I am a hermit. I was always a hermit. When I was six for the first time in my life I went to somebody's birthday party. Actually, this was a big day in my life: for the first time I entered a home that was not mine or of my kin. Can you imagine my surprise when I realized that both of my friend's Bozo's parents lived in the same rather small apartment with him? I mean, neither of my parents lived with me, really. I lived with my grandma in the huge but very old apartment where I fought for about three years with ghosts to allow me to go to the bathroom at night. Once I won the ghosts of the apartment I started to build my own world. Mostly of LEGO, though.

Daddy and Mummy worked in Italy and Germany, respectively, and came around for holidays, pinched my checks and said: "look how big is our little boy", or some other utter nonsense. They lied - I found that out later when I realized that I was the smallest kid in the class. They lied, but they brought a lot of LEGO. Father also liked to buy toys for himself, like a little rocket launchers, and things that basically said: "Warning! Do not use without adult supervision.", so that he could play and that I could get to admire him.

Ivo the KidBozo's parents looked at me with sadness, as if I was coming straight from the Adams family. And I was impatient to return to my world. My world depended solely on me, on my word, on my ideas. There was no democracy. There was no litigation. There was no need for any process of decision making. It was a sole proprietorship of myself. Accordingly I picked up an appropriate title for such a unique set of responsibilities: emperor of the universe. I was completely unaware of the X-men, but I was familiar with Flash Gordon and his arch-enemy emperor Ming of Mongo. My empire was a mixture of those two characters. I always imagined myself as a benevolent emperor, as Flash would perhaps be, while I somehow intuited the inevitability of corruption caused by such immense powers that a title Emperor of the Universe should provide. So, I saw sometimes my imagined ministers and senators behave inappropriately and oppress common subjects. I also observed that sometimes I had to execute somebody, although I didn't like the idea of execution very much. But traitor is a traitor...

Fascinated with those rings, I picked Saturn as my home planet. At age of 5 it escaped my attention that Saturn consists mostly of compressed gas. So, I built cities and palaces there. I also built my formidable fleet of "flying saucers", which I sometimes, at a whim, sent to terrorize Earthlings, but that I kept mostly to protect my empire from those ugly Martians. Mars was a kingdom of my father. Martian citizenry was like Klingons: prone to violence and war. They often attacked Saturn. They exiled the ruler of Venus (which accidentally was my mother), so she got a refugee status on Saturn, where she was proclaimed the Great Cook of the Empire.

My older half-brother, being a Grand Sorcerer, built a starship for me (an old couch, a car light, a keyboard, a joystick, few lamps and wires, an old TV set, an old wooden box repainted to resemble a computer, which was named "mujmula" as in some British SF TV soap, probably mispronounced). The starship was, however, located in my parents apartment which was in use only when they were in the country. In fact starship was operational only in time my mother was there. My father hated it. I bet, he realized that whenever I entered it, I went on to bomb his miserable little planet.

I meticulously kept a log of my travels and wars that my space armies fought, and I had drawings and descriptions of all my and my enemies spacecraft as well as maps of all the major cities on Saturn and Mars. Also, I developed my language - something like an Esperanto of the universe. It was a Saturn dialect, but simplified so that everybody in the universe can use it as a lingua franca. My grandmother and her friends when they came over for coffee, grapevine and a game of canasta, used to learn some phrases and words. Some of them excelled in grammar. My future step-mother, for example: she managed to speak my language almost as well as she spoke German at the time.

At one point my father approached me in the real life. He kind of crossed over like Morgan Sloat tearing the heavens apart. It was scary. He said that he and my mother would divorce and not live together anymore. I noticed that I never realized they lived together for all that time they were supposedly married. He added that I would get a new mother, which was a youngish blond beauty who already mastered my language and customs, so she seemed an appropriate replacement for the aging Great Cook of the Empire. I shrugged my shoulders and said OK. That was a concession that Saturn was willing to generously give to Mars. She was promptly crowned as a regent of Venus. But I was cheated at the "green table": I never imagined that the deal included me leaving my grandmother and actually living with them (my father, step-mother, their son - my new half-brother and her son from the first marriage, who was of my age). Nevertheless, I quickly plotted with my new sibling, I gave him Venus, Mercury and Pluto and we declared a take-no-prisoners war on Mars.

Martians meanwhile stockpiled enormous quantities of weapons and they actually won most of the battles, took almost all of our possessions, but Saturn never lost its independence, and Saturnians are very proud of that.

Planets for my parents I chose after I read my grandfather's book on Greek and Roman mythology in which Mars was a god of war and Venus was a goddess of love. RETURN

The apartment was in a busy downtown Zagreb area and a street-car stop was right in front of the house. My grandmother was always so scared that something would happened to me, for which she could be blamed by my parents, so she never let me out unsupervised. I practically did not have any friends until my school age. RETURN

I actually told my mother that I got a new, younger mother now, as instructed by my father, and that her services would not be required in the future, which probably sounded a little eerie coming from a mouth of a six years old freak. RETURN