Troll Poop

One of the first things I saw as a kid, after my first cornea transplant, was a bird in the sky. I have wanted to fly ever since. When I grew up, I discovered flight school consists of a lot of mathematics, rules, regulations, charts and scientific theories. All of these technical details serve an important purpose, but just the idea of studying them instantaneously bored me with the whole concept of flying professionally. I don’t want to plot numbers and check vectors – I want to leap into the sky, arms outstretched, and feel the wind on my face as I tumble playfully through the atmosphere, skimming neighborhood rooftops trying to confuse people.

Sometimes, as we grow up, reality just kills the imagination, creativity and the romantic worldview of childhood. You can’t just strap balloons on your back and go to Africa. You can’t catch fish in a bath tub. Your dog is never going to talk to you telepathically. Life is lame. But wait – there is a secret to ridding yourself of that pesky sense of realism: your inner child.

The companionship of my own inner child has allowed me to fly through my art and writing. I have to admit, even though I was once a child myself, I really didn’t have much use for children until I discovered the one that lived inside of me.

I was one of few females I knew that didn’t gush in the presence of a newborn. I still don’t want to start a daycare, but thanks to my youngest sister, I now regularly babysit three nephews, and not only have we found some common ground, but through them I have found a well from which creativity and inspiration spring freely.

For people like me, it might be hard to accept the idea of allowing a child to take up residence in your house for five minutes, let alone letting one live in your mind on a permanent basis. For them, I explain the benefits: Having a strong imagination and play instinct can keep life from bringing us down. It can make us valuable as professionals by improving our ability to creatively solve problems. It can prevent boredom at business meetings and keep you entertained on cold, rainy days. Your inner child can stop you from becoming completely disenchanted by the less interesting realities of life.

What’s cool about a kid? I found out one day after 4 and one half hours in the car on a family trip. We stopped, having decided it was a good time to let the little squirt, my oldest nephew Cartier, out for a run off some energy in the grassy patch between a gas station and a bank. There, standing out like the ivory tower at night, was a single, red, burning bush set against an otherwise solid green patch of grass.

In order to keep him out of the landscaping, I had explained to him that bushes were actually hiding places for trolls. Not the cute little trolls with the bright colored hair, but ugly, bad-tempered trolls with sharp teeth and a tendency to snatch buttons and toenails from unsuspecting children. So, Cartier ran to the bush but stopped short of venturing into the stones surrounding it. He got down on his knees and peered carefully under the bush, inspecting things. He tilted his head and asked,

“Troll in there?”

To which I replied,

”Do you see one?”

His eyes did not leave the bush.

“Yes!”

I asked him what color it was, to which he answered yellow. I told him that if he was close enough to see what color the troll was, he’d better get back. His eyes were wide and he got up right away. He lifted his hands and looked at them in horror. I followed his gaze to a tiny hand that was covered in something warm, brown, and as stinky as it was sticky. I realized, with disgust, that he has put his hand in a pile of unnoticed dog dookie. Before I could react, he started shaking his hand at me and shouted,

“Ew, troll poop!”

Once he was properly sanitized, I returned him to the car. He talked about this for days after it happened, reliving the story to his mother, aunt, grandmother, and anyone else who would listen to him. While the story was cute, funny, and a little gross, that wasn’t what made that day memorable to me. It was written all over is face and in every gesture that he literally saw the troll looking back at him – waiting to steal his buttons.

He saw it there because I suggested to him that it was. In this same way, he sees a monster in the closet. His mind fills in every detail for him – his imagination makes it real. It made me sad to realize how much is lost as we grow up and stop believing in that silly nonsense. Imagination is often bullied to the very back of the brain by realism and practicality.

I am not a silly person, but I have an active imagination that allows me to be a lot happier than most of the other 30 year olds I know. Finally, in the eyes of a two and a half year old, I met someone who understands the world that lives just barely inside your peripheral vision. In him, I see the reflection of my own inner child.

Together we see lots of things that nobody else does. It makes my world just a little more colorful. We can look at an old rotted log near a river and imagine the family of cranky coons that lived there before the tree fell and are struggling with the trials of relocating their children. The father is a fat old fisherman and the mother is a brazen thief. Together, they are raising three little ones and struggling to teach them balance between bravely raiding trash cans and secluding themselves in the dark ancient forest, fishing for survival as their father and his father before him had done for many generations back.

