Tag Archives: breakdown

The Harrowing Descent of Mr. Hand Puppet

It started innocently enough
he constructed a hand puppet
named ‘Willy Nilly’
to entertain his girlfriend’s young son
and together they put up clips
on YouTube.

“Hey-Hey-Hey! Duuuh! Howdy, Mr. Rabbit!”

The shows started getting longer
he made up more characters
–more puppets.

A shelving unit was built in the bedroom closet
where they would be carefully stored
when not in use.

His girlfriend joined in
she was a sassy little pink bunny
named ‘Boo!’

It was all in good fun
for a while…

Then something changed
the shows became angry
political and
at times bizarre and
uncomfortable to watch.

It was no longer for the son.
He started filming just himself
in the basement and
spending more and more time
with the puppets.

When it got to the point where he
was always in character
we knew that there would soon
be big mean trouble.

Mr. Hand Puppet
was what everybody called him
by now.

He would take the puppets for walks
downtown
talking to himself
in the voice of whatever puppet
he had on
at the time.

Then one day he just disappeared
but other people
started disappearing too soon after
from the homeless shelter
downtown.
The police would find strange scraps of
fuzzy bright material
at the crime scene.

They didn’t know what was going on
but I did
deep down I knew exactly that.

It was a week later
that I got the afternoon phone call
that would put it all to an end:

“Hey-Hey-Hey! Duuuh! Howdy Mr. Rabbit!”
Mr. Hand puppet
sounded peculiar perhaps because
he was far too happy
to be sane.
“What are you up to today? Hee-hee-hee!”

“Just tell me where you are.” I almost whispered,
by now ready for just about everything
but not this:

The front door of the house was
wide open and I
rushed upstairs
to find Mr. Hand Puppet
in the bedroom
lying face-down in a pool of
growing blood.

I froze.

My mind was racing with possibilities
and none of them good
even the fact that I was now standing in
the middle of a crime scene
was also not good

but those thoughts
were suddenly swept away
as from behind me I heard
the closet door
slowly being opened
and a voice say:

“Howdy Mr. Rabbit…

would you like to know a secret?”

Everything

Old habits hang like nooses
brushing against my throat
against my thoughts
tightening across everything that I’ve become.

I’m sorry that we fight like this
but fighting is what
everything has taught me
to do.

Sometimes I want to break down like an old car
because of everything that has built up
but Father would be disappointed.

Sometimes I feel that everything
I work so hard for
is for nothing
even though I still cling to it
like a rabid junkyard dog
mauling an old bone
growling at the sun.

Let’s be honest
being human is terrifying
but you can’t show them
that you’re weak or afraid
not anybody
not for one second.

But I can talk to you, right?
I would like it if I could talk to you
about me
about you
about nothing
about everything…

it helps to keep the sinewy rats away
from my soul.