Our best game was the Monster Game. Every kid loves chicken nuggets, but Dave was picky and wouldn’t try the dinosaur-shaped ones. He ran out of the kitchen and up the stairs, which doubled back halfway up. He stood on the landing, peeking around the corner. I pretended a nugget was walking in the air, adding narration.
“Doh dee-doh dee-doh. Here I am at the park, just minding my own business. Such a nice day for a walk. I wonder if there’s anyone around here who could play with me…”
Dave stuck his head around the corner, realizing he was missing my latest goofing around.
I pretended that the dinosaur had seen him. “Oh, hello! If you don’t mind my saying so, your mouth is awfully big. How many teeth do you have in there anyway?”
“A lot,” he said, coming down a stair or two, grinning.
“Can I see? Come closer and open up.”
I put half of it into his mouth. “Now, whatever you do, don’t bite down, okay?”
Grinning hugely, he bit down all the way through it.
“Oh my God! He bit me! That really hurts. What kind of monster are you? That’s no way to play with your friends!”
Dave giggled as he chewed and swallowed, then ran back up the stairs and around the corner, peeking out and laughing as I continued narrating the half-eaten nugget’s thoughts.
“Oh, I need to get some help. Maybe I can limp back to town. Hey, are you sorry? Maybe you can make it up to me by helping me. A kiss would make it all better. Come on over here.”
“Okay.” Dave came back.
“Now, no funny business. Just give me a kiss.” Dave slowly opened his mouth as I put the nugget in. “Oops! I fell in. Hold on. Don’t close. Wait! Wait!” He bit down. “And I’m dead.”
Dave ran back up the stairs and I grabbed another nugget.
“Doh dee-doh dee-doh. Hmm. Where is my brother? He said he’d be here at the playground. Maybe there’s someone I can ask. Excuse me, sir? Have you seen my brother? He’s about so big, looks kind of like me, actually.”
“He’s in my mouth,” replied Dave, laughing.
“What? He’s in your mouth? How did he get in there? Do you mind if I go in and say hello?”
“No.” He came closer and opened his mouth, as I put the nugget halfway in.
“Hmm, I don’t see him. Oh wait. There’s his leg!” Now I changed to a suspicious tone. “Hey. Hey wait a minute…”
Dave bit the nugget in half.
“Oh my God! He bit me! You monster! How could you do that?”
Laughing, Dave ran back up around the corner.
“I need to tell the sheriff! You won’t get away with this! Well, maybe I should investigate first. The monster doesn’t seem to be here anymore. No sense in scaring the town unnecessarily. Let me circle back around.”
Dave crept down the stairs toward me as I pretended the dinosaur nugget didn’t see him. He then gobbled down the rest, so I grabbed another.
“Hmm, I wonder where my kids went. They were supposed to be here. It’s time for dinner. Oh, excuse me, sir? Have you seen two little nuggets around here?”
“Uh-huh. I ate them.”
“What? You ate them?”
“Well, I don’t believe that for a second. Your mouth isn’t that big.”
“Yeah it is.”
“Oh yeah? Okay, well let me see for myself.”
I started putting the nugget into his grinning mouth. “Well, looks like I owe you an apology. It is quite roomy in here. Could even get a big screen TV in here. Getting a little smaller and darker. Wait, you’re not closing your mouth, are you?”
“Wait. Wait! No! Oh my God! He bit me! Ow! That really hurts!”
In no time, the nugget was gone. I grabbed another and adopted a formal tone as Dave disappeared around the corner again, hiding.
“Alright, this is the sheriff of Nuggetville. We’re investigating some missing persons reports. Sir, have you seen anything suspicious? No? Mind if I ask you a few questions? Come on over here.”
“Listen, there are reports of a dangerous monster. I’m a little hard of hearing so I need you to get real close to my ear and tell me anything you know.” I put the nugget near his mouth and he promptly bit it in half.
“Oh my God! He bit me! You’re the monster! I should’ve known. You looked suspicious. I need to trust my instincts better. Come over here so I can arrest you. No, wait, don’t open your mouth. No! No! Aiiiiiieeeeeeeeee!!!!!”
Dave laughed and ran back up the stairs as I grabbed another.
“Freeze! Hold it right there! Aw shucks, I didn’t mean to scare ya. That’s just something they teach us at the academy. Come on over here! Listen, I’m the deputy of Nuggetville and we’ve had some trouble in these here parts. You look like a nice enough fella. If I can just get a DNA sample, I can send you on your merry way, with a mighty thanks from the folks of Nuggetville! I just need to climb up there and get a sample from your mouth.”
“Alright. Let me see here. Might have to climb a little further into the back there, and…Oh my God! He bit me!”
The first few times we played the Monster Game, Dave was laughing so hard I thought he might inhale a nugget. I had to keep telling him to calm down. Every time I made them, he ran from the room and up the stairs, yelling, “Monster Game!” As usual, his mother didn’t think it was the least bit entertaining when I told her about it.
“Cool,” Sophia said, insincere as always in response to our stories of fun together. That was her way of saying, “I’m glad you find that interesting, but I couldn’t care less.”