I just discovered BlogHer. I’m a little late to the party, as a contest kicked off on November 1st to coincide with NaNoWriMo. It’s called NaBloPoMo. A blog post a day. With a prize of admission to the BlogHer Conference ’16 in Los Angeles. What a coinkidink! I’m a native Angelino! Um? Not sure I can do this, but shit… I’ll try. I’ll EVEN use the writing prompt for November 6th: What was your biggest fear as a child? And did that fear carry over into adulthood? We’ll make it a Tales from the Dork Side, eh? On with it!
My biggest fear as a child is the very same thing as my biggest fear as an adult. It’s not public speaking, or peeing my pants in public (at home is okay, I guess), or being chased with spiders. It isn’t even choking on coffee at a restaurant and having it spray out of my nose onto my breakfast companion’s huevos rancheros.
It’s fucking ventriloquist dummies. What kind of sick punk would invent those things? I’ll TELL you what kind of sick punk would invent those things: Someone who hates children and kittens. I threw in kittens for good measure (children are a given) because kitten-haters are probably really big ventriloquist dummy fans. And ventriloquist dummy fans undoubtedly hate children. Why else would they invent them? TO SCARE CHILDREN. And to eat kittens.
Once upon a time, my brother, Chris, made me watch the Twilight Zone. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so scratch that Twilight Zone sentence and don’t think about it yet. This is the brother who told me Chippy Stories, in which Chippy the Chipmunk visited all sorts of wonderful TV places like Gilligan’s Island, The Munster’s house, and the Brady Bunch. It was fun times, a bedtime story every night. I’m not really sure why he took a turn for the dark side and started telling me other stories like how there was a witch outside my bedroom window waiting to chop off my head. Or that one where the heads the witch had already cut off of small children and large men alike were rolling around the neighborhood, and there might be some rolling across my bedroom floor sometimes. This caused me to jump from my doorway to my bed every single night to avoid stepping on them and contaminating my feet.
It only escalated from there. One night Mom and Dad went out, and my other siblings were who knows where, so we were home alone. Chris kindly drew me a bath so he could tell Mom and Dad he actually babysat instead of just watching shit on TV and letting me run wild. I was seven. I hated baths and everything about them. Until I got in. Then it was all playtime and seeing how much of the bathroom I could drench by sliding from back to front to back to create tidal waves that slopped over the sides and flooded the room. But anyway…
So, yeah, I was in the bath making tidal waves, and suddenly the lights went out. I thought the small child’s version of “WTF?”, and called out for my brother. Chris didn’t answer. I sat there totally still so the water would stop moving and I might be able to hear stuff outside the bathroom door. No sounds. I sat still for about a year and a half (in kid time) before I finally I heard something. Footsteps outside the bathroom window. Then something started scratching at the bathroom wall from the outside, and it wasn’t Chris, because I called out for Chris again, and nobody answered because he was probably dead.
And there was a dripping sound. I figured it might be blood dripping from Chris’s severed head being held up to the bathroom window for me to get an idea of exactly what was going to happen to me next. But then I figured out it was just the bathtub faucet. But his head was probably still off. And the scratching continued, and then it stopped for a minute, so I stepped my little drippy naked butt (not that my butt was drippy, but my body in general, though my butt SHOULD have been drippy from fear at that point) out of the bath, opened the door slowly, stuck my head out to either look around or have it lopped off. It was dark out in the hallway, too, and I had to inch slowly down the hall to avoid slipping. I finally made it out to the living room, hoping that I wouldn’t trip over Chris’s body.
And then the lights went on.
And I was standing there naked with Chris pointing at me from outside the window where the breaker box was, laughing his dumb ass off at me. And I started crying. And guess he felt bad, because he came in and brought me a towel and my pajamas, and put me on the couch with some graham crackers and milk so we could watch TV together.
The Twilight Zone. Not so bad. The other episodes I’d seen up until that point in my childhood were fairly benign: To Serve Man, Number Twelve Looks Just Like You, The Parallel, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet… weird, but not terrifying. This stuff didn’t scare me. I was used to decapitated heads between my bed and doorway, so these were child’s play. But what the shit was this?? Caesar and Me. OMFG. This Irish ventriloquist can’t find work, and his dummy suggests (his DUMMY suggests) he start robbing banks. So he robs some banks and gets caught and decides the dummy is a jerk for COMING ALIVE AND TALKING NONSENSE, and he locks it in a box and gets a New and Improved Non-Alive Dummy (this is how I remember it, but Wiki says it isn’t so). When he can’t find his nice dummy, he goes to the box to get Caesar, but the NICE dummy is in there all dead (even though he was never alive) and Caesar is BEHIND him laughing his little plastic butt off. He somehow sends the Irish ventriloquist dude to jail for robbery (because Caesar won’t talk to the police to lie and say he’s innocent, obviously, because he’s a dummy), and run away with a little girl named Susan. But I don’t remember how Susan’s story went down, and I don’t care because it doesn’t count.
What does count? CAESAR WAS ALIVE AND MUCH, MUCH SCARIER THAN SEVERED HEADS. And Chris thought that was funny. Funny, funny, ha ha. And from then on he called me into the room whenever that episode was on TV. Even when I was, like, 25. And I have never recovered.
I used to love to browse the Magic Shop on Main Street at Disneyland. Until recently, when Vin pointed out that there are dummies on a shelf near the ceiling. YOU JUST RUINED THE MAGIC SHOP, and my childhood. Vinnnnn.
Then there was this one time I had to run down Hollywood Boulevard and trip over vagrants ,pushing furries and hookers aside to make an escape. Because? Misha and I had been happily window shopping when she said to me, “Hey, Kat.. isn’t that one of those things you’re afraid of?”, and I looked, and walking behind us was some dude with his arm up his dummy’s ass making it smile and laugh at me, so I left really fast.
And also? My mom took me to the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach when I was 16-ish. We were watching a Renaissance-style magic show, and it was freakin’ hilarious! Until they brought out a dummy. In which case I cried a little and ran off to hide behind something to start my “cigarettes for stress relief” addiction. Dummies make you smoke and cry.
I don’t know how to end stories, so I just write The End a lot.
The End again.
Psst! Remind me to tell you about the time Chris cut his nose off to scare me. Just throwing that in here even though it’s completely unrelated, because that’s how I roll. See what I did there? Heads? Roll? Never mind. No connection. The End.