“I’m starting to worry about something,” Billy said, a bit hesitantly. The seven-year-old was lying on a grassy hill, looking at the sky.
“What are you worried about?” said Grontarr, the twelve-foot creature lying next to him.
“I’m worried that you’re not…that you’re not real.”
Grontarr furrowed his brow, or at least his version of it. His furry purple face had only one, very large eye that left little room for a forehead. The eye glared at Billy a long moment before Grontarr finally broke out laughing.
“Hahaha. Not real! That’s hilarious!”
Grontarr’s laughs revealed the expanse of his cartoonishly frightening mouth. Sharp, oversized teeth struggling for space. A wide maw that seemed built on an endless swivel. And then there were the two tongues that gave his gravelly voice a lilting tint.
“It’s not that funny,” sniffed Billy. Grontarr’s guffaws finally ran their course.
“So, what, I’m like, your imaginary friend?”
Grontarr grew a bit concerned. He nervously pressed his finger against his own chest, dozens of small horns peeking through his patchwork tunic.
“But…I feel real. I have a mother. And a father.”
“But how do I know I didn’t just imagine them too?”
Grontarr looked stumped a moment.
“I guess you’re right.”
“We look so different. Like we’re not from the same planet.”
Grontarr looked back and forth, comparing his gargantuan Velosian frame with that of the four-foot human. Tri-fingered hands bigger than Billy’s head. The small feet of the boy dwarfed by Grontarr’s metal hoofs.
The two friends turned their attention back to the sky, worried as to where the conversation was headed. Grontarr finally broke the silence.
“We’ve had so much fun playing together. I don’t want it to end.”
Billy turned his head quizzically, as if doing a math equation in his mind.
“Why would it end?”
“Well, if I’m not real, you’ll eventually leave me to play with someone who is.”
Billy’s face quickly grew angry.
“I would never do that to you Grontarr! Never. We are friends for life.”
“Yes. Friends for life. Say it with me.”
“Friends for life!” the pair shouted, smiling. Grontarr started tickling Billy, who began laughing hysterically.
The merriment dying down, Billy and Grontarr laid back and turned to the sky. Billy smiled and sighed.
“I love you, Grontarr.”
“I love you too, Billy.”
Just then, the pair heard the sound of footsteps approaching. A shadow appeared over them. A scraggly voice boomed out.
“Dinner’s almost ready. Wash your hands.”
“Okay, mom!” the pair yelled in unison before cracking up with giggles.
“It never gets old,” remarked Billy.
“Are you playing with your imaginary friend again?” asked Mom.
“Who’s to say what’s imaginary?” replied Grontarr. “Who truly knows what’s real and what isn’t?”
Grontarr and Billy shared a knowing smile.
“I guess you’ve got me there, Grontarr,” replied Mom, shaking the furry purple head that sat atop her nineteen-foot frame. “But you still need to wash your hands.”
JOSH KRAVITZ has been a writer since he was in the womb, when he penned What to Expect When You're Expected. He lives in L.A. with his laptop and is celebrating a birthday this year.