In my early days of youth, but still nearing the age where having imaginary friends and creatures was becoming problematic. My group of friends and I created the fantasy creatures known as Crocs, these unlifeforms named before the popularity of the proprietary closed-cell resin footwear, this being sad dark times in my friendship groups creative journey. Mainly because we couldn’t agree what the Crocs actually look like.
My friends at the time, unimaginative lot that they were, had portrayed the Croc’s race as humanoid crocodile beings, large snapping jaws, reptilian skin and mildly homoerotic muscles. Myself angered by the notion of creating a vast new world that was based on our own animal kingdom, choose to represent the Crocs to be as I can only describe as robotic, robed alien beings with a slight hint of the then future costumes of Daft Punk. In my disgruntled vision of this new fictional universe of crocodilian creatures that my associates had formed, I persisted that my depiction was the real true life forms and superior to the unsatisfactory design choices of my friends. They did not agree, making my sketches to be failed rejected subspecies of the glorified Crocs republic race. This perpetuating into a civil war until one faithful day of a peace in which treaty was signed, my Daft Punkian population meeting with the Crocs high guard in the Turtlian Square.
It was in the aftermath of the brutality that was the Crocs Civil War of 2001, where I found myself playing a diplomatic contest of the board game to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, not the most appropriate of games for 9 year olds, on the floor of Mike’s bedroom (Mike from the Accidental Almost Death of a Puppy fame, check it out it’s great). Winning, as my general knowledge of pop culture references, scientific knowledge and my own natural talent of luck, had given me a 10-point lead over Mike and John (John from The Accidental Almost Death of a Puppy fame, it’s good trust me, probably even better than this one). Mike decided it would be best to stop playing as it was becoming tiresome and dull, probably because he was unable to understand that the sun is actually bigger then the moon and the capital city of Tanzania is of course is Dodoma and not Dar es Salaam.
It was here, on the carpet of Mike’s room that he discovered the entrance to the mystic Crocs realm, us being only spectators and onlookers before, not physically being able to set foot onto Crocs’ ground. By a strange coincidence it was in the walk-in storage cupboard situated in Mike’s bedroom only 2 foot away from us. Eager and excited to explore this new world, to be able to touch the faces of our own imagination, we launched into fall blown imagineers. Crafting armour, swords and a disco speed skate that was powered by dreams, we collected ourselves to enter the next step in mankind’s history.
Mike had other plans, obviously the portal between our worlds was so fragile that only two out of the three of us could go, one to be left behind to guard. Being Mike’s bedroom he of course had to go and because of the heated history of my own make-believe cyborg organisms, I could not. Handing the disco speed skate to John, arm on his shoulder wishing him all the best, they ventured in, only looking back to say goodbye and to close the paint peeling white door behind them.
Silence ran through the room as the door shut, I was alone, no Croc world, no Croc architecture, no fountain that turns your enemies into giant pastel coloured party rings, only nothing. I sat down, looking into the void of promised dreams staring down at the uncompleted Who Wants to be a Millionaire board game. Isolated, picturing Mike and John sailing through space and time, exploring planets and galaxies man could only dream of.
In retrospect none of this actually happened, the Croc world did not exist, there was no portal in a cupboard and disco speed skates don’t really run on dreams, but rather a mixture of synthetic music and a catchy lyrical chorus. Even at the age of nine I had my doubts about the reality of the Croc’s homeworld, but the unmovable illusion that was created by my friends forced me into a fictional world building corner. I knew there was no new dimension behind that wardrobe, only old toys, stained blankets and a rad hot wheels set. All that was there to observe in the dwelling was of one child in a bedroom, that wasn’t his own, flickering through general knowledge question cards with two other children silently locked in a dark storage cupboard.
This state would not change for 30 minutes, my so called friends sitting in a wardrobe for over half an hour with no light, cramped, not speaking as I was only a few feet away and it would crush the interstellar travel illusion. Leaving me to wonder around the rest of the house and to receive a McVitee’s Caramel Rockey from Mike’s mother.
They did come out eventually, sweating and wincing under the fluorescent lights of the bedroom, not because they had succeeded in creating a bound between our world and the Croc’s planet. It was that John’s father had come to collect his son and it was time to go home, this cutting the already extensive journey short. I left soon after as I had to be home as well, leaving Mike to recalibrate the illusive teleportation devise by locking himself back in the shadowy obscure cupboard.