Richard

(AUTHOR NOTE: My publisher told me I could post a chapter from the new book. There were 25 chapters to choose from, but I chose this one. Because I wanted to give you a love letter. And it seemed like the most appropriate love letter to give you would be an extremely indirect one that screams, "DO NOT FEEL SCARED—I AM JUST INTERACTING WITH YOU!!") 

                                                                            ---------------------------------

For the first few years of my life, the only people I knew how to find lived in my house.


We had a neighbor, Richard. But Richard was quiet and rarely outside for long, so I didn't know about him. 

One afternoon, though, Richard went outside.


That's how I found out about him.


I did not interact with Richard. I just saw him. He probably didn't even know. He stood in his driveway for a minute or two and then went back into his house. But I saw him. I think that was the main thing.


It was very exciting. A person lives next to us!  person!  He lives right there! And I SAW him!  When will he go outside again?  What else does he do?  Does he know about dad? Who is his friend?  Does he like whales?  Is his house the same as ours?  Which room does his grandma live in?


Desperate to catch another glimpse of him, I'd lurk near the windows all day just staring at his house.


I think I expected it go somewhere. You can't find out there's a person living right next to you and then never get any answers. Maybe if you're 100 and you know everybody, but not if you're 3. Not when it's the first stranger you know how to find. I just wanted to know more. Anything.


And this is as far as it would have been able to go if it wasn't for the dog door.


My grandma usually supervised me while my parents were at work. She'd drink screwdrivers and do the crossword, I'd run around the house and do whatever. If she hadn't seen me in a while, she'd check to make sure I still had all my fingers, but escaping wasn't a big concern. The doors were locked. Just in case, there were jingle bells on the handles. 

The dog door was the single weak point in the fortress.


The revolutionary impact the dog door had on my ability to observe Richard was second only to the discovery of Richard himself.  

I was cautious at first. 

I just wanted to get a little closer. Just a little. I'd sneak out through the dog door and go stare at his house from the edge of our driveway, hoping this would summon him. When it didn't, I'd sneak a little closer. Maybe it'll work if I stand in Richard's driveway…. or, actually, maybe I'll just go over to this little window here and see what I can see… 


I started sneaking out more frequently. I started sneaking out at night. And the fact that I was sneaking seems to suggest I might've been at least partially aware that this type of behavior should be a secret, but I don't think I'd reached that crucial developmental turning point where you're capable of recognizing how creepy you're being. 

However, on the night I found the cat door in Richard's garage, even my undeveloped, fish-level brain could sense that a boundary was about to be crossed. A tiny, instinctual trace of doubt—the wisdom of my ancestors whispering through the ages: This might be too weird of a thing to do… 


Of course, one of the main features of undeveloped, fish-level brains is poor impulse control, and before I could complete the thought, I was in Richard's living room. 


I hadn't prepared for this possibility. I'd dreamed of it, sure. But I wasn't expecting it to HAPPEN. So I just stood there for a little while and then retreated to regroup.


A concrete objective never emerged, but the missions became bolder and more frequent. I started bringing things back with me. Richard's things. 

They seemed valuable, somehow. Richard likes these things…. perhaps they contain the secret to Richard…. 


A nonsensical collection of Richard's possessions slowly accumulated at the back of my toy drawer. 

This would prove to be my downfall. 

Long before that, though, my mom noticed that I'd mysteriously disappear sometimes. She wasn't worried yet because she didn't think I knew how to get out of the house, but one day she asked me where I'd been. 

And I said: 

"Hanging out with Richard."


"Hanging out" was a misnomer—Richard had been hanging out by himself and I had been standing in his hallway just out of view—but this was concerning news for my parents. They didn't even know that I knew Richard, let alone that we'd been "hanging out." They went over and knocked on Richard's door and asked him about it, probably with thinly-veiled suspicion regarding Richard being a child predator. And Richard, who was still somehow unaware of all the hanging out we'd been doing, told them he didn't know anything about that.


I imagine things were tense for a bit. The suggestion that I'd been hanging out with Richard was disturbing for both my parents and Richard. But the clues piled up. I couldn't control myself. I took more things, bigger things. I also branched over into hiding things for Richard to find. Pretty rocks, pieces of string, letters I'd tried to write. At that age, I didn't know how to spell very many words, so the messages were fairly cryptic: the entire alphabet, followed by the word Mom and a drawing of the sun. Rampant scribbling, hundreds of tiny circles, and... is this a spider?? 

The spider was supposed to be Richard. I hadn't figured out how many arms and legs people are supposed to have yet, so I just put a whole bunch on there and hoped it was enough. I didn't want him to feel offended because I shortchanged him on legs. 


It must've come off like being haunted by a defective but well-meaning ghost. 


