The monster grunts and giggles, scoops up dirt and splashes through puddles in his bare feet. He builds a bed out of weeds and soft grass with a pillow of flowers and a blanket of woven sand. His favorite thing to do is the opposite of anything his mother has asked. She says, “sit,” he runs. She asks, “quiet,” he bangs. She begs, “please,” he smashes. He tests and pushes from sun up to sun down and sometimes deep into the night where only the stars dare to wander. He’s made of clay and playdough and his mane shakes when he laughs. His fingers are always sticky with peanut butter, and when he eats, food flies to the floor and sticks to the walls, finding remote corners to hide in. If he’s excited, he howls at the sun and tilts his head back, and his whole body is alive and crackling. He digs holes and stuffs them with leaves and toy cars for later. He gathers his balls and smashes them with clubs until they sail across the yard and he shouts “touchdown!” When he’s angry, he’s gnashing teeth and fire. He shakes the floor with his heavy feet, making the walls and trees tremble. He throws his toys and his magnets, sending them scattering across the tile. They cower in fear when they hear him coming. When he’s focused, he’s stillness and imagination and cunning. He is king of the trucks and wears a crown made of tires. He rules over them lovingly and leads them on adventures through deserts and into battles with scary ghosts who are hiding in their closets. His red truck ushers him to a racetrack made of clouds. He can taste the speed and danger as the cars plummet from the track and bounce against the ground below. The backyard opens wide and invites him in, where up is left and right is center. He runs at full speed through the grass and the trees, his arms spread and flying. The branches hum and ring in his wake. Ants march in line as he beats his drum, and dragonflies divebomb the grass around his feet, making him jump and laugh. His spatula becomes a baton or a shovel as it whips through the air. He shouts his hellos to his sandbox, his shovels, and mischief dances through his veins and tugs at his hand, begging him to find the squishiest puddle of mud and sink his fingers and arms and toes in it. The mud is wet and sticky, and it pops as it squeezes out from between his palms. He throws it in the air and watches as it covers everything in sight, including the monster himself. He yelps with joy and rolls across the ground until his mother makes him come in and wash his hands for dinner.