January 15, 2005

Barney's Awakening

(Author's Note: I was chatting with my real-life pal Marjorie the Unclimber at the Littlest Llama-ette's birthday party today about Marjorie's recent posts in praise of Barney. I mentioned to her a cherished dream episode I've had for some time and she urged me to commit it to pixels. The following is the result.)

It was a beautiful summer's day.

The kids, Timmy, Janie and the Twins, met at the playground.

"What shall we do today?" asked Timmy.

"I know! Let's ask Barney!" replied Janie.

"Yaaaaaaay!!" all the children shouted.

There was a sudden flash of rainbow light, followed by that familiar purple giggle.

"Baaaarneeeey!!!!" they cheered.

"Hello there, kids! I'm so glad to see you! Oh, my. I've got an absolutely super-dee-duper idea!"

"What is is?" the children exclaimed excitedly.

"Well," said Barney, "I always come here to play with you. How would you like it if today I took you to my world?"

"Yay!" they all said. In a flash, they were whisked away to Barney's home. It turned out to be a hot and steamy place, full of lush plants and bright flowers.

"Oooh," said Timmy, "I can see why you always tell us not to litter. Your world is sooooo green and happy!"

"Thaaaat's right!" laughed Barney happily. "It's so nice to have so many trees and bushes around. That way, no one can see you coming!"

"Oh, are we going to play hide-and-seek?" Janie asked.

Barney laughed again. "Oh, I hope it won't come to that," he said.

"Golly, Barney," said the Twins, "Is this really your home?"

"It certainly is," said Barney, "And you know something? Home is where the heart is. I've been spending so much time here lately and learning so many wonderful things about myself!"

"Wow," said Janie,"you mean like how loving and caring and fun you really are?"

"That's the really wonderful thing about it," smiled Barney. "I know all that already. But here, I've found out some different things!"

"That you're a good painter?" asked Timmy.

"Noooooo.....," said Barney.

"That you can juggle?" asked Janie.

"Oooh, not that!" replied Barney.

"That you can do magic tricks?" asked the Twins.

"Not even close!" laughed Barney, "No, what I've learned is that all these years of laughing and sharing, kissing and hugging, singing and dancing, and just generally being as sugary and non-threatening as possible have been a terrible, terrible mistake."

"Huh?" said the kids.

"Thaaaat's right!" said Barney, "You see, here in my world, there are lots of different dinosaurs. Big ones and small ones, tall ones and short ones, fast ones and slow ones. But what makes me different from them is that none of them has ever had to deliver slurpy little homilies designed to let parents abandon their children in front of the teevee guilt free, and to strip those children of every natural instinct for self preservation and betterment, including competitiveness, toughness, critical thinking and self-respect, replacing them with delusional visions of a world where everyone is warm and cuddly, no one is any better or worse than anyone else and bad things never, ever happen"

"Wow," said Timmy, "What do they do instead?"

"Oh, it's wonderfully stark!" laughed Barney, "All the dinosaurs here spend their time constantly struggling for survival! The plant-eaters spend every waking moment stuffing as many greens into their gullets as possible, all the time keeping their eyes open for dangerous predators. Meanwhile, the meat-eaters spend their time constantly hunting for prey - while at the same time making sure that they don't become meals themselves for someone even bigger! Here, Nature is red in tooth and claw. Isn't that wonderful?"

"But Barney," said the kids, "Why is that wonderful?"

Barney laughed yet again. "Why, that's the great thing about it! Don't you see? I'm a Tyrannosaurus! I'm at the tip-top of the food chain! All the world here trembles before me. Whatever I see, I can eat!"

"Oooh," said the kids.

"And here's the absolutely most super-dee-duper part of all," laughed Barney further, "I realized that all these years - in all those videos, movies, stage shows and special appearances - surrounded as I've been by literally thousands of cast and crew members, special guests and fans, why....I've been knee-deep in lunch!"

