[Editor’s Note: Last night, Brian Murphy damaged his brain while watching Lost. He is still recovering, so today we bring you a special guest column written by Tim Kelly.]
Few things in life can be as interesting as sitting down with old friends whom you haven’t seen in years and catching up on where they’ve been.
Even fewer things are as interesting when the “old friend” is my imaginary friend from early childhood, Aloysius. (Yes, as a four-year-old I named my imaginary friend “Aloysius”. I had a passion for names from the later-Latin dialects.)
As a young child, I was always up to date on what Aloysius was doing. He was an elderly man even back then. Aloysius lived in a large, multi-colored water tower across the highway from Worlds of Fun, an amusement park in Kansas City. I’m not sure exactly how he came to live inside the water tower, and I never asked him. Looking back now, I can only assume that living in the water tower was profoundly frustrating. The slick metal interior walls must have been nearly impossible to decorate, let alone provide anywhere comfortable to sit or sleep. The acoustics inside the water tower would no doubt be a problem, as a sound as simple as a human sneeze would reverberate and multiply wildly, bouncing back into your ears at 167 decibels.
The last time I saw Aloysius, he wore the same set of flower-patterned pajamas every day, and never combed his hair. My, how things change. Oh, sure, Aloysius still eschews hair-combing; his hair still looking like he rolled out of bed in 1983 and hasn’t touched it since. Aloysius does, however, have new stories to tell.
I was eating a roll of SweetTarts in my room recently when I received a phone call from Aloysius. He was at a pay phone outside of town and he offered to pick me up and take me out to eat. I cautiously accepted, and soon enough Aloysius showed up driving a 1987 Toyota Tercel that at best could be described as “bowling shoe-ugly”. After some convincing, I agreed to get into the car, and we were off. Following a tumultuous incident when Aloysius tried to order a 12-ounce steak in the drive-through at Long John Silver’s, we decided to go elsewhere. I suggested we go “someplace nice”, and Aloysius agreed, promptly driving us to Denny’s.
After 34 minutes of awkward silence, Aloysius was able to successfully break the ice with an eight-minute (and decidedly moist) coughing fit. He assured me he was not choking, and we soon got into a conversation. I asked Aloysius what he’s been doing all these years. He unleashed an epic story, beginning with his moving out of the water tower years ago. Apparently, carrying groceries one bag at a time up a 200-foot ladder to enter the water tower is not as enjoyable as it may sound. Aloysius travelled the globe for some time afterward, accumulating wives, and subsequently, divorces. It was around the time of his fifth divorce that he suffered a gruesome shin injury. While shopping for fresh produce at a street market in Sumatra, Aloysius was beaned by a ripe rutabaga. The cloth of his flower-patterned pajamas provided little defense, and the wound required several stitches and rehabilitation. Upon completion of his stint in Liechtenstein for physical therapy, Aloysius made his return to the United States, taking up residence inside a silo in Odessa, Missouri.
It was around this point in his telling of the story when Aloysius stopped abruptly, grabbed the last piece of toast from my Grand Slam Breakfast and ran from the table. He was in a full-on sprint for no more than three steps before tripping and falling headlong into a waitress, knocking over a tray full of Denny’s’ patented Unwashed Water Glasses®. Eventually Aloysius was out the door and he made a quick getaway, sticking me with leaving the tip.
I haven’t heard from Aloysius since that day, and I must say I’m thankful. I suppose his story could possibly be true, but I remember him telling me when I was four that he could bench press a live cow, and that never happened (I watched him try it for an entire afternoon), so who knows. I am sure of one thing: I’m likely the only person who has survived a reunion with his (obviously psychotic) former imaginary friend. I also fairly certain of another thing: no one is currently living inside the water tower across from Worlds of Fun.
Tim Kelly is a mythical creature reportedly sighted numerous times in the wooded lands of North America. Actually, that’s Bigfoot. Tim Kelly’s bio and background will sound much more plausible once he puts thought into making it up. You can find more of his writing at his MySpace blog.