It is 1990. My hair is huge; my car gets 14 miles to the gallon; and thas a remote control in the shape of the 14 miles to the gallon, and t my neck. ""nd the dramatic pronouncement of his " his fhe TV, a thick-bodied, multi-dialed contraption, has a remote control in the shape of the three-and-a-half-foot, blue-eyed, blonde-haired child standing in front of it.
His right hand on the channel changer, he turns to me, a look of willful mischief on his face.
I narrow my eyes at him, and he mirrors the expression.
“What’re you doing?”
I narrow my eyes a bit further.
“I don’t believe you,” I say.
He smiles. “I’m gonna too-en the channel.”
“You are not,” I say.
He laughs. “I am!” he says. “I’m gonna too-en it.”
He shrugs, suddenly nonchalant in an ice-cream? what-ice-cream? kind of way. “I dunno.”
I lean forward, pull the TV Guide from the coffee table. I flip to the day’s page.
“Stephen King's classic novel made for a terrifying mini-series about seven childhood friends whose lives are threatened by a demonic creature known as IT and how they try to put a stop to the killings he commits in routine. Twenty-seven years later, they must face him once again as they discovered that IT was not killed after all.”
I look up. “You gotta be kidding me.”
“Othew people ah gonna watch it.” We are in the precious phase between the start of speech therapy just a week ago and the dramatic pronouncement of his “r”s just two weeks from now.
“Other people, sure,” I say. “Just not other kindergartners.”
He nods at me emphatically. “They ah too,” he says. “Weally.”
“Dylan,” I reason, “Stephen King writes scary books. This is a scary movie based on his scary book.”
He smiles the smile of a well-loved child. “I’m gonna too-en it. I’m gonna do it!”
“Don’t do it,” I say. “Don’t do it.”
I shake my head. “Listen to your mother,” I warn. “Don’t turn that channel.”
“I’m gonna do it!”
And so now it’s my turn to shrug, which I do. “As your mother, I’m advising against this.”
He smiles, shrugs again – and turns the channel.
And it is in that very instant that the hideous face of a grinning, maniacal clown fills the 19” screen, lurid and horrible.
“AH!” The Boy jams the off button; and the screen goes black. He launches his body across the room and onto mine, knocking me back in the rocker.
I hold him tightly as he whispers into the side of my neck.
“What’s that?” I say.
He turns his head slightly, his small, vulnerable forehead pressed to me. “I said that you wew wight.”
And it seems wrong, but I smile.
And I hold him tighter.