One doesn’t have to look far for creative inspiration these days. The news is full of things so fantastical that a headline and first paragraph – fewer than a hundred words together – are sufficient to set my mind down a new, possibly disturbing path.
But nothing, and I mean nothing, spins me off my mental orbit like the stories my son tells. He’s four. At one, he was barely concerned with the objects in the room around him. At two, anything bright or loud (or fragile) caught his eye, but only for a minute. At three, his goal every day was to do the opposite of what he was asked. He’s now four, and learning the fundamentals of the world around him.
This is how the world works, according to my son:
- Days are divided into two types: weekdays, which consist of terrible routines and rituals such as having to wake at dawn, eat gruel, put on a tattered suit of clothing and slave away at day care, and; weekends, during which all waking hours are sunny, the answer to the question “do you want to play?” is always yes, and we get to eat crème brulee for every meal.
- Vampires, or “bampliers” as he pronounces it (this is obviously the traditional spelling), run rampant through Alaska. Disclaimer: he has never read my books, and I have not spoken to him about them, so he came up with this on his own. These bampliers wreak havoc nightly, doing things like stealing sandwiches meant for small children and putting small dings in windshields…the devious bastards!
- The city is responsible for cleaning the mold off the street signs, and they do a very poor job of it. I’ve yet to determine what “mold” he’s speaking of, but he points it out often, making me think he has developed a sixth sense specific to some kind of invasive fungus, invisible to the masses.
- Municipal services – other than the mold squad – are run by omnipotent robots. Waste management comes because we put our trash out. Their sensitive trash radars pick up the disturbance in the Force that is regularly-spaced household rubbish on the curb, causing them to deploy drones to remove this sanitation concern. I’m waiting for the day he concludes that the utility robots have decided to eliminate the cause of the trash rather than remediate it, thus (re)inventing Skynet.
- Sharks are not to be trusted.
I used to humor him when he told stories. Then I participated in the discussions, encouraging him to build and expand on his ideas. Now I’m freaking taking notes. So when my next series, about our hygienic robot overlords and their thug-pires and shark guardians kicks off, don’t be surprised.