One of the reasons I write stories with crimes in them is that I have, in my life, been afraid of many things. Fears evolve: the things that frighten us when we are children often turn out to not have been a big deal at all. Children are a small presence in a big, alarming world.
I was thinking about things that used to worry me. Some of them aren’t out and out scary, but they still kept me up at night…
Glass eyeballs. My dad used to do this trick that made us think he was popping his eyeball out, putting it in his mouth to wash it, and putting back in the socket. My sisters and I fell for it every time. I used to spend a lot of time thinking about eyeballs, and about losing one of mine. *shudders*
Spiders. Specifically spiders crawling in my ear or up my nose and laying eggs. Let’s not have a pic of that one, okay? To this day it’s a big reason I dislike camping.
Firing squads. I have no idea where this comes from, but I used to think a lot about firing squads and how terrifying it would be to either be in front of one, or someone doing the shooting.
Overpopulation. I blame this on basic 1970s hysteria. This is what Louisville, Kentucky was supposed to look like by now. This is Athens, Greece. Louisville is doing just fine.
Running out of oil. (See “overpopulation” above.)
Giant squids. What was it with giant squids? At one point I was obsessed with them. It wasn’t like one was going to jump out of the ocean and walk to Kentucky. But you never know, I guess.
Escaped lions and tigers. This worry began when I learned that people kept exotic pets. WTF, people? I never dreamed about lions, but I do dream about tigers. Not sure what that means.
Alligators climbing out of our toilet from the sewers. The above is not my alligator. I long ago gave away the creepy stuffed baby alligator my grandparents brought back from Florida for me when I was eight or nine. It had a sombrero and tiny maracas. Somehow I conflated this alligator with the urban legend about tourists bringing baby alligators home as pets, then releasing them into the sewers when they got too big to play with. (I would never buy one of these things now. I hope they are relics of another, less humane era.)
Ice picks. I was afraid of ice picks long before I ever saw one. No picture here, either. Just imagining one gives me the willies.
People buried alive. There’s a story I’ve been wanted to write for years about this. I’ve been carrying thoughts about it around since I read a Reader’s Digest story when I was about ten about a girl who was kidnapped and kept in a buried box with only a straw for an air hole. Maybe if I can write the story, I can exorcise the image.
California falling into the sea. It just seems so plausible.
Your turn! Tell me what things freaked you out as a kid, or what things did you imagine would be a much bigger deal than they turned out to be…
March 9th Words
Journal: 75 words
Long fiction: (Edited 1/2 chapter)
Short fiction: 0
Non-fiction: 0 words
Blogging: 603 words
Exercise: 50 minutes Kinect/weights