The Principality Of Adenoids

In this adventure past puberty,
our magical puppet heroes,
Pongo and Rico,
must save some children who are
being sacrificed to a minotaur.
And they take along as their companion
Crazy Croc.

Only it turns out children
aren't being sacrificed,
they're having their faces wiped.
And they aren't being led to a minotaur.
It's a mentor.
And Crazy Croc has changed his name.
He's Larry the Lawyer.

But then it turns out that the children are teenagers,
and they don't want their faces wiped.
And the mentor is a sports coach,
for whom winning is his only thing.
And Larry is curious about untypical
sexual matters.

And there's a giant television screen on the island
that constantly displays pictures of teenagers kissing
and buying things.
And the coach thinks he's a model for how to be strong,
but he forgets things like children's dying mothers
once the letter of intent is signed, and he
accepts their injuries
as part of the game.

Meanwhile, Larry,
whose name is now Cowboy Bob,
has bought a motorcycle and tattoo,
and he everywhere sees images of himself as a teenager,
especially in the mirror.
Tender, excitable, unformed.

And Cowboy Bob is on the television screen,
along with surgically enhanced young women in bikinis
and ads for stimulating beverages
and violent boys.

And many of the teenagers start developing
multiple versions of themselves to match the many
ephemeral ideas of who they should be,
with these multiple versions sometimes hanging out together
to create nasty scenarios.

And Geppetto looks furious
but admits to nothing,
leaving Pongo and Rico
struggling to fulfill their heroic role,
thinking about the cowardly puppet, Peeko,
who was weak-kneed and resentful,
overreacting, confused, and sad,
and who ran away.
They suspect he was an earlier and smaller version of themselves,
made by G. and considered too flawed too soon,
so that Peeko suffered not from physical fear
but from despair.

Which prompts Pongo and Rico to focus on
the lost tribe of Peeko,
the ones who withdraw or associate,
insulated or angry, survivors or victims,
with future or no,
the ones who make themselves ugly and unpleasant,

because a cowardly puppet can sometimes escape,
even if his memories can't,
and all you need to do is to look at
the scarred runaways
sleeping in the park,
most with blankets pulled over their faces for privacy,
and see the one slender head visible,
the face of a sleeping child,

to miss the self-deprecating humor
and decency
of Crazy Croc.