I have spent many hours warning my children about strangers. We have the Berenstain Bears book about stranger danger. I have warned them repeatedly that adults who say they are looking for a puppy are really looking for a child to cut up and cook in a pot. Ok, so I have an overactive imagination, but the point is, we talk about strangers.
Today, the goddess was playing with a couple of buddies in the front yard, Nancy’s son W. and Gina’s daughter, the czarina. Gina and I were sitting in the kitchen, methodically eating the contents of my pantry and commisserating about PMS weight gain, when the front door crashed open.
“Jennifer,” W. called out, “a stranger in a car just drove by.” I immediately got up, prepared to confront the vile child predator stalking them, when he added “and he WAVED at me.”
I have to admit, that decreased my sense of urgency, but I went ahead outside to check the situation. The girls were lying in the grass, evidently trying to blend into the lawn. Since they were, respectively, wearing purple and black, it wasn’t working.
“Mommy,” the goddess called, “we saw a STRANGER!!!”
“What did he do?” I asked.
“He waved at us,” W. answered cheerfully, “and then we called him a stupid poo poo head.” They dissovled into giggles.
“Well, next time, don’t call him anything because he may decide to come and get you,” I warned them darkly. I then gave them a refresher course on what to do if a car should stop, then I went back inside.
A few minutes later, the czarina came in to get some water and she told us “We’re having stranger practice.” She finished her water and wandered back outside.
I looked at Gina. “Ok, I have to know how you have stranger practice,” I said, getting up again. She followed me and we went to the front door. Unfortunately, the goddess caught sight of us and frowned heavily, so we moved to a window to watch.
Apparently, it was W’s turn to be the stranger. This involved manipulating the scary vampire that had been hanging off the front porch rail, waiting to by hung in a tree. He looked a little like this:
The goddess and the czarina pretended to be playing innocently in the front yard. I am not making this up. The goddess pretended to be jumping rope and the czarina was doing a sort of weird skipping thing. I looked at Gina in exasperation.
“Normal children play hide and seek,” I said. “Our children play stranger practice!!!”
The stranger glided menacingly up the hill toward his unsuspecting victims. The victims continued to jump rope and skip and hop and generally act like a couple of doofuses (doofi??). Suddenly the stranger swooped in and attacked the goddess. She fell backwards to the ground, eyes wide with horror. As the stranger swung in the air around her, she karate kicked him repeatedly until he finally admitted defeat. The czarina watched placidly from her resting spot on the ground where she had thrown herself when the stranger approached.
With the stranger dispatched, the goddess wanted her turn as stranger. A scuffle ensued between she and W, but she eventually wrested the stranger away from him and headed down the hill. W and the czarina began the fake play weirdness, pretending to be innocent children.
The stranger zeroed in on the czarina first and she fell to the ground. The stranger swooped in the air around her and she gave a few feeble kicks and then expired. By now Gina and I were laughing hysterically and my twelve year old daughter had also wandered in to watch the show. It was way better than anything on Disney Channel.
With the czarina dead, the stranger turned to W and stalked toward him. W fell to the ground and began kicking a lot more energetically and soon he and the goddess were engaged in a life and death struggle with the stranger, or for the stranger, as the case may be. Then it happened, something so horrifying it pains me to blog it here: THE STRANGER’S HEAD CAME RIGHT OFF HIS SHOULDERS!!!!
Gina and I immediately began howling with laughter. The kids couldn’t see us, but I could see, even from a distance, the look of panic on the goddess’s face. She and W began trying to stuff the stranger’s head back on, but it was no use. He was well and truly decapitated. About that time, she looked up and made eye contact with me and realized that I knew her secret. It’s no surprise she saw us, since we were laughing loudly enough to set off seismographs.
The stranger game broke up after that. It’s hard to take the stranger seriously when he is nothing but a black cape on a string, his head lying in the yard a few feet away. The czarina went home and the goddess and W started playing something else. But for today, we can rest safely in our beds, knowing the stranger has been vanquished. I need to make sure I get his head out of the front yard before the lawn guys come next week!