My sister-in-law has a bun in the oven. This marks the end of my son being the only grandchild. It will be a hard fall from the spotlight . . . . Actually, I think he’ll take it fine. HOWEVER, there is an opportunity for drama here and I’d be remiss if I didn’t take it.
SCENE: A playroom, building-block castle in view.
Kazoo fanfare. Enter KING IGNATIUS, Only grandchild, dressed in floral bed-sheet cape and paper crown. He is accompanied by ONE-LEGGED BUZZ LIGHTYEAR
DOLL ACTION FIGURE.
MOM (off stage)
Iggy! I need you to get dressed so we can go. (pause) And wash your face!
Not all the water in the rough rude sea
Can wash the filth off from a proper boy king.
Buzz Lightyear to Star Command. I have an AWOL Space Ranger.
MOM (still off stage)
Discomfortable Lightyear! know’st thou not
That when the searching eye of mother is hid,
I will take thy other leg for being a snitch?
MOM (off stage)
Put your toys away! I tripped on this!
Enter Woody Doll, tossed from off stage.
Mine ear is open and my heart prepared;
The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold.
Say, is my kingdom lost to another child?
Somebody’s poisoned the water hole!
Too well, too well thou tell’st a tale so ill.
Where is my red fire truck? where is G.I Joe?
What is become of my dad? where was Mom?
That they have let the dangerous enemy
Measure our confines with such peaceful steps?
If we prevail, their heads shall pay for it:
I warrant they have made peace with the new kid.
You’re my favorite deputy!
Hurry up! We’re going to see the new baby.
No matter where—of comfort no kid speak:
Let’s talk of dirt, of worms, and Legomen;
Scribble our papers, and with crossed eyes
Pull faces at the little girl next door;
Let’s choose executors and talk of wills.
And yet not so—for what can we bequeath
Save our broken playthings to the ground?
Our sweets, our toys, and all are the new kid’s,
And nothing can we call our own but mud;
And that chewed Froot Loop from this breakfast
Which serves as paste and cover to our hair.
“For God’s sake!” shouts Mom, “Sit upon the ground!
And tell sad stories of why you can’t just eat your breakfast like a normal person!”
How some have been punish’d, some in time-out,
Some haunted by the ghosts of tattle-tales,
Some poisoned by broccoli, some sleeping forced,
All humbled—for within the cardboard crown
That rounds the temples of a burger king
Keeps Mischief his court, and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at poop jokes,
Allowing him at church, to cause a scene,
To monarchize, be fear’d, and shock grandmas;
Infusing kids with self and vain conceit
As if the flesh which walls about their bums
Were brass impregnable; and, humour’d thus
Dad, at his limit, with angry shout,
Bores thorough this castle wall, and farewell king!
Cover your heads, and mock not Father’s rage;
With solemn reverence; throw away that stick,
Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty;
For you have but mistook me all this while.
I live on snacks like you, feel want,
Taste my own boogers and need naps—subjected thus,
How can you say to me, I am a king?
Are you saying you want to lodge a complaint with Star Command?