I woke up from a dream this morning and for some reason said the words, “I got rid of the Gorn.” I could not really remember the dream or why I said that, but it inspired a short story idea. Here is the result:
How I got the Gorn
First of all, I did not know I got the Gorn. Last I knew, Matt had it. But I will get into that.
As kids, actions figures were like currency between us. My friends and I had a circle of commerce that was based on action figures. Different action figures were worth more or less depending on how much we liked the character. But there was one action figure that was to be avoided. That was the Gorn.
Roger introduced the Gorn to the trade right after he got it from his aunt one Christmas. Green and ugly, it was a monster from the Star Trek series. While other Star Trek characters such as Spock and Kirk were worth something, the Gorn was like anti-money. People who had it did not want it and had to trick or bet others into taking it. “If you win, you get my Chewbacca, if you lose, you get my Gorn.”
Roger kept bringing the Gorn to the circle to trade and no one would take it. Finally he got smart and started doing something that Congress has made a common practice. He made the Gorn a rider figure. “I will trade you Uhura for R2 if you also take the Gorn.” Uhura was top currency. Why she was so highly praised none of us would talk about. It probably had something to do with the costume this particular figure wore, or the fact that it was one of the only female action figures in the circle. We would have killed for a Leia. We nearly had one one time, but this is the story of Gorn. But that gives you some idea of the negative value of the Gorn in that it offset an Uhura all the way down to an R2. Robots were cool, but Uhura was awesome for reasons we will not talk about.
The Gorn made its rounds among the group and I did everything I could to keep from getting it. I passed up a Batman one time that had a karate action punch just to avoid the Gorn. Yes, you read that right, the Batman had karate action punch and I passed it up. I made it a point to avoid any bets with anyone that currently had possession.
So one weekend we are huddled on my floor going through our figures. Matt had a Lion-O he got for a birthday present from his mom. Lion-O had never been in the circle before and bidding made Uhura look cheap. Well cheaper than the costume made her look, but we are not going to talk about that.
So bidding was going back and forth and eventually Chris stepped up with a full set of Ewoks in a box and said, “This box for Lion-O.”
“Deal!” Matt said and they shook on it.
Matt handed off the Lion-O and took the box. He sat down on my lower bunk and started going through his treasures. Chris was looking awfully smug and was making all kinds of ThunderCat chants and was wielding the included Sword of Omens. If I could go back in time, I would write to Mattel or whoever made that figure and let them know they should have made the sword as part of Lion-O’s hand so it would not be lost easily. By our next get together a couple of months later, the sword was gone and lost forever thus Lion-O suddenly was only worth as much as a Scotty. Maybe if we had met sooner the sword might have not gotten lost so quickly, but the reason we did not meet for a couple of months I am now going to get into.
“WHAT!” Matt screamed from his spot on my bunk. Ewoks went flying everywhere. He leapt from the bed and thrust an action figure in Chris’ face. It was the Gorn.
“What is this?!” His screaming really put a damper on Chris’ jubilation.
“That’s the Gorn.” The winner of the trade said simply. “You traded for it fair and square.”
“I didn’t!!” He argued, “I wouldn’t!” He was absolutely sputtering now.
I think this would have come to blows had my mom not suddenly come into the room and broke it up.
She made everyone go home and after Matt had gathered all his newly acquired action figures she told me I was not to see them for a month because they were a bad influence if they could get so excited over a bunch of stupid action figures. It took me an hour of arguing, pleading, and crying before I even got to keep mine.
I did see the guys before that month was up but there was still a lot of tension in the group, so it was yet another month before we were comfortable enough to go back to trading. As anyone could have predicted, most of Matt’s trades included the Gorn but he always back down and would go ahead with a trade without the Gorn. It went on like this for a couple of months and then Matt moved away and with him went the Gorn. It never entered our circle again.
Years went by, baseball cards eventually replaced the childish action figures and then later it was basketball cards when for some reason baseball was suddenly kitsch. I forgot about the Gorn as did everyone else. It was not until I was 16 that I thought of the Gorn again.
At 16 I had managed to pass my driving test somehow, which I still wonder about. I knocked over one of the cones during the parallel parking and ran a stop sign. But my dad said if I was going to drive the car, I had to pay for gas. So I got the inevitable job. I worked at a Toys R Us stocking shelves and filling peg hooks. We had an entire aisle dedicated to action figures. I looked up and down the aisle and did not recognize any of them. My heart sank a little reminiscing about my younger days. I was just glad I did not get stuck with the Gorn.
So after working there a while, I saved up a hundred bucks and blew it on a used super single waterbed. I was so happy that I was finally going to be rid of my childish bunk beds. With all the parts of the waterbed stacked up in the living room of my house, I went to start disassembling my bunk beds. I tore down the top bed and was amazed I was still able to sleep on it as the mattress was thread bare with springs showing through in a couple of places. I grabbed the bottom mattress and pulled it off and stood it against the wall.
What do my eyes reveal sitting on the support board but the Gorn. THE GORN! Matt must has slipped it under the mattress when he was gathering all his Ewoks up and since I always slept on top, I never bothered to do anything with the bottom bunk except sit on it when I had company. Matt got his last laugh on all of us and on me especially.
So now I have the Gorn. And let it be a lesson, always turn your mattresses regularly or else you too may get stuck with the Gorn.