The connection should have been obvious. But, when faced with a mystery like, "Where did my remote control go? Why is there a piece of paper with a child's handwriting on it hiding in the VCR? And how do these rocks keep getting in here?" almost no rational adult would jump to the conclusion "because a child has been sneaking in through my cat door and leaving these for me to discover." Not even with clues. I don't know what theory Richard came up with to explain it, but it almost certainly wasn't that one. 


Similarly, when faced with a mystery like "why does our child keep disappearing? And why has our child been "hanging out" with our 40-year-old neighbor?" almost no rational adult would jump to the conclusion: "because our child has become obsessed with our 40-year-old neighbor, and 'hanging out' is a loose term to describe the activity of spying."


The thing that finally blew my cover was stealing Richard's cat.

Stealing it wasn't the original plan. The opportunity presented itself, I seized it. 


It was a strong animal. Getting it into the drawer was difficult. I didn't have a plan for what to do with it, but I knew I had something valuable, and I think the thought process was that I should save it for later. For when I figured out how to capitalize on the probably unlimited potential of this. 


It lived in the drawer for a while. I don't know how long. Hours, probably.


And now it is time for a quick fact about cats: cats aren't good secrets, because, under extreme duress, they have the ability to make a sound like:

YAOAOAOAOAOAOAOAOAOAOAOAOAOAOAOAOAOAOAOAO

My parents eventually realized the sound was coming from inside the house and located the source of it.


They weren't expecting to find quite so many of Richard's things.


I don't know if they put the pieces together immediately, or processed them individually as they came up—"first of all, there's a cat in this drawer; How about that. Next up: there appear to be a considerable number of objects under the cat. This one is a shoe. This one is a piece of bread. This one is a credit card bill. Huh…it's addressed to 'Richard The Neighbor….'"—inching closer to the truth with every clue until the ultimate answer to "What does 'hanging out with Richard' mean?" was revealed. 

There was more than enough evidence to answer the question. 


That's got to be a strange moment for a parent. There's this omnipresent fear of predators and monsters, and you just… you never quite expect to find out the monster is your kid.

They confronted me after a strategy meeting about how the fuck to handle this. That's not something the books prepare you for. There's no chapter on what to do if you suspect your child is a predator. There's no Hallmark card for "Sorry we accused you of being a molester; we didn't realize our kid was sneaking into your house and stealing your spoons and animals and watching you while you sleep. We're really, really sorry."


That primal instinct I'd felt in Richard's garage flickered back online a little bit. Looking at the objects, and the freaked out cat, and my parents' confused faces, I realized that yeah, maybe this had been a weird thing to do....


I felt like I should explain why I had done this, but I didn't know either.

So we all just stood there, feeling weird about ourselves and each other.


The cat was stoked to be free, though. 


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE: You guys have been asking about what happened after the story ended—did my parents apologize to Richard? What did they say? What happened with the cat? 

I don't know exactly what my parents said in their apology, but I did my own apology later. Afterward, Richard gave me a stuffed rabbit as a peace offering. I named the rabbit "Bigwig," and it was my favorite toy for a very long time (the pink rabbit that shows up in this post and a couple other places in the book is an homage to Bigwig). 

I'm still trying to find actual Bigwig (I do still have him), but in the meantime, here is a picture of me, my sister, and Bigwig (I believe that's Richard's house in the background): 


This was probably a year or two after the incident described in the story. And, as you can see, Bigwig was already showing signs of extreme wear and tear. I truly loved him. He went everywhere with me. 

While searching for photos of Bigwig, I also found this: 


I didn't draw the cat correctly (in my memory, it's an adult cat), but my mom's caption leads me to believe that this was, in fact, the cat I stole from Richard. 

Anyway, Richard was (and probably still is) a very kind man. If he somehow reads this and realizes it's him, I hope it makes him feel beautiful. I feel like this gets it across a little better than my early attempts, at least.   



256 comments:

1 – 200 of 256   Newer›   Newest»
ChaosMandy said...

Yay! I can't wait to read the new book!

Vera said...

Literally nothing makes me laugh out loud as reliably as your writing and those ridiculous pictures. Thanks for being alive.

v money said...

Fuck yeah Ali!

v money said...

Fuck yeah Ali!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eastloch said...

I can only hope that someday Richard will see this and remember.

Christy said...

Oh no, I probably shouldn't be laughing at this as hard as I am. Poor Richard! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

Nicole Nishimura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stacey said...

OMG thank you so much! I haven't laughed this much in so long. I cannot wait for my 11yo nephew to read it, he has worn the pages down of your first book and has eagerly been waiting for the next!

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna take your personal copy of your book, and put it in a drawer. Maybe with a pigeon.

Megan P. said...

Yeah...kids are way weirder than I expected before I was a parent :D

Chelsea said...

