On Peaks Island we have an email communication system. Whenever we have something to give away (used mattresses, an old hammock) or something we need (dog walkers, to borrow a high chair for the weekend). We just email our notes to E or H and they blast out our request.
In early June, my friend Jean used the list to broadcast some sad news. The foot-tall plastic Godzilla that guards her front door had gone missing, again.
Subject: PI List: Godzilla stolen
Godzilla went missing from his perch in front of our brick house on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.
If anyone sees Godzilla or knows who took him, please let us know or send him back!
He has stood guard in front of our house for about 18 years, and has many admirers. We hope he reappears.
Jean, Cooper and Luna
Two days later, another note regarding Godzilla circulated. This time from the police. “We can’t do anything because the owner didn’t file a police report,” it said. Jean laughed. She wants Godzilla returned, but hadn’t planned to file charges against the perpetrator.
In case you missed it, here is my original story about Godzilla that ran in the Island Times last year.
The man crouched and cowered in front of the red brick house on Island Avenue. His hands were placed on either side of his face and his mouth stretched wide open—as though some invisible demon were descending upon him from the sky. It was Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream” come to life.
Something weird was going on. And not regular Peaks Island weird. This was beyond someone pushing a dog stroller or painting their house chartreuse. A skinny guy with dark hair—who I’d never seen before in my life—was standing in front of my friend Jean Hoffman’s front door cowering in fear of…I could only guess what. But then again, it was a summer Sunday afternoon. A Reggae Sunday afternoon. There were lots of visitors on the island, and many of them were doing a lot of drinking. There was no telling what this guy’s story was going to be.
I accelerated my pace to make sure this odd drunk wasn’t damaging anything. But when I got closer, I realized that the guy wasn’t drunk at all. He was the subject of a photo shoot. His companion, a 30-something blond guy, was poised at the curb holding a digital Nikon. A third companion, a woman, stood between them, off to one side. She had Jean’s son’s foot-tall plastic Godzilla grasped firmly in both hands and was extending her arms—and Godzilla—away from her body and into the view of the camera.
It took me several seconds to piece this together. When I did, I laughed. This imaginative threesome were taking pictures that showed Godzilla in epic proportions looming over the much smaller Screamer.
This was the most unique use of Godzilla I’d ever seen, which is saying a lot. Few can resist interaction with Peaks Island’s biggest movie star resident. Godzilla and his smaller dinosaur cohorts are posed by islanders and photographed by visitors almost daily. Typically, Godzilla and crew find themselves lined-up as though in preparation for a battle. Other times they are circled-up for a pre-historic hoedown. Often an unfortunate smaller dinosaur hangs out of Godzilla’s mouth. But I’ve never seen anyone capture Godzilla’s photo in nearly so creative a fashion.
Godzilla has resided year-round on Peaks, and stood guard in front of the Hoffman’s house, since 2000 when he relocated from town. He serves the community as a photo opportunity, a conversation piece and a directional landmark. “Go by the Godzilla house, then continue past the library,” people say. He’s manned (or should I say monstered?) his post 24-7, with the single exception of a few months in 2009 when he took a sabbatical. “One day he was just gone,” recounts Jean.
After Godzilla’s disappearance, Jean asked around to see if anyone had any information on Godzilla’s whereabouts. Even the teens—who usually know everything—pled ignorance. After a couple of weeks, a dinosaur about half the size of Godzilla showed up. He held a note that said, “I may not be big, but I’m strong and can take care of myself.”
A month later, Godzilla reappeared—holding a sign that said, “I’m Back.” Godzilla’s true whereabouts have never been revealed, but people have their suspicions. Some say it was a teen prank. Others think a young kid with a bad case of monster envy “borrowed” him. Others say Godzilla attended a late night bash at Battery Steele and was too hung over to return home right away. A long-time friend of Godzilla’s who ask not to be named calls this third theory ridiculous—Godzilla has absolutely no history of alcohol abuse.
While foul play seems likely, I for one hope that Godzilla’s disappearance was voluntary. Maybe he visited his old friend Mothra to reminisce about their days as Japanese film stars. Or perhaps he attended a reunion with other costars he’s worked with over the years such as Astro-Monster, Ghidorah the three-headed monster and Mathew Broderick.
We may never know exactly where Godzilla was, but I for one am glad that he returned. Once again islanders and visitors can “go by the Godzilla house” on their way to and from down front. And they do—often stopping to create some really innovative photo shoots.