Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Chapter 1 - The Man In The Golden Mask
Welcome to Hairy Doodle's Breakfastverse, a multisensual mythological Internet narrative. You will get to follow along as the men and women behind Hairy Doodle pour all of their creative powers into constructing an imaginary universe. A universe not that different from our shared one. One a little smaller, and perhaps a little stranger on its surface but one less complete, sort of a training wheels version of our shared Universe. You can explore the Hairy Doodle Breakfastverse over coffee every morning and then return to the shared Universe a little bit better equipped for your journey through it. So before I explain all the fun away we'll get started.
Our story begins at a breakfast table perhaps like the one you're enjoying at this moment. Well, whether you're at a sunny breakfast table or at a desk under fluorescent lights it doesn't change the one in the story. At this particular breakfast table a boy at the age of twelve is eating cereal from a small plastic bowl. The bowl was once faithfully molded in the shape of a popular cartoon turtle but its many trips through the dishwasher have left the colors faded and worn and the surface slightly warped.
The morning sun is shining through sheer curtains above the kitchen sink. The sink has two basins. One side is filled seemingly beyond its threshold with washed dishes perilously stacked on top of one another. Gravity and the walls of the basin work together as a magical invisible glue keeping this pile of glass, porcelain, stainless steel, and plastic together. The other basin smells like a poorly tended fruit stand. The trap is filled with pineapple skins, tiny bits of grape vines, orange peels, and cherry pits, leftovers from the fruit salad the boy's grandmother made for her weekly game of pinochle the night before.
The boy looks up from his bowl's crooked turtle smile to the pile of dishes to see the tangerine light slip through the curtains, refract through the drinking glasses, shimmer off the aluminum pots, bounce off the white porcelain dishes and finally sink into the grain of the kitchen's pine cabinets.
The boy's melancholy is, for a short moment, interrupted and replaced by that most beautiful sensation, wonder. Wonder, a feeling that always accompanies viewing a scene of mysterious beauty which an hour after sunrise this kitchen always is.
Slightly frightened by such an extreme feeling so early in his day the young boy represses it. He looks down back at the bits of grain and sugar suspended in the two percent homogenized milk slowly swirling in the cavity where the plastic turtle's guts should be. The poor turtle just smiles its crooked smile as it stares up at the ceiling, helpless having been flipped over on the back of its shell. The boy prefers this scene at the moment. He doesn't want to let the feeling of wonder energize him. He wants to remain a human slug excreting an emotionally toxic ooze just to spite his mother, who has just entered the kitchen softly humming her favorite tune, 'Cielito Lindo'.
His mother is an energetic woman who wakes up at dawn and greets the day as if it were a benevolent, all powerful, space traveler who arrives on Earth to personally give her some magical gift. However, she isn't a tyrannical woman who expects her son to share this admirable trait. She's soft on her son, many of her friends have told her she spoils her son but she unfortunately has never been able to fall out of love with him. Every time she looks at him she still sees in her mind's eye a tiny, pink and purple, mucus-covered copy of the best parts of herself.
Even though the prescription on her maternal love goggles is still strong she is still willing to perform the unwanted duty of ushering the boy from his serene dream world to the dystopian dream world of Troy Middle School.
"Finish up your cereal, sweetheart," she says in a whisper as she softly kisses the boy on the crown of his head. The boy lets out a fake sigh the kind he uses to let anybody who may be eavesdropping know that while his mother may love him he is his own man and not a wimpy mama's boy.
"I have to take the dog to the groomers after I drop you off at school and I can't be late this time."
Of course she could be late. The dog would be groomed whether she arrived five, ten, or fifty minutes late, but she is a punctual woman and proud of it. She imagines, wrongly, that everyone she does business with manages her time with such precision. This often leads to misunderstandings, like her last trip to the dog groomers.
She arrived several minutes late and received a look from the receptionist that she mistook as a harsh judgement of her character. The 'look' was in fact just the receptionist's eye twitching involuntary caused by fatigue from having stayed out too late the night before. She had spent most of the night in constant anticipation of a kiss from a man who she feared thought she was unattractive. She did have abnormally wide hips and thick lips after all. Sadly for her, the kiss never arrived. She went home and spent the rest of the night worrying about her appearance or uncomfortably sleeping with her eyebrows tightly knit and dreaming about worrying about her appearance.
The boy interrupts his mothers worrying, "Hey, Mom, I had that dream again last night. I woke up all sweaty." The boy mimes wiping his head with his forearm. He knew he could delay the car ride to school with a story about his dream. He was smart enough to know that his mother is a sucker for his stories. She is of course. She cherishes these glimpses into her beloved son's psyche.
"I was soaked. This time the guy in the gold mask was smiling and he had a big bump sticking out of his forehead. And I could see all these shapes and they were colored blue and pink. I say they were blue and pink but they would flash other colors too sometimes. And they would move in a big spiral like this,' he slowly traced a circle in the air with his finger, "And the shapes didn't look real. They weren't like boxes or anything they looked flat."
The boys mood improves in small increments as he continues to recall his dream. He can no longer pretend to be a slug.
"You know what they looked like. They looked like those colored windows in church except kind of floating not in a wall or anything."
"Stained glass", his mom interjects.
"What?", he asks.
"Stained glass windows", she corrects.
"Oh right. Yeah, stained glass windows. And you know what else? This time I could see the eye of this great big lizard but it looked like the moon because the lizard was so big it looked like the sky. The eye was black and shiny like an eight ball and it was huge. I was so scared because I couldn't hide anywhere from it. I wasn't standing on the ground or anything but I wasn't floating and there weren't any rocks or trees I could hide behind. And then the lizard eye started blinking and the guy with the gold mask started talking to me. I couldn't figure out what he was saying but he sounded just like grandpa well he sounded like grandpa if grandpa was a robot. Everything... he... said... sounded... like... this...", he was convulsing with outstretched hands like Frankenstein's monster having a seizure.
Her face cracks a small smile at his dramatic performance and even though the boy had started the story as a bluff his face now shows sincere emotion one that is both enthusiastic and fearful.
"Well grandpa will probably want to know that he's actually a robot," she says. She knows she can stop one of her son's stories by short circuiting his brain with a confusing remark. "Give me your bowl. Put on your jacket. C'mon."
The boy lost in the thought of what a conversation with a robotic grandpa who doesn't know he's a robot would be like obeys his mother dutifully. He puts on his jacket and without having to be told grabs his backpack and walks out the door to the car.