Of course, Tommy Tucker would take it too far.
We were the suave, the enigmas, international men of mystery. We belonged to the shadowy world of secret agents, secret double agents, and secret secret double double agents. I crept my way along the lounge – I mean “secret lair” – as Doctor McDoom’s bomb ticked-tocked its way to nuclear armageddon.
“Rice Krispies?” asked Mrs Tucker.
“No thank-you,” I said, eager than this innocent leave McDoom’s lair of death.
“Milk?” she persisted.
“Mum!” wailed Tommy. “You’re interrupting!”
“Oh… I’m interrupting,” she said, stepping on the head of a laser shark. Her innocence protected her from seeing its deep, dark, terrible jaws. Only my quick thinking and a karate-chop saved her. The fearsome shark closed its eyes as it went to sleep with the fishes. “Well, I’m off to Yoga. You boys have fun.”
“You’re still interrupting!” wailed Tommy, but it was already too late. She’d left.
“Let’s do something else,” wailed Tommy, this time at me.
“We’re saving the world from Doctor McDoom, remember?”
“Do you want to see a monster?” he persisted.
He did that, a lot. Wail then persist. Wail then persist harder.
I rolled my eyes, flipping the light switch – I mean “deactivate the nuclear bomb” – saving the world from a fiery death. “Sure,” I sighed. “Let’s go see a monster.”
“You don’t believe me,” he said, crossing his arms.
“Of course I believe you. You have a monster hiding under your bed.”
“It’s in my closet,” he muttered, crossing his arms even tighter.
Tommy’s bedroom was a cross between a toy store and a recycling centre. It always looked to me as though Mickey and Donald had a wild night and drank hundreds of bottles of gatorade. Goofy’s arm poked out from under an avalanche of discarded rubbish. “It’s over there,” said Tommy, smiling that weird triumphant smile of his.
“Oh no, there is a terrible monster in the closet. Here I come to get you, Mr Big Scary Monster. Looking in closets is so much more fun than saving the world.”
I remember opening the closet. I remember the feel of the wooden handle and there being a few bottles of gatorade under my feet. Something – I mean, “someone” – looked up from the back of the closet. It was drinking a bottle of gatorade and eating the head of a Power Ranger. I remember it staring at me with hungry glowing green eyes and scaley purple skin and asking, “Do you want to play a game, little human?”
“Isn’t he cool?” said Tommy, his triumphant smile even wider than it was before.
I remember muttering something about homework and dinner before disappearing out the door and away from Tommy and his closet.
I wandered through the deserted suburban streets, vowing to myself to never play make believe again.