When my parents came for the yard sale last week, they had a van-load of stuff my sister and I had been storing at their house for years. And years. I believe they were overjoyed to be getting rid of it. We had a fairly successful sale, although we didn’t move as many toys as we would have liked. Now I’m left with some odds and ends that I’ve been trying to deal with. One box is just papers and letters and such from grade school onward. I haven’t seen the stuff in this box for 20 years so I’m going to assume I don’t need most of it.
My plan is to take all the old papers, letters, etc. and make a paper-based diorama out of them of a ship at sea battling a Kraken. I thought that might look cool. So there is my winter project;Â what I’ll be doing on all those snowy nights come January.
This morning I was down in the basement to feed Chief Jones (he has to eat down there so that Mistress Freja doesn’t gobble down all his food) and there was the box, waiting to be sorted. I plucked a coloring book off the top of the pile. It’s a book called “Write Your Own Story Coloring Book.” Kind of literal in the titling. Inside, each spread is a picture to color and then the other side is titled and has lines for writing a short story about the pic. The characters are the same on every page – Penny, Mark and a clown named Koko.
The instructions inside say, “Look at each picture and then ask yourself some questions. What are Penny, Mark and Koko doing? Where are they doing it? Why? How did they get there? You will find that when you have finished answering such questions, you will have made up your very own story.”
Sounds innocent and sweet. The first story is titled Penny, Mark and Koko Go for a Car Ride.
Here is what I wrote (spelling and grammar corrected by me for easier reading), “Penny and Mark were very excited because that day they were going on a ride in the car. Soon they were going to go. Soon they were in the country and there was lots of things to see. There was a cow and lots of other things to see. Suddenly Koko crashed and died.”
Another story is titled, A Ball Game with a Dolphin and a Mermaid. My sister did this one.
“Penny and Mark could play ball so they invited a dolphin to play with them but a snobby mermaid followed him and Penny and Mark had to let her play but they had fun. The mermaid always followed the dolphin so one day the dolphin said to her, ‘Stop following me!'”
Then there is my rather delightful tale for Mark, Penny and Koko Fly a Plane.
“Penny, Mark and Koko were going to go for an airplane ride and they were excited. Soon they went and a flying fairy guided them but she got tired and snot came out. And her snot got all over her wings. So they got better and better but soon she would not guide them. So she went down by the deer and cleaned up. The end.”
I made sure to draw the fairy with a gush of yellow coming out of her face and all over her wings.
Maybe this story is more to your liking: Penny and Mark Paint a Street Mural
“Penny and Mark found a fairy and the fairy had paint and said they should paint a wall. They shouldn’t have but they did. They painted moons, stars, fish, suns, cats, trees, people, birds, dinosaurs and other things. And soon another fairy came along and helped them paint. When they had finished the wall looked pretty but the police got Penny and Mark but not the fairies. They got away.”
In case you’re wondering what the deal is with the fairies, many of the drawings of Penny and Mark featured fairies in them for reasons never explained.
Perhaps the most disturbing story in the book does not appear to be written by me – it has my sister’s name on it. I have to say, however, that upon further examining the handwriting, it is most likely my work. It doesn’t look like her writing. And it looks as if I may have come back through at a later date, with another pen, and signed her name.
“Penny and Mark went to the playground. They played on all the toys. They ran and played. They were having a good time when all the sudden Penny tripped and flipped. Mark pulled her hair. She screamed. He also tied her hair on the bars of the jungle gym. He left and went home. She couldn’t get down. He left her there all night and nobody came for her. She was 20 years old and Mark still didn’t come for her. She died with her braids on the jungle gym.”
A budding Shirley Jackson if I’ve ever read one. I’m sure I chose “20” because it seemed unfathomably old and decrepit.
After a few more pages, the stories end and only the pictures are colored in. Maybe I got tired of Penny and Mark. On the final page of the book I wrote in brown crayon, “Penny and Mark spent 20 years in prison.”