Your book is the shining bright spot of 2020. I have already pre-ordered it and absolutely can't wait to read it. I am tempted to call in sick to work. Reading this story had me laughing so hard that it gave me a coughing fit. Sure, I had the brief moment of "is this Covid?" panic, but it was totally worth it.

Lynn said...

thank you for this incredibly timed piece of art. I didn't realize how much I needed it

Kittenfritters said...

Wonderful STORY. So glad you are back!

Laura said...

OMG.
People are missing the point! WHO ARE YOU CREEPING ON NOW!?
Seriously, we are so glad you were a weird kid..

...brb..

[nails cat door shut]

Can't wait to read the new book!

kathyberthahazel said...

I'm so, so glad you are back.

Ariel Beller said...

utter fucking brilliance.

Brenda from Flatbush said...

Weeping with laughter...

Sandra said...

So glad you're BACK Allie hope you're feeling good

avalongaladriel said...

How I have missed you! I needed these guffaws!

rrrrachel said...

Allie you are magic.

Anonymous said...

Robin Houchens said:

I love you. in a totally appropriate, non creepy way. But you have to stop reading my childhood memories via cranial electrodes (or something)

Jill said...

Your illustrated self is much more snake-like and slithery in this, I love it! Been reading since 2011–it’s so great to have a laugh reading another one of your stories.

Unknown said...

I'm so happy to see new material from you! Can't wait to read the new book!

Dreamer said...

I'm overjoyed to read this.

Unknown said...

I admire your ability to fit through a cat door. Pretty sure I could not even fit my head through one.

bridget said...

Yes! Excited for more!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! This is hilarious! So glad to hear there's more to come.

Melissa said...

Smack in the middle, I laughed out loud. My dog looked at me funny. I’m so happy you have a new book coming out. (And I wouldn’t have blamed Richard for moving away immediately. )

Lynsey Bock said...

I laughed so hard my face hurts now! I needed a good laugh today. Thanks, Allie!

Anonymous said...

yaaaaayyyyyyyy welcome back allie!! love your stories

Venessa said...

Putting a whole new spin on "child predator." So glad to be reading your new stuff. Yay!

Kat said...

We're so happy you're back.

Bbbbbbbbbn said...

don’t be a richard

Allie Smith said...

SO glad you are back! You have been missed!! ❤️

Larsson.a.p said...

Fantastic! I’ve preordered your book and I look forward to the rest of the chapters. Welcome back. We missed you!

Anastasia said...

I just laughed so hard my cats came over to see what was wrong with the mama human. I am in TEARS. :'D Exceptional as always.

JulieK said...

So excited to see you back!! I was an avid blog reader and hope you are doing well! Can't wait for this book!!

Lila said...

Omg. I thought i’d read this before bed and my annoyed husband said if i couldn’t laugh more softly could i please go into another room. I can’t remember the last time i laughed like this. Thank you - so glad you’re back!!

Anonymous said...

Life has been a bit tough recently, but I just laughed so hard I cried. Thank you, and welcome back!!

Anonymous said...

oh my god i missed hyperbole and a half so much

Unknown said...

How awesome it is to have your new book to look forward to! We so needed this!

Stacey D said...

I cannot wait for the new book! Thank you Allie for your hard work!

Nina said...

������

Robin said...

Holy shit this is amazing ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Cassie Peck said...

Laughing so hard I have tears down my cheeks, and also my husband staring at me and asking if I’m ok. Thanks Allie!

Mel Mol said...

Oh how I relate to you.

Broke-ass Socialite™️ said...

I missed yoooooou!!!

Unknown said...

Allie, I'm so glad you're back to writing. You have no idea how much I needed this today! I teared up from giggling so hard. You are awesome!

Unknown said...

Saaaammmme

Kat said...

My God, I have missed your stories... they really do stay with you.

Kat said...

My God, I have missed your stories... they really do stay with you.

nicole said...

“ first of all, there's a cat in this drawer; How about that.” - you kill me. i love it. i am soooooo glad you’re back.

Aeva said...

HAHHHH. Oh man. So glad you’re back.

La bellota said...

So glad you are back. This very nearly makes up for 2020. This and only this sparks joy.

La bellota said...

So glad you are back. This very nearly makes up for 2020. This and only this sparks joy.

kmb said...

It's really, really nice to see you again.

Anonymous said...

Laughing so hard right now, as always! Can't wait for the book. Thrilled you are back!!!!

Charity said...

I'm SO HAPPY you're back!!! This is fantastic.

Yuriinangel said...

Omg curiosity almost killed the cat! It just wasn't the cat's curiosity! thank goodness cats make noise. lol
I am SO HAPPY you are back!! SOOOOO HAPPYYYY!!! ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿฅฐ

Cathy said...

