As a child, like many children, I had Land Hoppers; a brand name for a hatching kit. It came in a brightly colored package containing eggs in a powdery state and all kids had to do was add air into an enclosed tank or terrarium and watch them grow. I was very meticulous about adding the proper amount of oxygen with a touch of methane and carbon dioxide. The Land Hoppers box depicted this cartoon family with beaming smiles standing in front of a mansion that apparently was sold separately. I was very excited to raise these interesting little creatures and dedicated most of my time to it. Other companies marketed the product with different names like Mini Peeps, and Hungry, Hungry Humans but Land Hoppers was the original brand. Most of the kids at school had already tried out their Land Hoppers and complained that it was bogus. One wisealeck kid, Alan said they were nothing more than Homo sapiens. “They didn’t do anything like it showed on the box,” complained Alan. “They just sat around all day and played with themselves or tried to find a way out of the tank.” I was outraged! Disgusted with his comments. “No way,” I argued. “They’re supposed to be happy and caring and loving pets! Just look at the fucking picture on the box!” “It's donkey dung,” Alan mocked. "It's a waste of time." After a few days of germination, my happy little family of Land Hoppers began to grow. I could detect little arms and legs on their tiny sinewy bodies and began to detail their progress in a notebook.
Entry One: Set up heat lamp. Eggs haven't hatched yet. Temperature seems a bit hot. Added ice cubes into water dish when I got home from baseball practice and set up a fan to circulate air.
Entry Two: Trees have begun to grow.
Fed them meat and potatoes. They seem to enjoy it. The Land Hoppers are maturing and growing fat. Some creatures seem scared, confused and all are far different from the images depicted on the box. None are not smiling.
Entry Two: Cliques seem to be forming. Separate groups are huddling on various sides of the tank. The little creatures seem to be defending their claimed territory. It appears if an intruder wanders too close they attack each other.
Entry Three: Forgot to feed them. Starting to get bored. Note: Go to Pet Shop and buy some decorations for the tank. Maybe a wheel?
Entry Four: I woke up in the middle of the night because of a loud crash. Some of the Land Hoppers pushed the lid off the tank. Saw smoke coming out of tank. First thought the heating system had blown but realized something was burning. The little critters started a fire. Half of them look sick. Or maybe they’re just lazy like Alan said.
Note: Call Pet Shop Owner and ask for money back.
Entry Five: More Land Hoppers are missing. Found a few under my bed. I think Satchmo, my cat may have eaten one or two.
The next twelve pages or so in my notebook were covered with my crude drawings of comic book super heroes.
The tank is dark. The light must have burnt out. The Land Hoppers have multiplied. They seemed to be reproducing at an alarming rate. Still they continue to attack and kill one another. I’m spending way too much of my allowance on food for them.
Entry Seven: Got a new stereo for my brithday. Decided to use my allowance to buy music. The Land Hoppers just aren’t that much fun anymore. This morning I flushed them down the toilet.