I've read enough fantasy and horror where my first thought upon hearing this was, Oh my God, the malicious undead have found a portal to this world through my innocent child. I really hope this doesn't turn into a thing where we're facing off against the forces of evil.
What actually came out of my mouth was, "So is he staying for dinner? Where do you think he should sit? Will you be setting a place for him?"
(If you're dealing with malice from beyond, best not to tip your hand that you're on to them until you've had a chance to scope out the threat, no?)
Anyway. Black Hand is now a part of our family life. He's often expressing strong preferences for one school outfit over another. He has opinions on dinner. He bails around bathtime. He has a rich inner life, which he expresses frequently to us via my child.
Here are things we have learned about Trixie's imaginary friend.
1. Black Hand is a grown man.
2. Trixie and Black Hand met at the "party dungeon." When we asked what a party dungeon was, we were told that, duh, it's "a dungeon for parties." This has led to Phil and I making up a thrash-metal song about the Party Dungeon, with lyrics:
Party dungeon/the dungeon for parties/and quinceaneras/ for a reasonable rate
3. Our child tells us she was attending the party dungeon in her professional capacity as Dr. Hammer. This is not a medical position, we have been informed. Naturally, we have a thrash-metal origin ballad for Dr. Hammer too:
Dr. Hammer/the hammer for doctors/her dissertation/was on hi-iii-iii-itting things
Black Hand is appropriately deferential to people who have had some graduate school.
4. Although Black Hand is quite tall, he prefers curling up and sitting in the foot well below Trixie's car seat.
5. Or sometimes, Black Hand floats outside the car like a balloon.
6. Black Hand is actually quite skilled at levitation. He is frequently to be found floating outside our kitchen window, watching us eat. Watching and waiting, waiting, waiting.
7. Black Hand does not share. My daughter often puts him in time-out for this.
8. Black Hand has short red hair. Unless he has yellow hair. Unless his hair is long and black.
9. Black Hand is 21. Every day is his birthday.
10. To the best of our knowledge, Black Hand never has a hangover.
11. Black Hand is scared to do a somersault.
12. Black Hand relies on our daughter as his yogi, and needs a lot of direction on the triangle pose.
13. Black Hand has no eyes, only skin where his eyes are.
14. This has not stopped Black Hand from crying in empathy whenever I stymie one of Trixie's more three-year-old-like moments.
15. Black Hand often teleports between his house and wherever we are. He always knows where we are. Always.
16. Black Hand would like to learn to read, but he doesn't know his letters. "Is that because he can't see them?" I asked. "No, he just cries because he doesn't know them," replied my daughter.
17. Black Hand is often in sympathy with Goofus, of Goofus-and-Gallant fame, my daughter tells me. Black Hand is quite concerned that Goofus's mother doesn't love him.
18. Black Hand loves to dance at the end of Yo! Gabba Gabba. This is usually on the days when he has no legs. (Black Hand can apparently lose and regenerate limbs at will, like some sort of lizard person.)
19. Black Hand spends a lot of time hitting my child, taking her things or trying to push her. I get these reports secondhand from my child. I am beginning to suspect she's an unreliable witness.
20. Black Hand doesn't like to clean things up. He teleports home, crying, if I tell him to knock off the whining and start picking up bristle blocks.
21. Black Hand does not go to school, nor does he like being around Trixie's other friends. He is mum on what he does when she's otherwise occupied.
22. My daughter refuses to draw pictures of Black Hand. Perhaps Black Hand is afraid a crayon drawing will steal his soul. Or perhaps once his likeness is committed to paper, we'll see a weird, Dorian Gray-like effect.
23. I can't wait to find out what Black Hand has to say about this tomorrow.