Monday, June 30, 2008

The Old Man Who Likes to Kill Children

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He lived behind the school, my fellow first graders said. In the overgrown yard of trash and weeds, facing the play field. He was purple, had a shotgun, and picked off kids that got too close.
It seemed plausible. There was evidence. The distant jar lid was, in fact, a the badge of a hall monitor he cooked and ate. The sun bleached BBQ potato chip bag was the last meal of some careless kid. The doll's head? It wasn't really a doll...!
A scaly, gall infested tree guarded his fortress. It had a menacing scowl and a sap oozing eye that glinted in the sun. A rusty barbecue stood in the distance, waiting to smoke the next victim.
We'd sneak up to the yard in groups, looking for evidence. Looking for him.
"There he is!" someone would shriek. Or perhaps "I see his gun!"
Everyone screamed. Everyone ran. We'd escaped serious peril. Fooled him again!
I reported him to the yard duty ladies. A purple kid snatcher! They didn't believe me. At the time, I couldn't understand why.

9 comments:

GhostBuild said...

Egad, that's terrifying! I'd be paralyzed in utter fear to hear that story at such an age.

Hmm... now you've got me curious. What happened to that nasty field with all of the Purple Man's implements of death?

stray g said...

I think it might be fun for all of us to do Lynda's writing exercises together: our own class.... I'll email her assistant in case she wants to be involved; otherwise we can try on our own. After my show.

Namowal said...

Hi Ghostbuild,
Nice to hear from you again! :)
As scary as he was, he also gave us a sense of control. We could get close... ...and escape each time!
As for his creepy yard, it's been cleaned up (probably new owners). Even the scary tree lost its scariness.

Hi Stray g,
That sounds fun! I'm in!

Linda said...

that sap oozing eye that glinted in the sun--YECHHHHHHH! Run!!!

Namowal said...

Hi Linda,
It was a creepy place, even at noon.
I wonder if the current owners of the property have any idea it was part of playground lore.

Sally said...

I thought about this for a while. I think it's related to the psychological need of children for scary fairytales.

My sister picked out two hermit ladies in our town. One lived by the river in a shack, and another next to a fenced trail in an unpainted run down Victorian. Both were witches who liked to eat children. EEEK!!RUN!!

The more contemporary dressing of your child eater, with barbecue pit and gun, adds to the scariness, certainly.

Namowal said...

I think you're on to something, Sally. When I wrote this I kept thinking about how the purple man was a lot like the witch from Hansel and Gretel.
Sure enough, your sister knew that the hermit ladies snatched and ate kids. I bet kids have been entertaining/scaring themselves with these characters for a long, long time.

Sally said...

Dinah and her next door neighbor concocted a scary monster out of the audio recording of "Tubby the Tuba."

You couldn't even say the words "Tubby the Tuba" without them both running screaming from the room. It never made sense to us.

Namowal said...

Dinah and her friend discovered a "Tubby the Tuba" monster? That's hilarious. Then again, a imagined monster from a kiddie song (or story) could be a sinister thing: imagine the kid next door telling you she heard spooky tuba sounds from the closet at night..