I’m of the opinion that it is of the utmost importance for all teenagers to look as surly as possible, at all times. Surliness means you’ve been places, you’ve seen things and you’re a hardened renegade for it, and nothing can pierce the impenetrable emotional armor you possess–i.e., the opposite of what essentially every teenager feels (myself included,) which is a hellish cocktail of narcissism and low self esteem that logically shouldn’t work but does anyway. That’s why I was brooding, out of the way, when my little sister was taking a picture with a life-size caricature of Goofy. It’s so easy to brood at Disney World, what with all of the screaming children enjoying themselves, as if they’ve never been through anything. They’ll see! I thought, as per my teenage angst. They’ll be poisoned by society’s filth before they hit adulthood! Good thing I’m an awakened and open minded youth, I’m no sheep! I’m an individual! Let them revel in their.. Happiness and joy…the poor saps. Go ahead and drink it in, folks, that’s what insecurity sounds like.
Anyway, Goofy was looking run down these days. Like one of the Elmos you can find around New York City near Christmastime asking for spare change. I imagined the actor wearing his suit probably had a grease stained undershirt on, and maybe a five o’clock shadow. The type of guy who wears a fedora but doesn’t have the jawline to pull it off. And he was tall, of a height with myself, which is to say he at least matched my six and a half feet. I glanced at my smiling parents and saw an inkling of what I was beginning to feel myself, a sort of uneasy dread regarding the cartoon character currently holding Katrina. Goofy didn’t seem jovial any more, he was downright looming over her. That’s when I saw them–his eyes. Not Goofy’s eyes, mind you, but the eyes of the performer inside, where you can just barely see through the mesh cutout inside Goofy’s mouth. They were mismatched. His left eye was a piercing yellow, not like daisies or sunbeams, but the color you would imagine coming as a result of mustard curdling. His right seemed to spin and focus in random places, rolling around in no real direction. It was red, the entire eye, “white” included, was red. The only reason it betrayed movement was a tiny black mark in the center. I strained to make it out. It was small and black, and irregular, like a punctuation mark. It looked like…a comma? I leaned in closer, my brooding long forgotten in curiosity. The red eye gained rigidity in it’s motions and shot forward, looking straight ahead. Goofy’s back stiffed in unison, Katrina seemed to realize what the rest of us had picked up on, and ran back to our parents with a small cry. I found myself wishing I was invisible. I felt trapped, paralyzed. I could have run, but something told me there was no hiding from…whatever it was. It was eerie how still Goofy was. Goofy is supposed to bounce and dance and otherwise be in motion at all times, like the old steamboat willy cartoons. Always with a song in his heart, moving to the music of life. Goofy’s comma eye twitched, then started rotating, turning slowly towards me. I tried somehow bracing myself, tried to find my footing and clear my throat. I’ll be damned if my voice cracked again. I glanced again at my family, but they were gone. Actually, they weren’t so much gone as I was, from Disney. Everything was gone, but Goofy and myself. It was as if we were standing in a cloudy arena. Shapes moved and danced against the walls of whatever chamber we were in, but they had no real definition. It was as if everything was in a haze, my mental faculties included. I felt as though someone laid one of those lead blankets they use when you’re getting an X-Ray directly over the surface of my brain. I fell to my knees.
I didn’t have time to react, even though everything seemed to be in slow motion. My body no longer seemed to be my own, like my entire body had fallen asleep. All that remained my own were my eyes.
“Stand.” A voice said, from within my head. All I could manage to do was numbly shake my head, I tried to speak but I could barely open my mouth. Saliva dripped onto the clouds as a substitute for vocalization.
“STAND!” Was its command. It was a voice that was not used to being disobeyed. Pain lanced up my back, numbed but significant, my muscles contracted involuntarily until I was standing. My head shot left then right out of control, under the influence of something that didn’t seem to understand the finer points of human locomotion. Finally my neck seemed to find a happy medium, and my eyes were slowly raised to meet those of my controller. I frantically tried to shut my eyes but my eyelids wouldn’t obey. Goofy was gone, in his place was some sort of creature, all shadowy jagged edges in a vaguely humanoid shape. It’s eyes were no more than an inch from mine. I felt the sheer intensity of the creature’s gaze almost radiate heat. And…anger. But I didn’t feel that the anger was directed at me, that seemed like a bullet intended for someone else. What I felt from it’s eyes was curiosity, and confusion.
“Who…are you?” said a voice. It sounded, well, it sounded British.