Don’t Think About The Glump

Joel Knopf

1.

Lorna wanted roller skates.
Lorna did not get roller skates.
The End.

2.

Lorna wanted roller skates.
Vic had roller skates.
Lorna asked nicely.
Vic said NO WAY.
Lorna did not get roller skates.
The End.

3.

Lorna wanted roller skates.
Vic had roller skates.
Lorna asked nicely.
Vic said NO WAY.
Lorna felt sad.

Aubrey had roller skates.
Aubrey wanted gum.
Aubrey said she’d loan Lorna her roller skates for one stick of gum.
Vic offered Aubrey two sticks of gum NOT to give Lorna her roller skates.
Lorna blew a bubble at Vic.
Vic blew a bigger bubble at Lorna.
Aubrey walked away and said she would keep her roller skates.
Lorna did not get roller skates.
The End.

4.

Lorna, in addition to wanting roller skates, also wanted to please her grandmother, and studied biology, and loved the forget-me-not’s that grew around her house in St. Paul, Minnesota, especially in the first and second weeks of April, when the forget-me-nots bloomed perfectly blue.

Sometimes Lorna wanted roller skates so she could get to school quickly.
Sometimes, when she was hungry, she just wanted pancakes.
One time her grandmother, who wanted the best for her, got her a razor scooter with tacky peonies on it, because Lorna’s grandmother didn’t know that Lorna actually wanted roller skates.

Lorna thought razor scooters with peonies on them were horrendous.
Lorna thought lots of things were horrendous. Sweat, garlic breath, and boys’ stink, not to mention bee stings and teasing, and … something she didn’t like to think about.

When horrendous things horrended, because that’s what they did, Lorna sang My Favorite Things softly to herself while crying.

At the end of the song, when she was all out of tears, she tacked one more thing onto the list of raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.

Roller skates.

The End.

5.

Vic, on the inside, was just like Lorna.
Vic felt he had been unfairly villainized.
Lorna lived in a big mansion.
Vic lived in a small hovel.
Lorna owned lots of dresses.
Vic had only one ratty pair of pants.
Which often got dirty, because Vic’s balance on roller skates wasn’t so hot.
What did Lorna do to deserve roller skates?

Then there was Adam.
Adam was even worse off than Vic.
As far as Vic could tell, Adam lived on the street.
He sat on the same corner of Mongolia Avenue every day, asking passersby for coins and chewing, very slowly, a small tuna fish sandwich.
On rough days, Adam didn’t even have a sandwich.
If anyone deserved roller skates, it was Adam.

Vic tried giving Adam his roller skates, but Adam’s feet were too small.
Adam was only seven.
So Vic stuffed the roller skates full of tissues and old socks.
Adam skated down the street, then fell when he reached Mongolia Ave.
At least Adam made it that far.
Every year on Adam’s birthday, Vic measured Adam’s feet using a ruler he’d stolen from school.
One year Adam’s feet would grow big enough to give him his roller skates.
“On your ninth birthday,” Vic said.
“If I make it that long,” Adam said.
The End.

6.

The roller skates didn’t want much.
They were size white with a blue stripe down the middle. Size sevens.
The left skate was slightly bigger than the right one, but you couldn’t tell.
They were girls’ roller skates but boys had used them.
Or they were boys’ roller skates but girls had used them.
The roller skates didn’t remember anymore.
They had shiny white laces.
Objectively speaking, these laces were their best feature.
Dogs loved these laces.
These laces were as shiny as a treat or a day spent jumping in puddles.
But back to the roller skates.
The roller skates wanted to be loved by a pair of thick woolen socks.
They wanted to be comfy, snug and creased from the feet that flexed in them.
And they didn’t mind getting dirty so long as someone sponged them with soap afterwards.
But the roller skates definitely didn’t want to be stuffed in a closet.
Closets were dark, unfriendly, and scary.
Closets had mold.
Shiny white laces did not get along well with mold.
As long as someone kept them far away from closets, the roller skates would be happy.
But absolutely no mold.
The End.

