“Can we go home yet?” I whined to my mother, as she squinted at me through her camera lens.
“Smile, darling!” she encouraged as I wailed and thrashed in the arms of Scooby-Doo. I hated Wonderland, despite my constant nagging to go there. I endured each visit because I was obsessed with fairy floss and I hadn’t yet figured out that you could buy it from any standard lolly shop. Once I’d gotten my sugar fix, the theme park’s crowds made me nervous, the rides didn’t seem safe, and the life-sized cartoon characters roaming the grounds and posing for photos completely terrified me. Most kids ran to these characters, swarmed them and jostled for a hug with their new furry friend. However, I was under no illusion that these beings were my favourite cartoon-network personalities. I wasn’t fooled by the costumes or the funny voices. I knew exactly what they were: creepy adults wearing full-body suits in order to lure children into close physical contact.
Which is why I ran from Scooby-Doo as soon as he let me drop to the ground. I ran straight into Fred Flinstone, and when he too tried to scoop me into his burly arms, thick with muscles from whittling away hours in a prison gym while serving his pedophilia sentence, I punched him in the crotch and turned to my parents.
“Can we go home now?” I asked. And we left.