The Goon Squad
Growing up is scary. There are so many urban legends to learn, so many new creatures to fear. The boogeyman. Medusa. Ghosts. Vampires. Brooding vampires. Robert Pattinsons.
There seem to be monsters everywhere. Monsters in the closet. Monsters under the bed. "Monsters, Inc." As if learning about all of these fearsome foes weren't enough, your peers play into the fright.
For my little brother, the scariest scare of all came when he learned of Bloody Mary. To summon Bloody Mary, you must turn off the lights, stand in front of a mirror and say her name as you spin three times. On the third time, the spirit will leap out of the mirror and murder you -- or at least that is how the urban legend was told to me. And that was how I told it to my little brother when he was a mere kindergartener. To play into the fun (torture?) of spreading the word of the ghost, I made my little brother hold my hand and go through the act of spinning and saying her name. Bloody Mary never jumped out of the mirror. I knew she wouldn't. I was in fifth grade, after all. But I needed to sell the idea, so every time I turned on the lights, I pointed out a new cut or scar on my body -- ones I had earned playing on the jungle gym -- and claimed they were wounds at the hands of the ghost. For years after this day in the bathroom, my little brother was terrified of the dark. And mirrors.
Kids are jerks. And having been one of those jerk kids myself, I knew it was only a matter of time until someone told my son of the evil that lurks beneath his bed or in the dark. Every kid has that first monster that makes him question his own safety in the world. For my brother, it was Bloody Mary. For some kids, it is werewolves or witches. For other kids, it's ghosts and goblins. For my 3-year-old son, it was Little Bunny Foo Foo.
Yes, Little Bunny Foo Foo, that rascally rabbit most known for scooping up field mice and bopping them on the head.
In the story, Little Bunny Foo Foo is turned into a goon after refusing to listen and continuing to knock rodents on the noggin. After being read the bunny book for the first time in his preschool class, my son fell into a frenzied crying fit, terrified that he would be turned into a goon. Kids aren't the only ones who can be jerks. Apparently, feeding into the fear, the teacher told my son that if he didn't listen to her, he, too, would be goon-ified. Having the track record he does in the listening department, my kid was rightfully terrified.
For the next few nights, he talked incessantly and obsessively about not wanting to be turned into a goon. The mention of Little Bunny Foo Foo had him running for cover. No matter how many times I assured him that no such goon-ification could befall him, my son was certain that a magic wand would be his undoing. So in a moment of desperation, I told him that if his teacher or anyone else were to use a magic wand to turn him into anything other than my sweet boy, I would grab my magic wand and turn him right back.
To which my son said, "You have a magic wand?"
I did not. But I did have Amazon Prime. Two-day shipping and a wand could be mine.
My son was not thrilled with the idea of waiting. He was tired from not sleeping the past few nights, as was I. There would have to be another way to procure a magic wand.