle Brandon was taken the wrong way. Probably should have skipped the part where I said I’d have him on his back within five minutes.”
I don’t get why he’s laughing. Luka just served five years hard labour for wearing spandex briefs.