Here’s how it happened, all those years ago.
It is 1968 and Max is the luckiest kid in the whole world.
He doesn’t have monsters in his closet any more. They left his house screaming.
Instead, Max has a magical friend named Sid.
Max shows his magical friend off to the bullies, one by one. Most of them are intimidated at once, but there’s one who holds out a little longer.
“His name’s Sid,” Max says to Grouchy Pete.
Grouchy Pete is the most terrifying bully on the playground. He’s not just big—he’s also grouchy!
Grouchy Pete chews on some gum. He spits it out to the side.
“Don’t look like much,” Grouchy Pete says.
Sid’s an older kid with a roly-poly stomach and feathers in his hair. A wheel of knives hangs in the air beside him.
The wheel of knives spins slowly.
“I could vivisect you,” Sid says, calmly, “and none of the teachers would even notice.”
This assertion does not seem to improve Pete’s mood.
“Ain’t never been vivisected,” says Grouchy Pete dismissively.
“Here’s a hint,” Sid says.
Sid’s head wobbles on his neck, just a little bit, with the raw terrible danger of him.
Sid drawls, “It’s not fun.”
And the knives drift closer to Grouchy Pete, and Grouchy Pete bursts into tears, right there on the playground, and from that day on Max is King of the Yard.