I See KerDoodles

So if aliens are visitors from another place, are ghosts visitors from another dimension? Or another time? I’m fascinated with the interplay between we living, corporeal, sentient animals and the spiritual, insubstantial echoes of people who have supposedly gone on before. I’ve had a few experiences, but I still don’t know the answers – nor does anyone – of what actually happens on the other side of the veil. What I do know, however, is that if humans have these questions, so too do KerDoodles. They are, after all, reflections of ourselves.

With this ‘fact’ in mind I started exploring interactions between us (we being KerDoodles ourselves) and them. This was fun for me. There were again new techniques to learn, including but not limited to opacity and transparency. I had fun drawing the expressions on the faces of the KerDoodles who encountered these entities. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, I don’t think anyone can deny it’s a fascinating subject.

This one was the first.

These indeterminate, monk-like apparitions are gliding through the snow from and to who knows where. It’s an idyllic scene on a photographic background. Its function was, pure and simple, to showcase the transparency feature. If you look really closely you can in fact see through them, though if I were drawing this one today I confess I would make them larger and more obviously transparent. They are strange-looking KerDoodles indeed! The ears are there, but the shape otherwise is just a little off. In fact, if I remember rightly, this was drawn before I had really figured out how to use the zoom feature for detailed drawing. This has the distinctive look of an early work – it’s right on the edge of inexperience.

So is this one, where a KerDoodle angel is rising from the earth to the heavens.

I’m not sure what I was going for here, although I think it had to do with KerDoodle mortality. How do you like my version of the Earth? It shows vague representations of Australia, Africa and South America. I think.

Here’s Richard again – the ghost kidoodle on the school bus.

He sure does look lonely, doesn’t he? It occurred to me one morning after the morning run. I had parked the bus in the yard and as I did my customary ‘last glance’ down the shell of the bus I wondered if Richard ever forgot to get off the bus at the school with the other kidoodles. If he did, he might well feel pretty sad as he waited for the afternoon run.

Let me explain Richard a bit more for you. Richard was a construct of my genius mother from when I was little. Sometimes in our Lynton Avenue home there would be creaks and groans and noises which scared my sister and I. Well, my mom told us not to worry – that it was only Richard, fooling around in the attic. She explained him as a little fellow who was just having fun, so we didn’t need to worry about anything. Richard has stuck with me through all these years. I still blame him for strange noises and lost keys. He doesn’t mind.

When I was driving the school bus he made himself available again. At one point in my route in the second year, because of this and that and the other, it wasn’t unusual for us to be ahead of our schedule. Well, that’s no good, because parents time things so that they arrive with their kids at the stop about five minutes ahead of the bus. So if the bus is early, the parents become late and they could potentially miss the bus.

Because of traffic concerns and consideration it’s not always easy to wait at the bus stop itself (quite a few of them are in fairly busy intersections), so I chose a quiet spot where – if I was ahead of schedule – we could sit for a few minutes and not bother anyone. It was only usually three or four minutes – if at all – not much. But it was enough to pique the interest of some of the kids on the bus.

“Bus driver, why do we stop here every day when no one gets on?”

“Well, sweetie, this is Richard’s stop. We have to wait for Richard.”

“Who is Richard?”

I, incredulous: “Richard? Well, he’s the ghost kid. I thought you knew him. He speaks very highly of you.”

“Oh, that Richard. Yes, I know Richard. Is he here yet?”

I look at the clock on the dashboard.

“No, not yet. Unless… yes, that’s him over there. Look, he’s running towards us!”

“He looks funny when he runs!”

“Well, I think I’ll tell him you said that.”

“No, don’t! Please, bus driver. Please don’t tell him.”

“Well, okay. He’s crossing the road now. Nice job – looking both ways.”

And then I’d watch the sidewalk in front of the bus, following ‘Richard’ visually as he approached the doors. I’d open the doors to let him in, close them behind him, then watch in the number seven mirror (the big one for watching inside activities) to see where he chose to sit down today.

“Move over a bit, Lexie. He wants to sit next to you.”

“Really?” Lexie, or Clarissa, or Maisie would say (whoever he decided to sit next to), but then she’d move over and look beside her. Perhaps she’d smile. Perhaps she’d frown. Either way, she believed, and that was the important thing.

It’s possible the kids thought I was crazy for going through this little drama every day, but I don’t think so. As evidence of this, I will tell you that there were a few times when we weren’t ahead of schedule so I didn’t need to stop.

“Bus driver, you forgot Richard!”

“Oh, no, sweetie – Richard’s mom let me know this morning that he won’t be on the bus today. He has a bit of a sniffle.”

“Aww.”

I had fun with that. Maybe someday those kids will remember their kooky bus driver. Maybe. But maybe too the anticipation of being the first to see Richard running for the bus has fired their imagination a bit. Perhaps that imagination will inspire them in some way. If that’s the case, then I will have done a good thing.

