I hate scary movies. I think they’re boring and a waste of time. Highly predictable and full of the corniest archetypes Jung could ever concept. Thanks to my ex I repeat her fathers theory; “they are bad for the soul.”
Yet I will go to sticky theaters and cover my finger tips with warm butter and giggle while anyone who I attend a showing with clinches in fear. It’s the easiest way to manipulate a date into grabbing you. If you fake a sigh, appear to be more concerned than frightened, making the first move will seem chivalrous. Or if you’ve tagged along with roommates and friends who live for the thrill of being terrified, it’s the easiest way to laugh. You seem brave and as fluid as a mountain while they shake like the rapids cutting through a canyon.
It’s so predictable. I’d rather just watch a PIXAR movie.
Yet here I sit, looking at a monster drawing I created a few years ago. Every stroke of the pencil and crayon is a feeling of terror, a hindered sense of fear I could not communicate.
Is this a self portrait?
Probably. How predictable.
I spend my days thinking of past mistakes, regrets, obstacles that keep me from wanting to enjoy the moments before and after leaving the theater. I read the news on the internet and then I have to spend thirty minutes looking up pictures of puppies and adorable smooshed faces to assure myself that we’re not all going to hell. Surely we just live in it. This is how I can fall asleep easily at night when my date decides to go home and all my friends are tucked away. The ideas of evil are bigger than me and yet I try to relate to them as if they’re just fog while my head floats in the clouds. I try to stay grounded. I argue that’s why my mattress rests solely on the ground withing a wooden boxed frame. Or perhaps its because all the worst bedtime stories start with monsters under the bed.
So without further adieu here is a flash fiction piece. Enjoy and sleep easy. Find your warmth, your comfort.
There is a monster underneath all our beds. Causing a commotion, he stirs beneath our dreams. The monster needs the bread and butter on the dinner table; we are not the only ones who must fill hungry mouths or festering families.
Hesitantly, he (or she) punches in on their time card, and then ducks down to wait. Their sharp horns don’t poke through the mattresses, or uncoil the springs we rest upon, but as they reach their thick furry hands out from under and grasp onto our sleeping skin, if feels as though we’ve only begun to walk on carpet. Down the stairs, skipping on cold tile floor, then out the door and into fresh air we go.
The monster is eager for the day to end and to meet leisure time face to face. They know what it looks like, but can never remember a detail if you ask. A lunch packed with commodities commemorating capitalism, its critical crescendo; they are living the American dream.
Then they go home.
The nuclear family waits beyond the doorsteps of a cookie-cutter house. It’s a good neighborhood. White picket fences are replaced by tiny yards of St. Augustine grass that stain the children’s denim. Junior and Little Miss are breaking the seams of their attire as they skyrocket to the clouds; splitting legs and fractions while building an allowance in their bellies.
The monsters under our beds cook, clean, compromise and collaborate with their significant others over meal times, school times, soccer practice times, and leisure times. Friday nights are reserved for love making. The monster and their significant other get dirty and clean their piping. They don’t plan on falling asleep from the half empty bottle of merlot, but they down it so they can muster the courage to flirt with each other again.
Then the kids come home.
Milking the weekend, Monday comes faster. Mundane monstrosities is what we have now. 401k’s. Stock option purchase plans. Healthcare. Mortgage. Insurance. Credit. Debt. Retirement at the age of 60/65. 10,950 days later and each day was the same 9-5 with its highlights.
The raise with option to cash out on paid vacation days never taken.
The significant other says she’s getting a promotion.
Junior got good grades.
Little Miss sang in the recital, with beauty and class.
But then the monster gets another promotion. Upper management. How else can he secure the nightmare that is the American dream?
The significant other has doubts. Second honeymoon? Maybe. But after all, that would be dipping into the savings. What if someone gets sick? What about college? What if? What if? What if?
Junior started drinking. It’s hereditary. An individual’s chances are seven times higher if the parents drink. But it was always one scotch to unwind from paper pushing all day, never an ism.
Little Miss found a bad boy. He had filthy tattoos and played in a rock band. They look for men who have the same qualities as their father. When she’s crying up all night it’s because he’s not there.
Then everyone leaves the home.
Sitting at his oak office table, the monster contemplates. The promotion took him out of the cubicle and earned him a panoramic view of the city. He watched all the ants scurry below him, frying and eviscerating their existence under the wavy heat rays of the sun. Their shadows were burned into the sidewalk. A fire started in the streets and the smoke billowed up into the tower. The fresh air was too clean and the office chose asphyxiation and emphysema instead. But they have a decent HMO. A good life plan payout is included in the benefits package.
The significant other found strong pectorals to grace her withering fingers across. She felt young again when time found her sexy once more through the years.
Junior smashed face first into a light pole but survived only to stutter on his t’s. He thinks the mother betrayed them, so he and the monster finally become best friends. They drink scotch together and he tries not to mess up his new management position given to him at the tower.
Little Miss got pregnant from the bad boy. He has filthy tattoos. She sends the monster pictures of a budding beast, his fury little head. My goodness, they grow so fast. She blames the monster, gets jealous at the abs the significant other dribbles her nails across, then bitches about Junior’s stumbling. But she gets Single Mother of the Year awarded to her by her second grade son’s macaroni painting.
Here’s the midlife crisis, addressed as a memo on the desk. Buy a sports car to feel younger, weigh down those wilting eye lids and roll into a ditch; like son, like father. Or just blow your brains out over the cover letter so your boss sees how you truly bleed for the company? On the desk is a picture of a little gremlin the monster barely visits, but wishes he could. He is an artist Little Miss shushes at night. She tucks him tightly into his bed and reads Where the Wild Things Are and Shel Silverstein poems. The munchkin is petrified of the monsters under his bed.