Bedtime has been a bit of a battle lately – which is both annoying and awesome.
Annoying because, our kiddo is six and legit the whole “I’m not tired,” routine is getting old.
Awesome because, usually what settles him down is my offer to tell him a story and telling stories is kind of my thing.
Briggs’s favorite story is his birth story, but neither of us were particularly in the mood for that one tonight.
“Tell me one I’ve never heard before.”
I had to think. There are plenty I haven’t yet shared – mostly due to timing, appropriateness and language – but, then it came to me:
“Did I ever tell you about the Monkeys?”
He started to giggle – which always means I’ve got him:
“A long time ago I used to live in a one-bedroom apartment all by myself in Shelton, Connecticut, above an H&R Block.
(Briggs: What’s an H&R Block)
Not important. And down the street lived a group of friends, who called themselves: The Monkeys.
(Briggs: (More giggles) What, the heck?)
The Monkeys were a good group of friends – lots of them – some of them played in a band. Some of them ran the band’s audio. Some of them sold tickets to the band’s concerts. But ALL of them had special Monkey names.
(Briggs: Like what?)
One was named Dirty. And there was Titus. And Brown. And Snook. And Z. And so many more. Anyway, I met the Monkeys through a friend of mine I went to school with – who was a Monkey who sold tickets, and he sold me a ticket to a special Halloween show that the band was playing.
I bought the ticket because, I lived alone and was lonely AND the concert was also a costume contest and the winner of this contest got $500 cash.
(Briggs: That’s a LOT of money)
It was SO much money that it would cover my rent for an entire month, so I really, really wanted to win. I thought long and hard about my costume and ultimately decided to go as a trophy called, The Emmy.
Now, The Emmy is all gold, so this meant I got to get a super cool long gold dress and then I spray painted my arms, chest, back, face, hair – any little open bit – I spray painted gold.
(Briggs: Oh my gosh, did it ever come off?)
Am I gold now? Obviously. I even made these gorgeous gold wings – like huge fabric angel wings – I can’t believe I ever did that. You know Mum and crafts.
And then, see, The Emmy holds this ball that kind of looks like the world, and so I found this toy – that was this expandable ball – and I spray painted that, too. So, when I opened it up, I looked like The Emmy holding the world, and when I squished it together, it kind of looked like this super cool purse/bracelet thing.
People were pretty impressed when I got on the bus that night – and I was very, very confident that I would be bringing home that prize money. And even when we got to the place where the concert was happening, from the looks of every other lame costume, I was pretty sure I had this one.
And then the fire – like actual fire-breathing dragon showed up. And. I came in second. And do you know what second place got?
The big fat dragon egg. Zero dollars.
But, after that night, The Monkeys kept asking me to hang out and for as long as I lived in Connecticut, they called me Emmy – and they came along at a time when I was pretty sure there weren’t too many people who wanted to hang out with me.
So, I lost the costume contest, ended up having to keep working for my rent – AND – made a bunch of cool friends who liked me enough to give me my own Monkey name. It’s one of the coolest nicknames I’ve ever been given, ever.
“Mum, did you ever have any other nicknames?”
“Sure. Lots. Mini-Me – which became, Minnie. Manda. Taurus. Veautour. Veautaux. Amanda-Panda (which was reserved for my grandfather). Mandy (which was reserved for my high school history teacher, Mr.O). Bulldog – which became BD (which is reserved for my friend Ben Hatton – who’s Wells’s Dad). Goodwin. A Good Win. Rindge. And, maybe that’s it?”
“What’s your nickname, now?”
“I don’t know, ‘Mum?'”
“No way, that’s way more than a nickname.”
“You’re right, Bub, Bugaboo, Bubba, Lova-Lou, B, BTG, and pooka-backa-bee-choo – it is. Now, go to bed”
And magically, he did.