I was having such a bad day and feeling so anxious about everything and this just made me laugh and laugh. Thank you!

Conrad Hilton said...

Your book is exactly the object on the horizon I needed to keep me going through 2020, and now it's practically here!

Amber Foster said...

Already ordered my copy. I LOLed so hard when the cat is stolen. OMG. Genius.

pyrodancer89 said...

Omg I died laughing!! I've missed you so much I'm so glad you are back!! Already pre-ordered book 2!

Robyn said...

I love this Alot. [Insert drawing of me hugging an Alot.] And I love your work equally as much. [Insert drawing of me hugging my laptop whilst the Alot looks on.] It was such a bright spot to my evening to read your writing once again. I hope you're doing well. Congratulations on the new book!

Ian said...

What happened with Richard? Did he get his stuff back? Did he get his cat back? Did your parents apologize? I have so many unanswered questions. Well mostly just these. But I hope this is just part 1.

Lori said...

One thing is clear. You were a cat wrangling prodigy.

Amy said...

Freakin amazing. If I hadn’t been such a fraidy cat as a child I have a feeling I would have accomplished such amazing things. Please tell us what Richard’s reaction was.

Unknown said...

ALI!!!! OMG you’re ok!! And writing again!! Welcome back, I’ve missed your stories so much! And what a helluva story to premiere in these stupid times... I had to stop midway thru to collect myself and ensure I wouldn’t pee my pants laughing so damn hard...Just feeling weird about ourselves and each other...๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ Seriously, thank you for sharing your humor and experiences with us, I AM SO FUCKING HAPPY YOU’RE BACK!!!!

DStremel said...

I can't wait to "READ ALL THE WORDS and SEE ALL THE CARTOONS" in your new book!!! You're the BEST!!

Unknown said...

This is weird that I also remember distinctly having these feelings and associations with what existed for me and what didn't..... until it did and weirdness of the situations I got myself into and the impulsiveness overriding everything else resulting in mum needing to apologise in some way for my weird intrusiveness. I've just never verbalise or articulated it before. Thank you for putting into words (and pictures) for me

Unknown said...

So glad you're sharing your work with us again! First happy thing in a while...

KDS said...

I am so glad you are not dead after all. So glad!

Kelly Broomhall said...

This was awesome :D

Unknown said...

this cannot possibly be the end of the story. i need to know how richard took the news..

Unknown said...

Thanks for the post. It is hilarious. I can't wait for the book.

Blanche said...

Glad to know you're still around and doing well Allie!

I loved your stories all through Highschool (I'm 23 now!), and have missed you these past handful of years.

I pre-ordered, and am absolutely excited to read your new book.

Unknown said...

It's 3AM, and I just laughed so hard I woke the husband... Had to convince him he was just dreaming, because last night I woke him up yelling at the cats and he's tiiiired ๐Ÿ˜‚

Anonymous said...

"Hey mom, remember that guy I stalked when I was 3? The one I'd sneak in and watch him sleep while you were freaking out that he was some sort of molester? Do you remember his last name, or if he had moved before we did? I guess if you remember the address where we lived I can look up the address on refin, find out who was the owner at that time, check the property records for his info, then find him on PeopleFinder.

Why do I want that? Because I wrote about him in my book & I want to show him."

Mom: ........

Anonymous said...

I read this and laughed so hard, and then I started crying because I missed you and I was worried about you and now you've written a book and that's so great. So see, I'm creepy, too.

haloroundmyhead said...

My cat was sitting on my lap as I was reading this, and it must have been a while since he's witnessed me belly laughing. He was so confused by all of the shaking.

Laura said...

Oh allie, I missed you. :D

Elaine said...

I can't believe you got the cat into the drawer. Glad you're doing well. Art looks great! Especially the creeping, and cat. When I was 9ish I saw the Harriet the Spy movie and decided to take photos of my neighbors backyards, even tho the point of the story is pretty much that spying is bad.

mel1113 said...

Bwahahahaha. Omfg . This is magical, thank you .

glaebhoerl said...

I'm wheezing so hard I think I might die, thank you, I don't read books any more but I will read your book

bunkywise said...

My husband thinks I've gone around the bend after hearing me laughing out loud like a maniac in a different room. You are one of the few people in the world that can do this to me. This book will be in my house ASAP (tomorrow!)

Dogsledder said...

This is the spark that will turn 2020 around. This. Airspeed increasing, lift is occurring. I'm going to unpack my plastic dinosaurs in your honor. Thank you.

Trine said...

I definitely need this book in my life!

Unknown said...

When will this be published? I NEEEEEED IT

Laurel said...

It feels wonderful to be reading a new story. Welcome back ❤️

TheDemonClown said...

