battle dressed for bed
You have to admire the logic of children. It’s usually a lot more reasonable than most of us give them credit for. Let’s look at monsters for example.
When I was a kid I knew for certain that monsters didn’t exist from sunrise until about 10 or 11 pm. I knew it for certain and nobody could convince me otherwise. On the other hand, if my parents asked me to run down into the basement and grab something for them after the normal television viewing hours had concluded I looked at it as nothing short of a death sentence if i walked down there unarmed.
Here is where the interesting logical part of being a child came into play. Monsters didn’t exist but if they did then others things that didn’t must also exist. Or at least be different than they appear during normal daylight hours.
For instance my Nerf gun. If monsters did indeed exist than my Nerf gun must be a Smith & Wesson Deathmaster 450X, spitting out a combination of hot lead and anti-matter.
Following me so far?
I would walk down the stairs knowing monsters didn’t exist and feeling complete terror but at the same time confident that the Nerf gun in my hand shot only little Nerf bullets unless monsters did exist at which time I was positive that at the appropriate time it would blast out hail of scorching lasers and send whatever was lurking in the closet straight back to hell.
To walk in both worlds simultaneously is something that only a child can do.
Obviously my parents must have thought it cute that I would hesitate when the request was made and then nonchalantly grab my weapon before starting the trek downstairs. They existed in only one place, the world were monsters don’t exist and they enjoyed sending their offspring on silly errands for the simple joy of seeing them face their own inner demons.
As soon as my little hand touched the doorknob 2 distinct realities popped into existence. My one-piece Scooby Doo pajamas with the feet on them in one, black boots, camo pants and torn white muscleshirt in the other. The distant sound of the evening news coming on in one and the buzzing of helicopters over a soundtrack of All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendricks in the other.
2 kids making their way the same stairs; the helpful son grabbing a screwdriver for his Dad and earth’s last hope for survival.
The parents listening heard only 1 of them slowly making his way down, the opening of the tool chest situated at the other end of the basement and then, finally, the sound of little feet tearing ass up the stairs in a way that made them sure that he would be unable to slow down in time and keep running straight through the opposite wall.
Except for that one time. The time that the sound of the tool chest was instead followed by the almost-imperceptible noise of a light switch at the top of the stairs being turned off by a father who thought it would be funny to see how his son reacted.
“They’re coming straight for you!” screamed my headset as my fingers fumbled to release the safety of my Deathmaster 450X. I laid down suppression fire best as I could as I tried to make it behind the couch before the real shit started. The closet door swung open violently and in the darkness I could see the glowing red eye, smell the foul stench of their breath and hear their cloven hooves as they launched themselves at me. The grenade launcher attachment sent off a few of the concussion variety and soon the carpeting was littered with teeth and scales. I felt them circling behind me so with a burst of profanity I rolled forward and made a break for it. Suddenly I saw a shaft of light and realized that one of my parents had opened the door at the top of stairs. They had no idea what awaited them only a few yards away so I ran for stairs. I ran until my lungs were about to burst and I covered those 12 feet in record time.
That’s when I saw it. Lurching up the stairs towards the outline of my Dad. All horns and bad intentions. I couldn’t risk using my flamethrower but a miss from my 450X could be a 1-way ticket to oblivion for my old man. I had to risk it. My finger squeezed the trigger at the same instant my Dad must have flipped the light switch back on.
Monster brains suddenly erupted and covered his horrified face as the twitching and trembling beast collapsed at his feet. He looked down and saw me kneeling with my still-smoking weapon clutched in my blood-soaked hands and for a moment his eyes met mine and then his finger flicked involuntarily and plunged the stairway back into darkness. Almost as quickly it flicked again, I’ll never be sure how voluntarily, and once again the light popped on and I sat there in my Scooby Doo pajamas with the feet in the them and he stood there with a face completely devoid of monster brains. He never thanked me for what could have never actually happened.
Yep, kids certainly have a different way of seeing the world. Or worlds. The logical and the illogical, the real and the unreal and the place where both exist simultaneously. My Dad and I never spoke of that night but he never asked me to go into the basement or the closet or the woods or attic or the garage after dark again.
It’s almost a shame actually, such a waste of firepower.