I learned that the post was a joke only when I asked Mike if he seriously ran into a rabid badger (!!) on his hike. Ohh... I thought when he told me, feeling like a total loser. Well that's too bad, I told him, because there definitely should be more books for kids about death. (Books like The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, which my friend Jen, a therapist, lent me after I shared, with her, this horrendous "conversation" I had with Jules.) Mike informed me that a lion slaughtering a child was not really this sort of book.
|©2012 Michael J. Balzano|
Read the story at drawdling.wordpress.com
But then... then... tonight at bedtime, as I stepped in to finish a story that Jon started for Jules, about an explorer who steps off a boat and encounters a beautiful field of purple flowers, Julian chimes in: "And he sees a zebra and he has to hide. But before he can hide, the zebra eats him."
"The zebra eats the boy?" I ask, incredulously. Julian has NOT been privy to my lion-eating-boy conversations with Mike.
"Yes. Sometimes animals eat people," he says matter of factly. "But usually zebras don't eat people." "No, Jules they don't." They never eat people... maybe they bite them. But lions eat people. This is what was running through my head. But remembering the conversation that prompted the Barney book loan, I paused. Instead, I pulled the blankets up around Jules' shoulders, kissed his soft, sweet forehead and said, simply: "Love you buddy. See you in the morning."
Then I went downstairs and wrote Mike a note letting him know that his "joke" story was, indeed, viable.