I am so happy you're back, LOL

Unknown said...

That was amazing, very very excited for your book!

Shaay said...

I just woke up my sleeping partner, because the harder I tried not to laugh, the more desperately funny this became. The good news is that he’s also a fan of yours.

Off to pre-order your book! I’m so excited to learn you have a new project about to land in our eager hands. You’re the bestest, Allie.

MeowAllieCat said...

Thank you for providing a bright spot in the otherwise dark, soulless, shadowy mush pile that is 2020. I pre-ordered the book and can't wait to read the entire thing in one day!

LaMaryKen said...

Husband found this chapter and sent me the link. Truly LOL funny. So very, very glad to see that you're back, Allie.

JennRue said...

You are brilliant (and no doubt can find me - I mean look how stealth you were at 3). Thanks for sharing yourself with us. It really is a delight and a relief. Take care and be kind to yourself!

Cheryl said...

When I look back at the filing pile of poo that 2020 was, I will at least have the one glimmering spot of light that was a new book from you. Thank you so much for making me tee-hee-hee so hard.

Lindsay said...

Seeing a Facebook notification from Hyperbole and a Half this morning made my YEAR!! I am so happy to see you back and absolutely can't wait to get my hands on this new book! Just pre-ordered it with a huge smile on my face. Finally something to look forward to in 2020. Thank you thank you thank you.

rbtzn said...

You're back <3

Jessica said...

I should've known better than to read this at work.

Unknown said...

So excited for the rest of the chapters! ❤

Unknown said...

ALLIE! Yesss thanks for gracing us all with your writing, best thing to happen in 2020 so far.

Calamity Bird said...

Wow, and I thought my childhood stalking story had been awkward! X-D

When I was in the first grade, I became a bit obsessed with my neighbor's dog. I would scale the fence when he wasn't home and play with her. I clearly remember one time I was over there and accidentally set off his home alarm system from the back porch and in a panic I hid in the doghouse with her while it blared.

I had always thought he didn't know, but one day he came and knocked on our door and told my parents he was moving away, couldn't take Daisy with him, but he knew that I adored her and came over to play with her and he offered her to us. And that, however weird, is how I got my first dog....

R said...

I'm trying *really* hard (and unsuccessfully) not to laugh out loud during online class. Thanks Allie, I was .3 seconds from dying of concentrated boredom.

WhizGidget said...

OMG, I tried not to laugh, but this was so good - you've still totally got it! It's so great to have you back Allie!

Childish Houndino said...

Fabulous. You remind me of me when I was a kid...parents wouldn't let their kids play with me, ha ha. But my weirdness wasn't quite as ingenious as yours. Can't wait for the book -- pre-ordered it immediately :)

Anonymous said...

I am literally in tears from laughing so hard. I can't wait to see the new book!

Anonymous said...

Finally, something good in 2020!

Unknown said...

Dear Allie, I am a bearded 40-year-old named Richard. My house is surrounded on four sides by young children and my 7-year-old is frankly diabolical. Please don't be offended that I'm boarding up my cat door. Love, Richard

jmk said...

Thank god you're back (at least a bit) - I haven't laughed this hard in ages! I am SO buying the book.

Unknown said...

Man, I seriously love her work. Such an undertone of hilarity, and great storytelling, honestly an amazing work overall, even if I read it a decade ago.

elvenbookworm said...

Thank you -- I'm absolutely cackling at work. :D I've preordered the book and am so excited to read the other 24 chapters!

Anonymous said...

WE MISSED YOU LIKE CRAZY

DianaG said...

God I missed you

StrategizerStrange said...

Wait though, I MUST know what happened next. What happened with Richard? Did you get to keep any of your treasures?

lolipopgore said...

The best post since the last one.

Unknown said...

I'M SO EXCITED FOR THE NEW BOOK! I'll try to act cool, though.

Tutness said...

As a parent of a toddler, I can't decide if I'm more amused or horrified XD WOW! that was ... that sure was something :> times were different, that's for sure.

Gunnah said...

Thank you for coming back. We all needed this :)

John Murphy said...

"So we all just stood there, feeling weird about ourselves and each other."

That is a wonderful sentence. I feel like it belongs on a needlepoint or something.

Kristi said...

I have been hoping that you are doing well and that your life is going the way that you want it to.
Your work, as always, is hilarious and wonderful.

steph said...

Thank you for the one good part of this year

Minnyeu said...

So happy to see this and be reminded of better internet times. All good feels to you

Sabra Smith said...

So excited. This chapter is like the prequel to "Harriet the Spy" that I've been waiting for.

fmcm said...

So glad you feel creative again. Thank you for that. As a fellow creepy online stalker (we prefer “devoted fan with boundary issues who may have given you a weird coloring book on behalf of other devoted fans”,) I salute your persistence. :)

fmcm said...

