Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Wicked Kishers

Garret, who is six, loves sword fights. This obsession started last summer, when he would stop all play and challenge me to a light saber fight. For this, you need to make two fists, stack them one on top of the other as though gripping a baseball bat, then undulate your arms and elbows as though swinging an invisible sword of light. It helps if there are convincing sound effects such as the low hum of the light, and the kish, kish sound whenever these invisible swords might connect.

(A few years ago, I did a radio story on birding, the team called itself the Wicked Pishers. Pishing is making the exact sound of the word, making a "pish" sound to flush birds out, really "PSHH, PSHH." Try it sometime out in the back yard. Stand next to a bird feeder, if possible. Birds loathe this sound and immediately start chattering to each other, warning each other of danger.) 

So, I guess this could be called kishing, and Garret and I are the Wicked Kishers as we dash around the living room pretending to fight. Sometimes we miss and our knuckles collide, which hurts like hell. The object is to "get" the other person who then falls down with closed eyes. Garret takes these deaths scenes very seriously. He jerks as if absorbing a blow, drops the imaginary sword and just keels over. It's really classy stuff, daytime Emmy quality. When I go down, I look like an old lady finding a seat on the bus. Slow motion squat with one hand exploring the terrain behind me, and all the while whispering, "OK. OK. Here we go." The next step is that the victor gets to revive the loser using tickle power. That means sneaking up on this loser who is lying quietly, lifting the shirt and tickling the bare skin. Garret also uses cold hand power, and believe me, his little mitts are like ice. The G-man has further lobbied to be allowed to use fart power to revive the mommy person, but here I draw the line.

The only trouble is that he wants to do this all the time, morning, noon and night. I've resorted to rationing these fights. Once, I told him I couldn't fight him until I'd folded this huge mound of laundry. He pulled his shirts out of the pile, folded them and put them away. I nearly cried. Also, Garret is not a big fan of taking turns. (Well, who is?) Once, we were kishing away and he wouldn't go down. I mean I really got him a couple of times. But he just wouldn't fall down. He kept laughing at me. Finally, I got annoyed and said this: "I've killed you twice! Why won't you die?" Garret found this hilarious, but was good enough to stifle his laughter behind pursed lips. This is when Larry poked his head around the corner and said, "You're the one writing a parenting book, right?"

THE EXERCISE: Write a fight scene, one that is physical as well as verbal. The difficulty would appear to lie in presenting action, and speed of action, without getting bogged down in physical detail. I've been scouring my bookshelves for a good example and can't find it. I've got The Count of Monte Cristo, but it's on audiobook (35 discs! Still, if you have to have a companion on the treadmill, a voice in your ear, it might as well be Dumas.) I skimmed Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini. Nothing doing. Will keep searching, and drafting possibilities. 

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