e sulked about it for a while. He really wanted that baby. He wasn’t sure
why. It wasn’t because it was cute or useful. He had plenty of toys. It was
probably because he couldn’t have it. It was a game he’d lost and that
was that. He loved to play dirty but he couldn’t cheat. Those were the
rules. He lost to a little girl, and being several thousand years old and the
king of his own private world, he found the whole thing rather annoying.
He could try and get another baby. Find some squealing thing without a precocious sister who could somehow blindly stumble her way to the center of a labyrinth that a host of Mensa members couldn’t crack. But what kind of magic spell could he use? Slime and snails or puppy dog tails? He tried those the last time. He hadn’t waited thirty years just to do the same thing all over again.
Besides, it’d probably be like the end of that movie, the one with Dustin Hoffman and that woman on the bus. He’d get the baby and then he wouldn’t want it anymore. He certainly had no interest in changing diapers. And it’s not like you could just drop a boulder on it when you got sick of the damn thing.
So he mostly just sat around with the goblin hordes and played with his magic balls. He really let the labyrinth go to shit. Sometimes he still made the goblins sing and dance. But their hearts just weren’t in it anymore and they were often off-key. And not the kind of off-key that’s amusing. It was enough to make him stop turning into an owl. Instead, he spent a lot of time alone, wandering around the Bog of Eternal Stench feeling sorry for himself.
The goblins started to grumble. Who died and made him king? Somebody obviously, but no one could remember who. He was about twice the size of the rest of them, and despite a pair of freaky eyebrows and a general atmosphere of androgyny, he looked suspiciously a lot like a regular human being. Shouldn’t a goblin king be more representative of his population? A few more warts and some more hair in unwanted places. Or less hair in wanted ones. And enough with this whole obsession with stealing babies thing. It was giving them all a bad rap.
He didn’t fill out those tights quite the way he used to. Everyone found his codpiece rather creepy.
hen one day he just couldn’t put his arm back on. For years he’d
been backflipping and somersaulting from one place to the next. It
was pretty much the only way you could get around when your
entire neighbourhood was constructed from lethal machinery.
Every so often, he’d get snagged in a giant gear or caught in a saw
blade. Sure, that’d tear a limb clean off, but it was better than the
pools of magma. You couldn’t put it back on once it’d melted. All in
all, Planet Danger wasn’t really the greatest place to live.
He used to be able to snap it back on. Just like that, good as new. It was a trick he’d employ to impress his friends. But in the end they all got vaporized in the laser field. They didn’t play safe like he told them to. Lately, within the last eon or so, his arm just started falling off the minute he snapped it into place.
He had never failed at anything before. Now he was regularly failing at putting his arm back on. It disturbed him for many cycles. Eventually, he buried the damned thing under a pile of razor wire and broken glass. He kept waiting for further failures. It seemed inevitable now.
he chunky one got skinny.
The macho one got fat.
The foreign one got rid of his accent.
The ditzy one went to grad school.
The ugly one got contacts.
The funny one went into rehab.
The deformed one had a shitload of plastic surgery but he looks worse. Life is life after all.
And the one with braces, he got them out. They don’t call him Mikey anymore. He goes by Michael.
Things change. The pirate ship sunk, all the money was spent, and in the end those glorious houses of our youth were torn down to make way for condominiums. You can’t stop the bulldozers with good vibes and a handful of fake-looking gemstones. We all have our time. Nothing stays the same. Not even if you really want it to. Not even if you wish and hope and pray. It’s there and then it’s gone. You only know when you go looking for it.
They don’t talk so much anymore. There’s no Facebook group. Nobody goes home except at Christmas. They say there’s going to be a reunion soon. They’ll order Godfather’s pizza. They’ll talk about how good it is to see everyone. Hey you guys, let’s do this again. And maybe they will. But probably not. Probably not. Things’ll never be that good again. You just can’t keep going on adventures once they stop calling you Mikey.
Remember when you were a minipop, and you saw that film, you know, the one you loved that never had a sequel? Well, let's say it did. And it was just like you imagined it, only a little bit worse.