When Elaine has trouble sleeping, she comes downstairs to ask for a dream. Her dad or I then tell her a brief sketch of a story, a starting place for something to dream about. Once I told her that she had a basket of puppies, and each of the puppies had an amazing skill -- one played beautiful music on the piano while another one whipped up a delicious meal. Lately, though, all of the dreams feature a set of characters that her dad introduced: the space moose.
The space moose came down in a giant spaceship, each of them wearing a helmet large enough to cover its entire head, including antlers. Every night, the space moose, Elaine, and her closest companion Hobbes go on grand adventures together. They took a road trip to a glittering, diamond city, and at the top of the tallest building all the birds flying around could talk to them. Another time, the space moose made Elaine her own giant helmet with antlers in it, and they all played a game much like Calvin Ball. And once the space moose asked Elaine to help them build an ice cream sundae as big as a planet.
Tonight, Elaine's dad told her that the space moose plan to take her to a space restaurant where you can order anything, even a sock-and-ice-cream sandwich, followed by a trip to the space zoo.
I asked Elaine what she planned to order at the space restaurant.
After some thought, she said, "A jacket-and-computer lasagna. And a tuna-sock-and-fork sandwich for Hobbes."
I asked what animal she was most excited to see at the space zoo.
Without hesitation, she said something with a lot of 's' sounds in it. When I asked what that creature looked like, she said that she didn't know.
"Then, you'd better hurry off to bed," I said, "so that you can find out."