7.

There were two reasons Lorna wanted to get to school quickly, and one of them was the Glump.

Lorna didn’t like to think about the Glump.

The Glump was big, dark and scary. He didn’t have a shape, but he also didn’t not have a shape. He drifted in and out of Lorna’s room like fog, humming murderously, especially late at night and early in the morning. Often the first thing Lorna saw when she woke up was the Glump.

When Lorna’s Mom asked her why she screamed at odd hours of the day, Lorna said it was because she dropped some schoolbooks on her toe, but really, it was because of the Glump.

When Lorna saw him, the Glump just smiled at her, with his long, sharp teeth, which made Lorna scream even louder.

When Lorna tried to tell her Mom about the Glump, Mom patted the top of her head and told her that drinking a glass warm milk banished bad dreams. Her Mom repeated this even after Lorna insisted she was not dreaming that a black foggy thing with a murderous hum drifted underneath her door in the morning and floated above her pillow humming murderously.

So Lorna stopped trying to tell her Mom about the Glump, and stopped even putting Band-Aids on her toes to keep up appearances.

The only way to out-run the Glump, you see, was on the roller skates that Lorna so desperately wanted. When Lorna walked to school, the Glump followed right behind her, but if she skated, he would have to give up, huffing and puffing, at the corner of Mongoose and Mongolia streets, and turn around and go home.

The second reason Lorna wanted roller skates was to see Peter.

Peter had elf ears and a beautiful smile. Every day, he welcomed students to school before the homeroom bell.

Lorna raced to school to say hello to him before he disappeared to teach sixth-grade math.

“Hi, Peter,” she said, out of breath because she’d just flown through the door on imaginary roller skates.

“Good morning, Lorna,” Peter said, flashing his beautiful smile. “How are you today?”

When Peter asked her that, some kind of interior bubblegum popped inside her, and her insides felt all sticky and warm and gooey, so she forgot all about the Glump and told Peter that she was doing just fine.

The End.

8.

Lorna was not the only one who’d seen the Glump.

Vic and Adam had seen the Glump. Lorna’s Mom had also seen the Glump, but it was long ago, before Lorna was even born. She barely remembered.

And the Glump, of course, saw himself too, at least as well as a dissolute cloud of vapor could keep track of his ever-changing driftiness.

But the Glump was allergic to interior bubblegum. Popping joy bubbles sounded so loud to the Glump that he completely lost his murderous hum and became tuneless and disoriented. He forgot which was up and which was down, which was pitch and which was rhythm, and drifted even more dissolutely than before.

You see, Lorna wanted roller-skates, but not really.
Lorna wanted to be free of the Glump.
And Lorna wanted to see Peter.

Peter wanted Lorna to know someone cared for her, because once Peter glimpsed the Glump peeking over Lorna’s shoulder.
Vic wanted to Lorna to see him as he really was.
Vic wanted to give Adam his roller-skates.
Adam wanted a tuna-fish sandwich so he could live until he was nine so he could fit into the roller skates that Vic wanted to give him.
And Adam also wanted a can of cobalt spraypaint so he could finish the mural he’d started, which, if you haven’t seen it, is beautiful.

Lorna’s Mom wanted to forget about the Glump, until one day she remembered — and when she did, she gave Lorna a big, big hug.
The Glump wanted to hum murderously. Failing that, he thought it might be alright if he learned to harmonize with the sound of popping joy.
Lorna’s Grandmother wanted to pick more peonies with her granddaughter.
And Lorna, because she had been Glump-free for a while, thought it would be okay to pick peonies with her Grandma even though she really preferred forget-me-not’s, because it would make her Grandma happy.

And happiness definitely, definitively, banished the Glump.

Lorna wanted roller skates.
Lorna got her roller skates.
The End.

PS. Lorna’s roller skates got thick woolen socks. And no mold.