Sometimes, I would like to get in touch with my inner child and beat the crap out of him. I know what he looks like; I've seen the pictures of that gawky brat, wearing bottle-thick Run-DMC specs and braces and a helmet made of hair. If he ever shows his freckled face again, I'm going to crush him to death with the boxes of comic books (all tucked in their protective neoprene sleeves, of course) he left in my closet. Then, I will beat him bloody with the Captain Kirk and Batman and Mr. Spock and Green Lantern and Spider-Man dolls he left on the bookshelves in my study. I'll make him pay for draining my checking account, purchasing first issues of comics he thought were gonna be valuable one day, the dumb bastard. And I know he won't fight back, because the little brat always was a coward, running from the idea of a fight, much less the real thing. No wonder he always thought people were laughing at him behind his back. They were, especially when his mom bought him that little gold chain for being such a brave trouper the day he got his braces put on.
Every now and then, I can see him out of the corner of my eye--sneaking into a comic shop when no one's looking, insisting he's there for work, as though that's any way to make a living. Sometimes, he'll be sitting on the couch, tuning in to some Star Trek rerun on the Sci Fi Network. Catch him, and he'll swear he's only watching for the "kitsch value," like he knows what that means. One night, he was just sitting at the edge of my bed playing Medal of Honor on a Sony PlayStation; he woke my wife and me up by shouting, "Dude, didja see that head shot!?" And once, I heard him on the phone talking to a publicist for MGM, insisting he needed all the James Bond special-edition DVDs for some story he was working on, but he couldn't keep a straight face and was summarily hung up on. I chased him out of the office, brandishing the light-saber he dropped. I was gonna Ben Kenobi his ass. When I couldn't catch him--too many cigarettes, too much coughing and wheezing--he started yelling, "The Force is strong with this one! The Force is strong with this one!" in a high, nasal voice. I also strongly suspect it was he who started hanging those Erin Gray/Colonel Wilma Deering posters around the house, but that may actually be my handiwork.
My inner child is an elusive little dude; he once appeared on a milk carton, and not a single person called with news of his whereabouts, though my parents offered me 50 bucks to keep him lost. I suspect he may be easily found this weekend, however, and plan to capture him when he's in line waiting for a Richard Kiel autograph at the Hollywood Expo at the Plano Center. Only a fool believes the Roger Moore Bond films were better than those with Sean Connery, but my inner child always did have a thing for The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, in which Kiel appeared as Jaws--must be a braces thing. Or maybe he'll be hanging out with Walter Koenig, Star Trek's Mr. Chekov. Sure, Koenig might have been a second-season addition, teeny-bop bait to lure in the Monkees set, but my inner child is happy enough touching the hem of history's extras. Only last month, he could be found in the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles, trying to decide whether to buy Nichelle "Lt. Uhura" Nichols a drink as she sat at the bar. (My inner child carries with him a fake ID that says he's 31.) If it were me, I'd be trying to figure out how to cozy up to Bond girls (well, at least they used to be girls) Gloria Hendry and Caroline Munro. My inner child remembers Munro only from her stint as a reporter in Adam Ant's "Goody Two Shoes" video.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
2000 E. Spring Creek Pkwy
It will not be easy finding the little dude inside the Plano Center. The joint will be run amok with thousands of people who look just like him, all hoping to spend a few seconds in the company of Julian Glover (the sci-fi fan's trifecta, since he's been a villain in For Your Eyes Only, The Empire Strikes Back, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), William B. Davis (The X-Files' Smoking Man), William Sanderson (the toy-maker in Blade Runner), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett and a bit player in two Bond films) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca). Or they'll be poring over tables of comics and toys and movie memorabilia, all for sale at reasonably marked-up prices. Odds are, my inner child will be among them all, covered in drool.