So glad you feel creative again. Thank you for that. As a fellow creepy online stalker (we prefer “devoted fan with boundary issues who may have given you a weird coloring book on behalf of other devoted fans”,) I salute your persistence. :)

Unknown said...

I laughed so hard I cried! Thank you so much - we missed you, welcome back!

Tom M Franklin said...

Thank you thank you thank you for coming back to us! We've missed you, we've needed you!

Robert I. said...

I'm totally holding out hope that Richard
A) is still alive;
B) find and begins reading this uproariously glorious story;
C) gets almost all the way through the whole thing before realizing that IT'S A STORY ABOUT HIM; and
D) laughs even harder as a result.

Starry*Gordon said...

I did some things like this a few times myself. On one occasion, when I was probably around 4 or 5, there was a neighbor allegedly named 'Mr. Scull' who did look sort of skull-like and was said to talk to birds. One hardly ever saw him, however, and so I never observed him to talk to birds myself. I was afraid to sneak into his house, but it proved easy to steal his mail (because the mailbox was outside the front door) and I stored it in a garden shed in the yard of my own house. I felt absolutely compelled to take the mail, open it, and inspect it closely. It was all businessy. Eventually I was ratted out by a supposed playmate-traitor. Parental persons arrived and a great to-do and crisis developed. I was supposed to go to the door and give the mail back to Mr. Scull and confess my crime, but when I knocked and rang the bell under stern supervision, no one came to the door. Mr. Scull's phone number was either unlisted or non-existent. Eventually the mail was stuffed in his mailbox with a note, but it just dreadfully stayed there for a couple of weeks. It seemed as if Mr. Scull had taken flight or gone up in smoke when his mail disappeared. In any case he escaped being cast as a predator.

Anonymous said...

One woman, using only her incredible ability to tell illustrated stories from her early childhood, swooped in before October, and single-handedly redeemed 2020. Hooray!

Benia Zouras said...

This story brings me right back into my own childhood brain of illogical behaviors and discoveries. Conclusion: kids are creepy.

heather said...

Laughed out loud while on Zoom (office hours, waiting for students, thank goodness there's a "waiting room" so they can't sneak in). So funny.

digitalbath11 said...

I'm dying LOL - how I've missed your adventures Allie!

EmilyArmour said...

I cannot explain my joy in finding you've returned with a whole new book. I've MISSED this!!!

Unknown said...

So glad you are back! It was was such a great surprise to discover this after such a horrible week and even horribler year. Thanks for the sneak peak--I just ordered 2 copies of your new book, one for my daughter and one for me plus another copy of your first book because my daughter "borrowed" my copy years ago and never returned it. I look forward to the laughs!

Anonymous said...

My son just turned 3 and I could imagine him doing all these things.
Those parenting books prepare you for exactly nothing kids actually get up to by the way.
Also I'm super excited that you're back! You were my favorite person on the internet for a long long time. And now that you're back I find that you still pretty much are.

Gigi said...

Oh Allie - you have been missed so very much.

And? Poor Richard. And your poor parents!

Malin said...

I'm so very glad that you're ok, and that in the bleak wasteland that is 2020 one of the bright spots is another book from you. This post had me laughing until my stomach hurt, which is quite the achievement these days. I hope my pre-ordered book arrives soon, so I get to read more amazing stories.

anon said...

This feels like an origin story for cat woman, are you the real life cat woman? Is batman real too?

Sarah said...

I was so happy to read this! My uncontrollable giggling confused my partner, but he’ll understand soon enough. Thanks for bringing your weird gifts to the world.

Anonymous said...

WHAT HAPPENED TO RICHARD THO

Nice to know you can still make me cry laughing after all these years :)

Altvm said...

Oh my word I just laughed harder than ever and love this story so so SO much! I needed this today!

the chocolate lady ืžืจืช ืฉืืงืืœืื“ said...

So many endorphins! Heartfelt thanks.

Unknown said...

I desperately need to know how your parents informed Richard.

LadyBaddkitty said...

I'm glad you are back. I'm looking forward to your book to arrive. Be well and blessed be.

Unknown said...

I'm so excited for the new book and I can't wait to read ALL THE THINGS!

Rae said...

I got emotional whiplash when I saw that you were active online again.
Your stories may be one of the reasons I’m able to write this today.
Thank you Allie. Thank you so much.

Shannon said...

A very wonderful friend of mine sent me your first book while I was going through "Strong" Chemo for Breast Cancer... Your book made me laugh and feel "almost normal" at one of the hardest times of my life. ❤
I in turn, bought it for another dear friend of mine, who was also working her way through a very dark place....
THANK YOU for being brave enough to share part (s) of your story with all of us!!

