Children of Imagination

Shoo Boo
I had a weird dream last night. It all came of eating too many chocolate malt balls, playing too much Shoo Boo, and thinking too hard about the strange case of the four-year-old boy who was found all by himself in their apartment with his dead mother last week. Poor kid, he was naked except for one sneaker, starving and dehydrated. What struck me as odd about the story was that offers to adopt him were pouring in from all over the country. Massive numbers of offers. I said to Harold, don't these people realize how damaged the kid is? I wouldn't undertake to raise him without a master's degree in child psychology. Harold said, they admire him. The kid has a lot of grit. And people want children.

The Kettles' House
In my dream I was hiking in the mountains. I stopped at a house like the house where Ma and Pa Kettle used to live in the movies, cars up on blocks, chickens running around the yard. The lady of the house, a fat lady in a flowered house dress, pushed a baby carriage at me and said, "Here. Take them." Inside the carriage were a four-year-old boy and an infant girl. The boy smiled at me in a wise-acre way. I began to struggle down the hill with the carriage. "I hope Harold won't mind," I thought. It was dawning on me that these children were an enormous responsibility.

Suddenly I noticed that the baby was gone. "Where is your sister?" I said to the boy. He smiled. "I pushed her out." The poor little thing was lying back on the trail in her christening dress. I picked her up. Her skull was cracked. I put her over my shoulder to comfort her. Babies feel so good, even when you're worried about them.

Back at my own house at last, I found places for the children to take naps and tried to explain to Harold why I had undertaken to raise them for the next twenty years. The little boy turned into a fox terrier. He jumped up on the table and ate our lunch. The doorbell rang. I went to answer it. There stood Parnell Hall, smiling affably. He had forgotten my name.

And so it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut would say. Maybe it was a metaphor for my literary career. It's entirely possible that playing Shoo Boo is making me blind. I know the malt balls are making me fat. If you would like to play Shoo Boo, here's a link:

Kate Gallison