If you can’t find your own inner child, borrow a real one. If you need inspiration, go and spend the day with a kid and a refrigerator box. It is a wonderful remedy for any mental rut. If you want some real fun, ask the kid questions. Why does the sun do up there all day? How come the moon only comes out at night? Kids will amaze you with their answers and can provide you weeks worth of inspiration from just a few hours of interaction.

I spend a lot of time with my nephew now that I realize the full value of it. Whenever I need an idea for a new story or drawing, I can count on him to provide it. He, after all, was the inspiration for this article. He often brings me invisible gifts, carried to me carefully cupped in his hands. I always take the offered gift, thank him for it, and look it over while I wait for him to tell me what it is. Sometimes it’s his brother’s nose, sometimes it’s a horse, and every once in a while, he brings me troll poop.

The Change – Science Fiction for the kids

The Change

Harry Hanes was an average American teenager: a scrawny, girl crazy, school skipping troublemaker. He had a mess of reddish brown hair and light skin that had not been treated kindly by the onset of puberty. His voice was becoming squeaky and an army of rust colored hairs lurked just below the surface of his skin, waiting for the right moment to break free from their fleshy prison.

He thought to himself about the awkward embarrassment he would have to endure for the next few years while he went through puberty. Becoming a man was certainly appealing to him – as it was to most boys. The squeaky voice and possible pimples, however, put him off. His private wish on his 15th birthday was that he find a way to skip the awkward years altogether and go straight to the being a man part of his life.

It seemed like he was making good progress. As his appetite grew, so did his body. Lately his parents’ grocery bills had become ever-so-slightly inflated. Harry was eating about twice what he used to. Just last month he ate one egg, one slice of toast and a bowl of cereal before going to school. Now he ate three eggs, two slices of toast and a bowl of cereal – and sometimes he still got hungry an hour before lunch was served. Each day he would eat more than the previous.

Things continued on like this for nearly three months. His parents, friends, teachers and even the school bully were concerned about the once lanky kid’s size. The coach was now considering the newly bulked boy for the football team. The doctors were baffled by his sudden appetite. It could never be satisfied.

One day after school Harry disappeared. He’d become sluggish recently and complained of stomach cramps. He had also been doing a fair bit of sleeping. Days went by with no sign of Harry. Finally, friends, neighbors, his parents and yes, even the bully, were out looking for him. They didn’t find Harry but they did find one of the Eaton’s missing cows and a stray cat. That wasn’t all they found.

Two and one half weeks after the boy’s disappearance, a call came in to the police. A farmer two miles out of town (he had no idea who else to call) had discovered something terrifying in his barn. He wanted it investigated and removed immediately.

In the barn, the police discovered what could only be described as something from a horror movie. It was a shell of solidified, sticky, dark brown plastic-like flesh. The flesh was split down the middle and completely gutted. Strings of something slimy dripped from its’ edges, crisscrossing over the opening of the stinking skeleton. The strings of liquid were coated in dust and bugs (as was everything else in the barn). There were heavy tracks in the dust and straw that lead out to pasture. The police followed the tracks through the open double doors.

Outside they saw a man in the field. He was wearing nothing. He was light skinned, well muscled and sported a mop the color of rust. He sat Indian style in the grass, surrounded by corn husks and broken stalks. He was eating ear after ear of corn, voraciously. He did not seem to notice the officers – his interest in the juicy yellow and white kernels was intense. His eyes were glazed and his skin was sticky and glistened in the sunlight.

“Hey you!”

The officer called to the naked fellow.

“I’m so hungry.”

The words were barely understandable through hurried chewing. He looked to be twenty years old. At 6’2”, sporting a fine compliment of muscle and facial hair, it looked like Harry Hanes got his wish: he’d become a man.

Sometimes overeating can do more than make you fat.

Baby Mamma…

The Baby Mama

So I’ve noticed that in this modern day and age, young girls are being referred to as “Baby Mamas” rather than “Girlfriends” or “Wives”. As the casual, unconnected label implies, this leaves a lot of want in a relationship. Oftentimes men will have one “best girl” with whom they make children. They call her their “Baby Mama” but have others on the side. This, to me, is tragic and inspired this lyrical piece:

Image drawn by Desiree Joy (my sister) and colored by yours truely.


The Baby Mamma

The baby mama lives in drama,
Cries and lies and little lives.
Silky milk within her skin,
Dimes and diapers – fight again.
She tells herself she’s tired of men-
Only lonely, lost and hurt for friends,
Her quest for solace never ends-
The lines, the hurt that never mends.
She pays her bills and fills her cart
As desperation fills her heart-
Until the day she finally may
Stand on her own, alone and strong
And learn to sing the singles’ song.