I CANNOT wait to purchase your new book! ��

loshakova said...

I LOVED THIS. I'm so glad you're back!

Danielle said...

I was so thrilled to hear your new book was coming out and this story completely reminds me why I fell in love with your storytelling. So happy you're feeling up to sharing yourself with us again <3

Yaker621 said...

I, seriously, laughed until my carbonated "La Croix" (orange essence) came out my nose!

Bobbi said...

Omg! You had your own Boo Radley! Thank you for the preview, I'm so looking forward to reading your book :)))))

Yaker621 said...

I think you are the new Shel Silverstein!!! Like Shel, your stories would make hilarious bedtime reading for any parent/child bonding experience.

Chrissy said...

Reading this was probably one of the only times I've been blissfullt happy without caveat this year, and I can't wait for the book. Take care and be safe!

Starr said...

Your mind... is so amazing... Generations of people will yearn to understand it because it bestowed humanity with such joy and mirth.

Boedullus said...

So. Much. Joy. I am so so so so so happy because of you and for you. Wishing you so much success.

Anna B said...

THIS IS THE BEST DAY

Ryan Phelps said...

I read this to my nearly-six-year-old daughter. When we got to the three frames of you playing in the sandbox and discovering a conversation ensued the ended with, "wait, is she human?"

Elizabeth West said...

This was AMAZING.
I missed you so much!

Tony Leggett said...

My week had been really shitty until I came across this absolute gem.
My week is now awesome.
Maybe 2020 is finally turning a corner?
Thank you Allie, I'd missed these stories so, so much. Come back soon!

Diaperdays said...

Thanks for the first good news in 2020. I can’t tell you how much I love your stories. I must have read them all dozens of times, especially the god of cake.
Thanks so much for coming back into the world and giving us laughter!

Chaff Collector said...

Yes! This is the stolen cars pajamas!

Unknown said...

Yippeee!!!

pdwalker said...

"PHEAR MY IMAGINATION!"

I do hope recounting all these stories makes you laugh at least half as much as it makes me laugh.

Tamalamadingdong said...

This is the *best*

Elise said...

BIGWIG!!!! Watership Down is my favorite book, and I have a feeling yours will be close behind. So awesome to hear from you (even though I’m bummed you don’t live in Bend anymore, I moved here last fall and have ... wanted to stalk you? In a nice friend way? Or start going to Magic events and hope to run into you and become your best friend? Anyways, I promise I’m not creepy, just a big fan.

Annika said...

This post makes me so happy.

Unknown said...

...by sneaking a copy of the book in through the cat-flap!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so so much. Your return to this site has made me cry. I read this blog aloud to my (young)teenage twins, and we'd howl with laughter. I texted them immediately that you were "back" -- and they both answered, almost simultaneously (from different states) "YAYAYAYAYYAY!"

Can't wait for your book. I'll be ordering at least 3 copies.

mac_24_seven said...

I'm so so so happy you posted something! You have so many fans who would love an update about how you are doing.

I hope you are healthy and happy and doing amazing :)

innerbanks said...

Delightful, absolutely delightful!

Tootie Golfer said...

I can’t wait to get to know you...ordering the book now. I too made the mistake of reading this in bed, and having to quit when the cat was abducted; the bed was shaking and my husband was about to kick me to the couch. My daughter sent the blog link to me and I am forever grateful!

Rich Girl, Poor Girl said...

I believe it has been roughly seven years since I have laughed this hard over a blog post. My dog was very concerned about me because she associates tears with sadness, and tears were rolling down my face. Thanks for this! My copy of your book is "out for delivery." I can't wait to read it!

Anonymous said...

You are such an amazingly gifted writer! Sitting at my desk laughing uncontrollably...my day is infinitely better now! Thanks for sharing your stories and your brilliant writing/illustrations with the world: it is a better place with you in it! :)

Tessa said...

I laughed so hard I cried AND my stomach hurts! Missed you.

Lauren said...

What a great story. I truly think you were so bright as a child to remember the emotions of this whole event. That's just my piece of contribution. :)

Nathan said...

This is undoubtedly the most exciting positive thing to happen this year.

Anonymous said...

I was having a super weird, crappy day and then I read this.
And then I read it backwards. I don't know why I do that, but I do.

It's hilarious both directions. I can't tell you how glad I am that you're feeling well enough to write. We were all worried about you.

Greg said...

So excellent, thanks for the preview.

Unknown said...

this totally made my day ---my texted me that YOU'RE BACK !!!!!!!! I missed LMAO reading and re-reading your posts. You seriously make me happy here in MT.

areyoukiddingme said...

