His room is a virtual wonderland of enjoyment and entertainment. It is a kid’s world of both toys and secret stuff. Hanging from the underside of his top bunk are helicopters, at least four of them, filled with miniature GI Joes or WWE figurines ready to rappel and hit the bottom bunk bed to engage in a toy war or a wrestling match unprecedented in scope and dimension anywhere in this galaxy.
The floor of the room is covered with cat’s eye marbles from his race game, a DSI, his Harry Potter books and the white cardboard from my recently laundered shirts. On these cardboard canvases, are incredibly complicated and elaborate drawings of pirate ships surrounded by sharks, whales, a dingy or two and either soldiers or pirates from other ships poised to sword fight their way to ownership of the booty hoarded within the bowels of these terrorist vessels. There are cannons firing into the sails of the enemy and bearded men with patches, hooks and peg legs fighting across the decks.
On his desk, which is a worn antique procured from the estate of his great grandparents, sits a wooden box that his father bought for him during his time in Iraq. In that box are many of his most prized kid treasures: decorative coins, an arrow head, the tiny jaw bone from some skeleton found in the woods near his house, and multiple folded dollar bills of various denominations that had come from either his birthday party or various other celebrations.
On the dresser is an aquarium with two chameleons, neither of which are usually discernable with the naked eye as they disappear on either the brown piece of drift wood or the decorative green plastic leaves that had been carefully placed in the glass container. The exhaust fan and light/heater are on 24/7 as the chameleons are fed a stable diet of crickets and more crickets.
On the window sill above the desk are several kid trophies from his numerous athletic accomplishments such as wrestling, horseback riding, football, soccer and baseball. They say things like, attended wrestling camp, or participated in the horse show; you know, trophies that sometimes are more indicative of one’s capacity to breathe than to actually win any given sport, but they are his treasures.
There is a baseball autographed by the entire Pittsburgh Pirates team that someday will probably be worth less than the $12 paid for the ball, and beside that is a small statue of his favorite retro football star, plus a bobble head of what could only be described as a Thor-like figurine that is most probably representative of some other wrestling dude. Finally there are pictures of him and his sisters from various Easter Bunny, Santa Claus visits.
Under the bottom bunk of the bed is a virtual arsenal of Nerf guns, fake plastic knives, a flintlock pirate gun, a toy compound bow with no arrows, and numerous Dollar Store plastic hand guns and automatic AK-47’s. He carefully explains to me that, should an intruder make it past his dog, Chipper, and up the stairs to his room, he will be comfortably positioned under his bed and armed to the teeth. (I pity the fool.)
The cupboard is filled with both new and hand-me-down clothes, and on top of the end table is a clock that consistently flashes the wrong time, no matter what time of the day or night you visit. Finally, in the top dresser drawer is a collection of his poppa’s old cologne and a beaker where he carefully mixes his own, sometimes overwhelming fragrances.
It’s a virtual womb of comfort, practicality, and fantasy where everything is in place to imagine and dream his way through childhood. I’m sure someday soon, he will add his own microwave and refrigerator. Oh, yeah, that would be college.