I was quite happy when I married a woman who had a son from a previous marriage. Gavyn was only three at the time, and as his father lived twelve hours away, I looked forward to teaching him how to play catch. I know the joy that playing catch with your dad can bring, and I wanted Gavyn to experience that.
The first time I gave Gavyn a baseball, he held it up, stared at it for a minute in silence, then said, “Where did you find the monster eyeball?”
“It’s a baseball,” I laughed. “You throw it.”
“Oh.” He dropped it on the ground as though he suddenly realized he was holding a cat turd and walked off. I had a pretty good idea that playing catch wasn’t in Gavyn’s immediate future.
What is in Gavyn’s immediate future is apparently an Armageddon between humans and zombies. I base this on his unceasing questions:
“How do you kill a zombie?”
“You shoot it in the head.”
“With a little gun or a big gun?”
“Probably a shotgun,” I say.
“What if you don’t have a gun?”
“You can usually outrun them.”
“Mom says they can’t climb stairs. Is that true?” He pulls up a chair next to me where I am trying to work.
“I don’t know.”
“Mom says you can kill them with a shovel.”
“Maybe if you hit one hard enough.”
“I’d rather have a gun,” he says, looking out the window toward the woods, as if expecting the zombie hordes to arrive at any moment.
I wouldn’t find this conversation so distressing if Gavyn were on the cusp of puberty, but the boy is only six and a half. Already he has a firm grasp on the classic monsters – vampires, werewolves, ghosts of all varieties – and a few of the more recent classics, such as Chucky, Freddy Krueger, and to a lesser extent, Jason.