I think all kids must go through a creepy stalker phase - I remember being so curious about our next door neighbor. He didn't like us AT ALL. His wife was nice, though. I never broke into their house, but I was always staring, looking for information, trying to talk to them - so nosy for an otherwise shy child.

I love this story!

bryniqua mackinonatush said...

Ma’am. Book big good. Laugh all morning. Roommates curious, try to read over shoulder, snarls ensue. Roommates get their own damn books. I really enjoy how your mental anguish is similar to my own. Well done, imaginary best friend. Not that you’re imaginary, just that I frequently daydream that we are on adventures together with dogs and hot facebodies. So ya know. Bfs.

Bronzerborg said...

richard would be in his 70s maybe even 80s depending how into his 40s he was.

Unknown said...

Seriously I was 20-years-old when it occurred to me -while driving- that all the cars on the road with me were filled with people going somewhere. As in, actual thinking, feeling people with agendas, friends, and a destination. Mind blown. I had to pull over for a moment and collect myself. Not sure why it took me so long to figure that out.

Unknown said...

I got your book on pre-order- it came today and I wolfed down all 500+ pages. My stomach hurts from laughing. You're incredible, and I'm so thankful for the work you put in to make this amazing book. Thank you for the emotional rawness and opening yourself up like that. Just wow. I'm trying to figure out how many copies I need to get to gift this book to everyone I know at Christmas.

Linda Myers said...

You got the cat into a DRAWER?

Lisa said...

There are two celebrities (semi-celebrities?, people who have impacted me?) Whom I've always wanted to write a fan letter to. You are one of them. Found your blog in 2007 when I googled "why do people think their vintage couch is worth so much money." I was moving to Sandpoint Idaho oddly enough. I also had a dog who could make food. Your blog gave me some good laughs when I needed them. Maybe some day I'll run into you and can tell you all about it. Glad to have bought your new book and sending positive thoughts your way.

Elysia said...

I got the kindle book today and devoured it. The Richard story had me laughing so hard that tears were pouring down my face. My mother loves to tell the story of me shutting my cat in a drawer for a few hours at around the same age (it was fine!), and I can only imagine how much more alarmed she would have been if she had discovered a trove of a neighbor’s belongings in there!

I have missed your wonderfully unique ability to approach serious topics with humor, adding a little relief without diminishing the seriousness. Your descriptions of depression are still my go-to when trying to explain it to people. You manage to capture it perfectly.

As I said, I laughed until I cried through most of the book - but I simply wept when I got to The Serious Part. I’m so very sorry about your sister, Allie. I can only imagine how much grief and pain you and your family have been through. That you have somehow managed to climb your way back up and out the other side is extraordinary, and your ability to do so with a sense of humor shows such grace and strength.

I’m so glad you’re in this world, and very grateful that you are ready to share it with us again. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I cannot hit the "order" button hard enough. I was in tears laughing from reading this, which is pretty much standard for how I react to your stories. Thanks for the laugh <3

Lea Wentworth said...

BIGWIG!!!! https://michaelnorthrop.net/?p=3174

Thank you I was similarly creepy as a child. I didn't discover the rabbits of watership down until I was at least 8, though.

Anonymous said...

BOOK!Book!BOOOOOOK! Hooraaaaaayyyyyyyy. We have missed you!!!

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Juliette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Poop mystery has been my favorite so far...I don't know how you do it but as someone going through therapy, your book and the stories are really comforting. I just read The Serious Part, and thank you for sharing all of those intimate details. I know my sorry means nothing, but I truly am sorry for everything that happened. I really feel for you. It's great to have you back, on your terms, and I hope this is an outlet for you. Stay strong.

Juliette said...

OH MY GOD ALLIE, I am wheezing to the point where my lungs feel like they're going to collapse in on themselves, and there are legitimate tears pouring out of my eyes. Oh my goodness I've missed you (I'd been so worried about you, in the way that only a total stranger on the internet can be.). Welcome back <3

Molly Merula said...

Oh my god Allie, I just finished reading your new book and it was so good. This story in particular was one of my very favorites along with Poop Mystery. As someone who struggles with anxiety, depression, OCD etc, I really admire how openly you write about these issues. I am so sorry to hear about your sister and I hope that you and your family can find peace and healing. I'm so glad you are here. You bring us so much joy.

Anonymous said...

i can't remember the last time i bought a real book, new, not from a second-hand store for under five dollars. it's been years and years and years. but i did it today - i ordered your new book and your old book - because your drawings and stories make me laugh and laugh. i'm so thankful for the time you put into this art. you're making the world a happier place. i hope you get some of the damn money from the books. you deserve it.

Sebastian T said...

I got my book in the mail yesterday and I've been a b s o r b i n g the whole thing at a worrisome speed. I love it so much. Missed your work, Allie!

Wicked said...

OMG. You saved my life!!! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

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