The next ghost was inspired indeed. I got the idea because I’ve been religiously using an online tool to try to learn Spanish for several years now.

So, it occurred to me that all those ghost hunters who go to another country to film a TV show really are silly. They go all the way to Rumania, say – and they speak to the Rumanian spirits in English! Nary an interpreter in sight! And the presumption to me is breathtaking – that English should somehow be known to a spirit who only ever spoke Rumanian in life. Breathtaking impertinence!

So this one needed to be drawn because it occurred to me that the same barriers that exist for the corporeal might well be in effect for the spiritual. It has an ethereal feel to it. It’s a misty night with a full moon. The ghost is indeed following our hero home – not because he has any real drive to follow him, but because he doesn’t know what the heck he’s saying. Communication is so important.

Next, the wisdom of your ancestors. Also inspired, I had it in mind before I began. It took about one day to draw. It illustrates the need to pay attention – even when we’re sleeping – lest we miss out on important information.

And here’s a fairly terse poke at the burial process.

The ghost of the ‘customer’ in the coffin is watching as his body is carried to its final resting place. It’s a solemn occasion, to be sure, but it hasn’t escaped his attention that they aren’t using the high-quality coffin he ordered – and paid for! Let this be a lesson to the providers of these services: they are being watched.

After I drew this, it occurred to me to wonder why they are burying him at either sunrise or sunset. Maybe they’re just trying to sneak the illicit burial in. But, you ask, where are the family? Are there no loved ones? Maybe that’s the real reason our hero is annoyed at the cheap coffin.

Sometimes when I’m in my kitchen I’ll be working away at this or that – chopping onions, wiping, tidying, stirring – when all of a sudden I’ll feel like something just passed by the kitchen window on the outside. I’ll turn quickly and look, but there’s never anything there. Well, that was the inspiration behind this one.

Perhaps, it occurs to me, there is something to see, but when I’m looking straight ahead I just can’t see it. Perhaps it’s there now, doing what this ghost KerDoodle is doing – sticking his tongue out at me.

How about some ghost hunters?

I don’t know if you’ve watched those shows on TV where a crew of ghost hunters visits an abandoned structure in an attempt to hear or see strange occurrences. They go with so much equipment – recorders, flashing lights, grids of laser light, ULS, DSLR, UPS, sometimes even ELO! Now, I don’t know what all those mean, but I thought a few of those investigatory moments needed to be captured in KerDoodle form, so here you go.

In the first, there’s a ghost shouting, trying to get through. Apparently, though, none of their equipment is picking him up. This one grew from me, wondering how often that happens.

In this one we see the ghost KerDoodle banging a ghostly object on a pipe on the wall. He’s making a noise which has attracted the attention of our valiant hunters, though of course they can’t see anything because he’s behind a box. This one was scary enough that I thought a teddy bear was a good idea. Of course, even the teddy bear looks a little bit disconcerted.

In this next one, our intrepid crew are caught in mid exploration when a spirit suddenly walks out of the wall.

Everyone’s shocked, of course, including the guy outside, looking in. The ghost cat is not upset but, well, it’s a cat and I don’t think anything upsets cats. The guy in the basement has red eyes and is peering up from behind a bucket with the good advice on it of, ‘don’t kick the bucket’. Presumably we should worry about making a lot of noise.

I remember this one took me almost a week to draw. There are so many layers involved here – at least thirty, probably more, and there are a lot of little details. The hangman’s noose, the spider, the picture on the wall, the bucket, the boot, the teddy bear, the scarf, the flashlights (and their light), the ceiling tile falling down, the cracks on the floor, the holes in the wall. If you’re not paying attention, you could miss stuff. So pay attention!

Of course, I got to thinking about the relationship between ghosts and humans. I mean, if we’re so organized and so structured here, what about them? Are they free to go where they want, to do what they want, to scare who they want? Or are they subject to schedules as we are? If they are free of this mortal coil, are they free of all obligations and responsibilities, or are they bound as we are to rigid expectations? Is the act of haunting a matter of ghostly rights and pleasures, or is it the job that was assigned to them when they checked out?

In this one, Hank is scheduled for the 1am haunting, and he’s good at it. Because of how reliable he is, a corpykerdy (empirical, not rhetorical) has established a ghost-hunting tour to begin fifteen minutes ahead.

Great. Now I’m wondering what they do in their time off.

Halloween is a magical, mystical time of year for kids of all sizes and ages, as evidenced in this little offering.

The sight in the street, around my house anyway, is something to behold. Little ghosts and goblins, lords and ladies, witches, robbers and pirates, and yes, even a little Charlie Brown, breeze eagerly from suburban house to suburban house in the irreducible hunt for Halloween swag. There’s a mom, making sure, and a little red devil being devilish. Pumpkins, bats, a flying witch, and a ghost. Does it get any better than this? My mom says I’m good at the facial expressions. What do you think? Do you agree? Be very careful, disagreeing with my mom.