"Um, Barney....?" said the kids.

"Thaaaat's right!" shouted Barney happily, "Now that you're here, we're not going to play a game, sing a song, do a skit or use our imaginations....Instead, I'm going to eat you - now!"

"Aiyeeeee!!!" wailed the kids as they froze in their tracks, utterly unable through years of conditioning to cope with such a sudden and unexpected threat.

Barney quickly fell upon them. The Twins he snatched up in two quick bites, crunching and bolting them like a retriever sneaking a woodcock. Next, he turned on Janie, gleefully pinning her to the ground with one adorable claw while tearing her into shreds.

Timmy, by this time realizing that he was next, took off at a run, dashing blindly through the dense foliage of ferns and evergreens. Behind him, he could now hear the crash of branches and the rhythmic stomping of heavy feet as Barney, chuckling heartily from his blood-spattered mouth, came thundering in pursuit.

Suddenly, a stark cliff face brought Timmy to a halt. A quick glance left and right revealed that he had blundered into a narrow gully, a dead-end from which there was no escape. With terror in his heart, coupled with bitter thoughts of the unwitting betrayal his family had committed by allowing him ever to become associated with this heretofore hidden menace, he turned to face his approaching doom. There at the narrow entrance to the gully stood the large, purple form that Timmy had for so long associated with comfort, safety and love, and which he now knew had rejected the false, saccharined image it had previously worn and had replaced it with a cold, ruthless brutality that, even amidst his terror, Timmy somehow understood was the Real Barney. Bravely squaring his shoulders, taking some small comfort in the notion that his last view of the world would at least be an honest one, Timmy awaited the approach of his death.

For an instant, Barney paused. He seemed to nod ever so slightly, as if he too sensed Timmy's last minute enlightenment and saluted him for his decision to die with his eyes open. Then Barney began to stalk toward his victim, the last for the moment, but certainly one of the first for the future. As he did so, he began to sing:

I'll eat you,
(I'm a car-ni-vore, you see)
With a great big "chomp!"
and a couple little chews (Smack!)
Now it's time you be - my - food!

Posted by Robert at January 15, 2005 09:00 PM

I'm psyched. I'm not the only one who distrusted him. I love the song at the end, too.

In my mind, it's a little more disturbing. He takes them to a magical place with a petting zoo and games and rides. Then he takes off the Barney costume to reveal Michael Jackson.

Posted by: The Colossus at January 15, 2005 09:34 PM

I've recently been imagining a Palestinian children's cartoon called "Dora the Exploder."

Posted by: Eric at January 15, 2005 10:58 PM

I could do something similar with The Wiggles, but I suspect it wouldn't be parody.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at January 16, 2005 09:44 AM

That's funny shit. But leave the Wiggles alone. Captain Feathersword will fuck you up.

Posted by: Patrick at January 16, 2005 09:11 PM

Sick, brilliant, wonderful -- if some chick can get a book contract for voicing Tinkerbell's thoughts, you should be on your way to super-stardom! Don't forget your lil' buddy who encouraged you to reach for the stars, er, into the depths of your dark, twisted mind. I am lucky to call you friend.

I want to read Stephen's take on the Wiggles.

Posted by: Marjorie at January 17, 2005 08:59 AM


So far I have a working title - The Wiggle's Take a Steam

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at January 17, 2005 01:59 PM

I see you've watched one too many Barney episodes, and ...it's...taken..you...over...the ..eeeddddgggeeeee.

Posted by: ilona at January 17, 2005 05:19 PM

Marjorie - In my best Jeromy Irons voice: "You have no idea." Thanks for all the encouragement!

Posted by: Robert the LB at January 18, 2005 12:13 PM

I imagine Santa Bear spending months slaughtering little piglets in order to make the pig's ear treats my dogs get for Christmas. No wonder Santa Bear never joins us for the Christmas ham.

Posted by: salomeh at January 18, 2005 05:13 PM
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