An Odd Playdate
One morning, Jeremy came to breakfast holding the hand of a strange little kid. The kid had one eye and three arms and blue fur. Kari knew that wasn’t normal. Mom just smiled. “Great costume,” she said. “What’s your name?”
“Ummmm…Greg,” Jeremy said. “His name is Greg.”
“And how long will he be over to play today?” Mom asked.
“All day,” Jeremy said. “What’s for breakfast?”
“Cereal,” Mom said. “Greg can stay, as long as he helps you with your chores. Next time remember to ask first. Do his parents know where he is?”
“Yes,” Jeremy said. He got out two bowls and spoons and poured cereal for himself and Greg.
“All right. I’ve got to go get started on the laundry,” Mom said.
As soon as she was out of the room, Kari leaned forward and looked at Greg. “His name isn’t really Greg, is it?” she asked.
“No, I think he said it’s Glug,” Jeremy said. “Or something like that.”
“He’s not really wearing a costume, is he?” Kari asked.
“No, he’s not,” Jeremy said. He finished pouring the milk into the bowls of cereal. Glug took a cautious bite and then spit it out. He poured the milk and cereal out onto the table and started to eat the bowl. Jeremy sighed and tore a bunch of paper towels off the roll and started to mop up the milk.
“Where’s he from?” Kari asked.
“I found him under the bed this morning. I think the monsters left him behind by accident,” Jeremy said. “I think he’s pretty young.”
Kari looked a little closer. The strange kid was small. He had the obnoxious table manners of their younger cousin Paul, who was two. “Greg?” she said. The kid didn’t look up. “Glug?” she said.
The kid looked up. “Glug!” he said. He smiled a wide, sharp-toothed smile. Bits of milk and shards of bowl dribbled from the side of his mouth. “Glug, Glug!”
“I’m Kari, it’s nice to meet you,” Kari said.
Kari looked over at Jeremy and frowned. “I see what you mean. What are you going to do with him?”
“I figure there isn’t a way for him to go back home until it’s night time. I couldn’t just leave him there; he was crying,” Jeremy said. “When it’s bedtime, I’ll hide him under the bed, and he can go home.”
“So, until then, he’s over for a playdate?” Kari asked.
“Yeah. Mom said it was okay. Can you help me keep an eye on him?” Jeremy asked.
“Sure,” Kari said. She looked at Glug or Greg or whatever his name was. He’d finished his bowl and was eyeing the table. He opened his mouth wide. Kari handed over her bowl, and he ate that instead. “This is going to be interesting,” she said.
Glug liked helping to sweep. He liked wiping the bathroom mirror clean and eating all the toilet paper. He really liked folding clean laundry, but he kept eating all the socks. At that point, Kari took him outside to play.
Glug did not like the bright sunlight. He ran under the large shade tree and scampered up the trunk. He hung upside down in the shade of a large branch and whimpered. Kari got out an umbrella and coaxed him down. He clung to her and was happy to go back inside.
At lunchtime, Glug ate some silverware and then curled up under the table and fell asleep. “I guess it is the middle of the night for him,” Jeremy said. “After all, monsters like to wander around at night.”
“Do you see a lot of monsters in your room?” Kari asked. “I’ve never found any monsters under my bed.”
“I think my closet is a monster bus stop,” Jeremy said. “I’ve gotten used to them.”
“They don’t try to eat you?” Kari asked.
“They never pay any attention to me. I don’t think they eat meat or vegetables or normal things,” Jeremy said. “I wonder what kind of eater that makes them. They’re the opposite of an omnivore. Is that an anti-omnivore? An unvore? But they do eat.”
“Who knows?” Kari said. “Should we put him up under your bed?”
“Yeah. Can you help me?” Jeremy asked. Together they carried the little monster up to Jeremy’s room and put him under the bed.
“Glug,” he murmured in his sleep. He smacked his lips and curled up under the blanket.
“We can check on him later,” Kari said.
They checked on him several more times, but the little monster slept soundly for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Their mom asked about him at dinner. “He got tired,” Jeremy said.
Mom nodded. “You’ll have to invite him over again sometime,” she said.
Just after dark, they ran up to check on Glug again. He was gone. “Look, they took the blanket too,” Kari said. “Maybe they’ll eat it.”
“That’s all right,” Jeremy said. “I’m just glad he was able to get back home.”