Friday, May 6

Roboctopus has taken all the food out of the kitchen and put it in a big pile in the middle of the backyard.

As the small animals and birds approach the pile, wondering what wonderful thing could have happend to bring them so much delicious-smelling nourishment, Roboctopus snatches them up.

"...but, Roboctopus," Potato stutters. "Hurting things is wrong." Patti nods her head slowly.

"I don't think you kids are letting the cosmic flow of the world filter through your senses," Roboctopus says as he twists the head off a squirell. "You have to let it pass through you like a river, or a beautiful stream in the Springtime. I just don't think you're doing that."

"We did a skit about hurting people in school," says Patti. "Do you want us to show it to you? Maybe you could learn."

"We are all one entity, one Everything," he says as he grabs a small bird and squeezes it tight with his tentacles. "One Big Circle of Interconnectivity."

"Okay, so I'll be the bully," says Patti. "And Potato, you're the kid with the lunch money."

"Don't take my lunch money, Bully!" yells Potato. Roboctopus pins the bird to the ground with a large kitchen knife.

"You're ugly and I'll hit you!" yells Patti as she pretends to hit him. Potato falls to the ground and pretends to cry. "Oh," says Patti. "Now I understand why it's wrong to hurt people. The End."

"Potato, Patti," Roboctopus says. "We are all one spiritual entity, one being, One. I am you, you are me, we are we. Understand?" The kids nod. "So if we are all One, which we are, it doesn't matter what we do to others. Watch."

He snatches a small cute off the ground and lights it on fire. It runs in circles, screaming in pain as it's fur burns to ash and it's skin bubbles. The cute's legs give out and it collapses in a twitching mess on the grass as the fire quickly eats away at what's left.

"See, I don't feel anything," explains Roboctopus. "You guys look fine. What's the problem?"

"But... the skit..." mutters Potato. The two kids study the mutilated corpses littered around their backyard.

"Can we have a funeral, Roboctopus?" asks Patti.

Roboctopus agrees, and while Patti and Potato dig a mass grave, he makes sandwiches from the meat he's killed.

"No, Roboctopus!" yells Potato. "That's for the funeral. We have to bury it and say something nice."

"A good sandwich is a good sandwich, kids." His robot teeth slide away, allowing him to drop the sandwich into his metal head.

A large Hippo wanders into the backyard and begins eating from the food pile.

Roboctopus instantly lunges at the Hippo, wrapping his tentacles tightly around it's face. "Hide yourselves!" He shouts at the kids. Potato and Patti jump into the hole they've been working on. They peer over the edge to watch the Hippo buck and stomp around the yard with their best friend gripping to it's head.

After a little while, when most of the fence is torn down and the food pile has been smooshed into paste, the Hippo calms down. Just as it stops to take a breath, Roboctopus grabs it by its nostrils and pulls up. The Hippo howls and lunges forward, smashing itself against the Oak Tree. The Tree cracks and topples over, crashing into the House.

Roboctopus sits on the Hippo's head, whispering quietly into it's ear. The Hippo breathes heavily as it listens. Roboctopus climbs down and approaches the kids.

"It's time for me to go on my Journies, kids," he tells them as they huddle in the partially-dug grave. The Hippo stands quietly behind them.

"Will we ever see you again?" they ask.

"Of course," he says. "In your hearts. I am your hearts. We are love. No Lifelong Hippo Journey can ever take that away from us."

"But..." asks Potato. "What do we do about the yard? And the house?"

"Breathe deeply," he replies. "Worry only complicates. Relax and all will Be."

The kids both clammer out of the hole and hug their friend, asking him not to leave them. He hugs them tightly with his tentacles, then pushes them gently away.

"Goodbye." He climbs back onto the Hippo and whips it while pulling hard on it's ears. With a loud Hippo howl, they stomp away into the Horizon.

After waving until Roboctopus is long out of view, the kids continue with their funeral. Once the grave is filled with all the animal parts they can find, a small cute wanders up to the edge and looks down at the remains of his friends and family. Potato looks over to Patti. She nods. "It's what he'd want us to do," she tells him. Potato raises the shovel over his head and brings it down hard on the cute.

Roboctopus was wrong, though. The kids had never felt more pain than in that crushing moment.

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