Life

Butterfly Man

butterflyAbout two years ago I wrote a short narrative for school. I just came across this document and thought I would share bits and pieces of the original story. It’s written in reference to a memory I have of my childhood yearly family vacations to Charlevoix, Michigan. (Also, we were very strange and creative kids.)

Butterfly man. He’s hip. He’s cool. And he’s in elementary school. Gabe stood up over the side of the slide and peered down, arms on hips, back straight, gaze focused. All the world was his playground, and all the playground was his world. Assessing the situation he paused, took a deep breath, and pushed himself into the yellow tube. Gabe plopped out at the bottom, landed on his behind, but quickly pushed himself to his feet and power posed. Hands on hips once again, he announced, “I am Butterfly Man.”

All us cousins squealed and ran toward him, the sandy dirt springing up in the air as we sprinted toward our captain. Cocoon Man, Cougar Boy, the Raccoon Sisters, Tiger Man–yep, we were all here and accounted for. We lingered in front of Butterfly Man in our elementary school bodies. He was the oldest cousin of the group and held high esteem in our minds.

“Torpedo Squid is here!” he bellowed. Hope and I screamed. We decided to be good that day. Some days we were evil and some days we were good. In our minds we occupied two personas. I guess you could say we were technically raccoon sister quadruplets. We were sneaky as could be switching back and forth between our two identities. It confused the crap out of the other kids, and sometimes each other.

Cocoon Man lurched his body up onto the playground equipment, our “battleship.”

“Everyone back on board!” he announced. Cocoon Man was Butterfly Man’s sidekick. Tiger Man and Cougar Boy took positions to fire out ship’s cannons. We sailed on scorching lava. No one could touch the sandy, dirty earth unless they were wearing lava proof shoes, flying with a jetpack or called a “time out.”

“BANG BANG BANG!” we all shouted and screamed. Torpedo Squid was going down. Hope and I took out our stick sniper rifles and fired at the villain. We ran across the swinging hanging wooden bridge, careful to not let the squid’s arms pull us into lava, which would have resulted in death, but most likely we would have come up with some miraculous escape or some miracle drug to heal us. Or, who knows, maybe we’d call a time out. Nevertheless, we escaped the squid’s reaching grasp and perched on the other side of the ship. We set our sticks in the direction of the enemy and added in some more “BOOM”s and “BANG”s.

Between the Raccoon Sister’s sniper rifles, Tiger Man and Cougar Boy’s cannons and the rock-like grenades of Cocoon Boy, we did some serious damage. But ultimately, it was Butterfly Man who defeated the squid.

The only one with wings, Gabe jumped one foot off the platform, spread his arms and ran around in circles. He picked up a rock, wound up his arm and launched it as hard as he could.

“I hit him right in the forehead and killed him,” Butterfly Man announced to us all, helping us make sense of everything we had just seen. We all cheered. The world had yet again been saved by five elementary school kids on the playground.

Butterfly Man started with one little remark made by my father. Β “He’d make a better Butterfly Man than Batman,” my father said of some actor in one of the old Batman films. The name and image of the actor has never been in my memory. It’s the “Butterfly Man” part that stood out. Some of us cousins happened to be around when my dad said this, and we picked up on the remark right away. The thought took us over like wildfire and before we knew it, we had spent hours and hours on that playground set–our adventures limited to only our imaginations.

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