Yesterday, we took the kids to Applebee’s. I’ve been cooking a lot, and had two longs days of narrating so we thought, fuck it. We’re not cooking. Convincing the kids to go was like trying to convince them to get shots. But Kealoha and I were determined that we were going to go out as a family and they were going to enjoy it dammit! I think we both had low blood sugar.
When we got there, there were all these balloons and stuff. Simone asked: “What’s this about”? The hostess said: “Oh, it’s Kids’ Night. You can get a balloon animal and your face painted.”
Louis thought about it and then nodded. “Nice work, guys,” he said to me and Kealoha.
We sat down. After a while a big guy wearing a tye-dyed shirt came over. (He had pants on too, thank god.) He looked sorta depressed, and I could see why. Making balloon animals at an Applebees probably isn’t all that exciting for a clown-wannabe. “Hi. I’m Fandoodle,” he said almost apologetically. Then he looked at the card that he was wearing as a necklace and read in a monotone: “I can make squirrels, dogs, cats, hearts, swords, flowers, dinosaurs, and apples. What would you like?” Why did he have to read off of a card what animals he could make? Maybe they just picked the guy up off the street and forced him to blow up balloons and twist them. Maybe he was supporting a coke habit or something.
Simone immediately said “Squirrel!”
“What color?” He looked at his card. “I have blue, purple, pink, yellow, red, black, white…”
Simone said again, “Brown!” (She did want a squirrel after all.) “I want a brown and light brown.”
“No, only one color.”
“I don’t have brown. I have blue, purple, pink...” They settled on yellow. Then he proceeded to pop two balloons, giving me a heart attack, and then handed Simone a squirrel. It was the worst squirrel I’ve ever seen. It looked like a poodle. I wondered if all of the animals looked like poodles, but then he made a decent dinosaur for Louis.
Later, Kealoha and I did impersonations of the Depressed Balloon Maker Fandoodle. We came up with a comedy sketch that went like this.
(Read in a monotone) FRANDOODLE: Hi. I’m Fandoodle. You want a squirrel? Here. (Fandoodle hands over a straight balloon to a kid.) KID: But that’s just a plain balloon. It’s not a squirrel at all. FANDOODLE: Use your imagination, kid.
Then the kids wanted to get their faces painted. They ate fast and then I walked them to the teenager doing stick figures on kids’ faces. Kealoha sat at the booth surrounded by food happily eating away. Simone wanted a flower and I have never seen her sit so still. Then Louis hopped up. “What do you want little boy?” The teenager asked. I think she thought Louis was a puppy.
LOUIS: Hmmm. I dunno. Can you paint a murder?
LOUIS: Yeah. You know. MURDER.
ME: He wants you to paint a murder on his face, but no. Don’t do that. That's not appropriate for school. How about a skull? Louis, a skull is like a murder only it’s after the body has decomposed for a while and then the CSI dudes investigate it.
LOUIS: Oh. Okay.
TEENAGER: I can do a skull.
According to the kids, this was the Best Night Ever.
I wonder if Fandoodle can say the same.