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Rated: ASR · Fiction · Opinion · #2309858
Non-creepy satirical "nature documentary" set in an inflatable playground
Hello, I'm anthropologist, Victoria Goody. Over the past month I've been given the rare privilege of observing two siblings in their natural habitat, known as Jumporee Playhouse. An indoor collection of inflatable slides, bounce houses and obstacle courses.

Their parents and the owner of the establishment know and have consented to the observations. Names are totally made up and not at all representative of the children studied. That makes this not creepy! All over reactive social activists may now relax their sphincters...*loud mass flatulence*...thank you.

Marcus is the male of the pair. Upon entering looks around excitedly he cannot make up his mind so he dashes about, lingering for only a second.

With only the few moments required to remove her shoes, Cynthia lets out an enthusiastic whoop and does a lap of the entire facility before remembering she's still wearing her coat. Returning to the cubby hole, she jams the loose article into the same slot as her footwear. Then she releases a second ululation and heads for the biggest slide.

There are of course rules adults expect the children to follow. They have posted a large sign with them on there. Such signs are ignored due to a couple of factors. Most obviously, children being over stimulated by bright colors and fun shapes making them eager to begin play. Also, children under a certain age have yet to learn to read.

The parents, being exhausted from issues earlier in the day, take up perches on soft rectangular blocks. These start out at a reasonable height but are quickly compressed to a couple of millimeters thick. This renders any parent incapable of chasing around a much lighter, super-accelerated macro particle their child has been converted into.

With minimal outside intervention, Jumporee Playhouse quickly becomes a beige carpeted, lime green, bedlam. The only rules the children follow without fail is their own unwritten personal ones.

Within the a short time Marcus and Cynthia reach the top of the tallest slide. Mysteriously, between then and when they exit some social interactions take place.

This finds the siblings exiting as a member of some small pack of juvenile homo sapiens. These packs vary in number from two to no more than four children. There is a group consensus on what activity to engage in next.

Of course, like any group of social animals, there is a hierarchy of dominance. It is much more marked in males than females. A clearly alpha boy decides the group should play somewhere.

Marcus, whether he means to or not, challenges this alpha's power. This is met with a swift punch to Marcus's shoulder by the dominant child.

For the rest of the session, Marcus spends his time alternately trying to curry favor and fleeing from the pack he was formerly part of. When Marcus goes to his father to hide, his parent asks if his son is alright. While the paternal care is legitimate, Marcus puts on a tough face and goes back to playing. Somewhere, he manages to find another pack to join.

On a few occasions, Cynthia, who is much younger than Marcus, becomes interested in socializing with members of her brother's pack. "You're my friend!" She shouts as she grabs an older girl's hand.

Cynthia is successful in absconding with the girl whom Marcus assumed was his friend. He's very upset, tries to punch his sister.

"Marcus!" His mom shouts after him. "Come here!" She has to call his name multiple times. After a stern lecture, Marcus sulks off to another location.

Cynthia runs blissfully by, unaware of the turmoil she has caused.

As referenced earlier, children playing in Jumporee Playhouse follow no rules but their own. This results in some behavior that is very abnormal to adult eyes.

For example, swinging from ropes that anchor inflatable castles, climb on top of the boundaries between slide and pan handle for food.

The latter, while somewhat less dangerous, is the more shocking of behaviors. This can be explained by the fact that children's morality is not really developed until they are pre-teens or adolescents.

Results of these excercises have different results depending on a few factors. The natural charm of a child, the age of the target and getting caught.

Marcus has been observed successfully convincing adults to buy him food, drinks and paid video game sessions. It is unclear how he manages to cajole his mark into complying. Perhaps he has more charisma than other kids his age.

Cynthia on the other hand, targets children. Her tactic is to look pitiful and wordlessly hold out a hand. She attempts to mimic a poor little urchin who hasn't eaten for days. Because of the psychology of her chosen victim, her pleas for food fall on deaf ears.

It is not known why Marcus and Cynthia engage in this begging behavior. Their parents provide them adequate food and drink. They do not gain anything from the video game except the activity's intrinsic novelty. Further research is needed into the phenomenon.

Finally, the time to leave arrives. This is met by dramatic resistance. Wailing crying and yelling "I don't want to!" The siblings both act like they are about to be tortured in the most cruel manner.

It is only through trickery, threats and bribery that either child is convinced to leave.

Day after day, this pattern repeats. There may be slight variations. While not all mysteries have or will be unravelled, this look into the social lives of children is fascinating.

I'm Victoria Goody and this has been "Siblings in Their Natural Habitat,"

*Loud solemn brass music plays as credits roll*
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