Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Sunday afternoon I took the five year old (whom we shall call ELK) for a ride on the Lake Harriet trolley. Her older sister had been at a friend's house since mid-morning, none of the little neighborhood folk seemed to be around, and I felt like I owed her a little entertainment. It's a strange feeling that comes over me every so often. Usually I squelch it, figuring that I paid good money for a basement full of Skanx (Slutz? Implantz? Something like that) dolls and toys and DVDs and computer games, go play with them already, what do I look like anyway, a cruise director? But this time I decided to give in. Plus she had been talking about the trolley for about a month. Quite the swell dad I am.

Once we bought our tokens and she put hers in the meter, she lost most of her interest in the ride and pulled out the little notebook she's been carrying around for the last few days. She's writing a story, she says. Since the only word she really knows is her own name, I wondered what was inside and asked her if I could look at it. And what did I see but page after page after page of more or less horizontal pencil lines. I felt like Shelley Duvall in The Shining when she discovers that Jack Nicholson's supposed novel is actually endless reams of "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy."
Me: "Hey ELK."

ELK: "What?"

Me: "You don't have an axe in your other pocket, do you?

ELK: "Huh?"

Me: "Never mind."


Me: "Did you just say 'redrum'?"

ELK: "Daddy, you're weird."
Actually, that conversation didn't happen. But if I don't exercise my poetic license every once in a while, it's liable to get revoked.

(I did feel like Shelley Duvall though, a brand new experience for me which I hope never to repeat.)


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