Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bedtime Stories for Weird Kids: The 15th Charm

Gappa sighed. He’d made fifteen tries in the past ten years. Fifteen. “This kid,” he said. “Has got to make it.”

He hated being part of a pantheon where the trickster god had been successfully chained. His fellow gods were such spoil-sports.

But maybe this kid would do it. Smart enough to release him but not so smart she figured out it wouldn’t work in her favor to do so.

Any child old enough to understand has special toys. Usually just one or two.

Maxie had twelve.

She had a tenuous hold on the English language, so it would be futile to ask her why those twelve were so special.

Like many children, she had a great number of toys so her parents never wondered why she had twelve odd ones. They did wonder whether her attachment to them was normal, but they let it slide.

The one she called Gop whispered to her from time to time. Her questionable English skills didn’t pose a problem. Gop didn’t speak English.

He told her something very much like this: “Take all the other special toys and put them in the dog’s cage. Lock the door, rub all their heads, and call their names.”

Maxie had intelligence. Quite a lot of it too, but her attention span hadn’t gelled yet.

By the time she had all the toys out of the room, her mother noticed her and put her down for a nap.

Maxie dreamed about big, big, BIG monsters made of stone and metal. They pounded the ground with their feet and made her giggle. When she woke, she took all of the special toys and put them into the dog’s cage. She put Gop in the cage too.

She rubbed their little heads one by one, “Pazzsha! Bo-po! Meela! Koucha! Dannu! Yeye! Tuntun! Geela! Hazchu! Ippy! Poga! … Gop!

The major gods of a pantheon you’ve never heard of all appeared in the crate. The family dog weighed roughly 60 lbs. His crate could uncomfortably accommodate perhaps one incarnated god.

Maxie shrieked with delight. “Bombom!”

The gods argued amongst themselves.

“This is all your doing, isn’t it, Gappa?” asked the creator goddess.

“Probably,” Gappa answered.

“You are probably the worst trickster god I’ve ever heard of! You managed to be tricked by a three year old!”

“C’mon, kid, let me out.”

“No!” Maxie said.

“She sounds like she’s made up her mind,” Gappa said.

“She’s an infant,” the god of war said.

The goddess of lumpy fruit scoffed. “That doesn’t mean anything. Infants can be very single minded between naps. And I don’t feel like waiting for her next nap to finish. Besides, I think someone has their toe in my ear.” She shook her head and bit wildly in the general vicinity of the offending foot.

“Do we really need a goddess of lumpy fruit?” Gappa asked. “I’ve never heard of any other pantheon with—”

“Yes, we do,” muttered the god of soiled nappies.

Maxie laughed at the gods but grew weary of their bickering. She stuck a finger at them, curled her lips, and grunted, “Ha!”

The creator goddess sighed. “Give her what she wants.”

She hadn’t said it to other gods but to the substance of the universe. Which was, in hindsight, probably not the best move she ever made.

The gods of the forgotten pantheon made for very imaginative—if grumpy—playmates.

Gappa, her most favorite at all, seemed especially grumpy.


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