Over the holidays, I've been spending a lot of time playing with my three-year-old son, whose favourite pastime is a kind of continuous freeform imaginative play that is exhausting, anarchic, unpredictable, sometimes hilarious, and often extremely violent. It's a good thing the Playmobil fairies are always on-hand, like high-level D&D clerics, to magically resurrect everyone at the end, because the death tolls in his improvised narratives are often staggering. (On one occasion an unstoppable evil triceratops depopulated the entire toybox.) The most ordinary situations - a frog and a dinosaur meeting up to eat pancakes, for example - can collapse into scenes of murder and mayhem with startling speed.
Here are some of the monsters he has invented along the way. I cannot claim any credit for any of them. I wish I could come up with something even half as deranged and horrible as some of these guys on my own.
|From left to right: Drill Robot, Pomking, Vampire, Doctor Cat, Fire Dinosaur, and Skeleton Pirate. The Jail Sisters, the Lava Tigers, Mega-Dog, and Motay Motay are thankfully purely imaginary.|
The Jail Sisters: Never described. Possibly not even human. They capture people and lock them in prison, sometimes behind sentient talking doors who refuse to let anyone out. On other occasions they use slime to glue people to the walls of their cells. They have swords, which they use to cut people open to see if they have dust inside. It is possible to escape from their prisons while they are distracted, but the Sisters themselves cannot be harmed or vanquished. Sooner or later, the Jail Sisters will always return.
Motay Motay: An animated freight train full of angry bees. He attacks by hurtling up to people and opening all his carriage doors: his bees then pour out and sting everyone until they flee the area. For unclear reasons, the sting of Motay Motay's bees also cause nearby fires to go out. He triumphed over the combined might of Thomas and the Tank Engines in a pitched battle which left him the sole remaining resident of the Island of Sodor. The Fat Controller was driven into the sea by bees.
Drill Robot: A robot with drills for arms and two pipes on his body, out of which pour milk and smoke. He drills holes in people, and if they object he drills their mouths off so they can't complain any more. His secret is that he is actually a man in a robot costume.
Doctor Cat: A small orange cat who has the thankless task of splinting people back together after Drill Robot's rampages. His catchphrase is: 'Doctor Cat.... IS BACK!'
Skeleton Pirate: A pirate skeleton who sails around in a pirate ship, looking for treasure. He has a giant pet centipede in his cabin, whom he feeds on nuts.
Pomking: A two-headed fire-breathing dragon who lives on an island, hoarding ice cream. His rulership of this island is bitterly contested by Andy Pig, a giant pig who gets over-excited when watching car races on TV.
Vampire: A vampire girl who flies around in a bright orange aeroplane pouring drinks on people. Lives in the same house as the fairies.
Fire Dinosaur: A small red dinosaur covered in spikes, who lives inside a volcano. He heats up his spikes with lava and then tricks people into sitting on his back.
Melon: A vigilante squid who flies around in a biplane, hunting evil-doers. When he catches them he cuts them up with the shiny metal propeller on his plane. He's a bit like a gimmicky cephalopod version of the Punisher.
Eaty Branches: These look like ordinary bushes, but when you touch them the branches eat your hand. The locals deal with this by putting the resulting bleeding stumps into a hole in the side of a magic tree, which gives them new hands made of slime.
Mega-Dog: A giant dog. He is very good at fighting, but he will only fight against birds and/or vampires. No-one else. Ever.