When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, and I played with a bunch of plastic dolls.
My favourite was a dark haired, five-o’clock-shadowed Butch Cavendish, the Lone Ranger’s arch-enemy, dressed all in black with numerous scars running down his plastic face who got far more play time than the Lone Ranger in his conservative sky-blue outfit that was too neat and tidy.
I’d always go out of my way to mess the Lone Ranger up. I’d bury him in dirt, throw him in the fishpond, muck him up good and wild.
I also had Captain Hook. And if I was having a bad day at school or a girlfriend dumped me, I’d pull off his hook and swap his great swashbuckling shirt that looked like a galleon’s sails with one of my sister’s dolls’ dresses.
I also had a few plastic dolls from Planet of the Apes. I would scare the religious neighbour with them, raise them up over the fence between our houses and reenact original sin and have them explain Darwin’s Origin of Species while the neighbour hung out her dirty washing.
My Mum threatened to castrate me and send me off as a castrato after that outburst. My Mum did, however, have a sense of humor, thank god. She sensed it in me and was determined to drive it out.
But getting back to the Lone Range. He did come with this great wagon. It was full of barrels, spoons, forks, cups, a plastic fire, wood, rifle, bed roll, can of beans, extra saddle. It was fucking brilliant. And truth be told, I wanted nothing more than to have a wagon of my own, eat Wagon Wheels, and drive off into the sunset leaving my family behind. There were many nights that I dreamed some kindly Western spirit, like Crow or Coyote or Peyote, would come to my room, shrink me down in size, so that I could have the wagon all to myself. And since it was already so well supplied. I would want for nothing. And when people would see me rolling along in my wagon in the Welsh hills, they would point and say, “There goes Dai Dragon, Wales’ first cowboy.”
It never happened, though. I grew up and put away childish things.