My DIY arms and legs begin to twitch and my mouth curls into an evil smile when I spot the “make-a- monster” factory inside Funko. Funko, in downtown Everett, Washington, is a magical shop just dripping with castles and cartoon characters. Eager “fan”atics line up to buy pop culture plastic toys with oversized heads. I don’t quite understand all of the hype, but I’m happily confused when I see boxes of The Office toy figurines, along with Harry Potter, Betty Boop, and Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. Then, I have to hang onto a wall and steady myself when I see the “DIY” section of the store, where customers can create their own Funko product.
“It’s everything I’ve always wanted!” I tell Nate.
“This is the first time you’ve been here. You didn’t even know this place existed. How could you have always wanted this?”
“Every time I walk into a touristy place I wonder, ‘Will there be crafts? Will I learn how to make something?’ Not only are there castles and toys, but there are crafts, Nate! There are crafts! Well, okay, just one giant craft, but I’m pretty sure I can’t mess it up.”
I also suspect that this section of the store is probably intended for children 12 and under, so 47 is pushing it. Yep, at the age of 47, I’m definitely pushing it. And I don’t care.
At the monster factory, inside Funko, buckets of plastic body parts soar overhead while, at ground level, monster makers can choose heads, ears, torsos, feet, tails, and mouths to create the perfect monster. This exciting, mind-blowing treat only costs $15 and I have my credit card out.
“You’re really doing this?” Nate asks.
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“Oh, there are lots of reasons why you shouldn’t, but . . .”
“But I can only think of reasons why I should. I have a blog to write, damn it—and a very, very professional reputation to maintain. The blog needs a monster.”
Nate thinks the blog is a monster, but now, it has a mascot. Reluctantly, Nate comes along to help me and I’m glad he does. It takes a lot of muscles to push the arms, legs, hands, and feet into the corresponding holes on the body. Also, I am somehow managing to put the legs and torso onto the head backwards and the ears come in pairs of right and left. Thanks to Nate’s keen vigilance, he prevents me from building a monster with two left ears. (Whew!) If you decide to build a monster, bring someone with strong hands, some sense of color coordination, and the ability to tell right from left.
The only part that’s difficult is the ears. I just don’t like my choices for the ears, so I try them all on my monster over and over again. Soon, I’m surrounded by children who are obviously annoyed by “some lady” (their words, not mine), who is “hogging” the ear bins. Nate waves me aside to talk to me about my behavior.
“I think your monster has enough stuff.”
“I just want to try the feet on one more time. I can’t decide if I want fins or claws.”
“Okay, you do see that you’re the only adult.”
“Ummm . . . I see other adults here.”
“They’re with kids. Our kid’s not here. He’s 17 and he’s lifting weights at the gym. It would be weird for him to make a monster.”
I agree, but some kid has stepped away from the hair bin and now I want to switch out the monster’s hair. I make a beeline for the hair with the horns on top. Nate hurries the process along by finding props for the monster. He knows me too well: a spiked club and a lollipop. Perfect. Monsters do like to keep busy. Thank you, Nate. That’s the spirit!
And, just like that, in 30-40 minutes, I have a monster!
Now, what will I do with it? Here are my plans:
- Primarily, the monster will sit on my writing desk to serve as “inspiration” for creepy crafts and other projects during the month of “Projectober”—which is the scariest month of the year—mostly for everyone in my house.
- It will remind me of things I need to do, when it’s not holding the spiked club and lollipop. In that case, it will hold:
–Dentist appointment cards.
–Hair appointment cards.
–Mammography appointment cards.
–The IT department phone number at work.
–Evil macaroni salad recipe.
–The occasional sandwich.
In other words, I’ve created an assistant for myself. Oh, the wisdom that comes with age! His hair is perfect. All of the kids will be so jealous.
In other news: I have a short story out in Living Paranormal Magazine. It’s a fictional story about a haunted tiki bar. It’s called “Table 42” and it’s the last story listed in the table of contents. Enjoy!
Your turn: If you visit a tourist spot that offers crafts, do you participate? What’s the latest craft/project you’ve completed?