"Mr. Happy Puppet Head didn't come home the other night or yesterday or today. No call or anything. This isn't the first time he's done this sort of thing, but I worry. Especially with him hanging out with those monsters. They're the worst influences ever."
"My kitty pees on my bed at night," says the little girl standing next to me on stage.
I nod my head and tell her that's too bad. The other kids in the audience nod their heads. One boy yells out "My kitty pees on things, too." We all nod and commiserate with each other.
"What if he doesn't come back?" I ask them. "Do I even want him to come back? He's not been the best friend lately."
"I love Mr. Happy Puppet Head!" scrieches the little girl. "He's funny!" Several kids in the audience yell out that they aggree. "Remember when he spun in cirlces when you tried to give him a bath and called you mean names?"
"Yeah, good times." I look up at the giant ladder we are standing next to. "So you still want to win the Fun Prize for jumping into the Pool of Mud and Hazard?"
Eventually everyone, including myself, is completely covered in mud. We have a good time. "But it just isn't the same, is it?" I ask the children grouped around me, almost completely indistinguishable from each other. They all shake their heads no.
We share a silent moment.