(A Halloween Tale by the Dalai Mama)
Do you know what I’ve discovered? The monsters have returned and are living underneath my bed! When I was a kid, I was convinced that monsters lived under my bed, in my closets, and down in the basement behind the furnace just waiting to gobble me up. All it would take was a stray toe or a wayward hand to drift out from under the carefully wedged-in bed sheets and blankets tucked snuggly around my body and, without warning, I just knew that my little chubby self would become gourmet monster food.
It took me years to get beyond the feeling that something awful lurked beneath my bed, which is why to this day, I can’t sleep in a totally dark room or completely alone. When my husband, WW, travels for business—I can barely sleep a wink, and things always seem to happen that make me lose my shit. If he dies before me, I shall die shortly after from what my children will assume is a broken heart, but from what I will know is sleep deprivation.
WW (“White and Wonderful”) has been gone for five days. The first two days were somewhat bearable—albeit I didn’t sleep more than three hours a night—but tonight I swear I can hear wolves howling at the moon (the neighbor’s “chi-wow-wow,” no doubt?). I could have sworn that there was someone knocking at my home-office window (the wind and rain hitting the low-hanging tree branch, I hope?), and I thought I heard disembodied voices echoing through the hallways (the new Barbra Streisand album playing in the other room and she talks on it, I suspect?). I also don’t cook when WW is not here, which means I’ve been trying to work all day, write six hours a night, and investigate every little suspicious sound that goes “bump in the night” after nervously munching on buckets of popcorn, bags of Jelly-Bellies, and packets of cheese sticks, while downing pots of coffee and gallons of Muscle Milk. I’m so tired that my left eye is twitching as if to the beat of its own internal metronome—not to mention that I feel an overwhelming need to projectile vomit.
Wolf Howling at the Moon|image from bizabin.com
Right after turning on every light in the house to recreate the Home Alone fake-out scene in case madcap robbers are casing the house, the heavens opened up with a torrential downpour, the electricity flickered and went out as strains of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Night on Bald Mountain emanated from my cell phone—causing the bones in my body to dissolve into a pile of limp noodles in the now pitch black house.
ME: HELLO . . . hello, is that you honey?
PEE-WEE: It is if the “honey” is your sister. Called to see how you’re doin’ since WW’s been gone?
ME: Terrible! I haven’t slept in days, the electricity just went kaput, and I could have sworn I felt something touch my toe the other night when my foot accidentally slipped over the edge of the bed. I’ve been sleeping on the couch ever since with all of the lights on all through the night—including in all the bathrooms and over the pictures on the wall. My electric bill is going to be thousands of dollars next month and WW is going to have my head.
PEE-WEE: Say what? Something touched your toe from underneath the bed? Well, well, well, could it be the monster you said lived underneath my bed when we were little? The one you told me was going to chew off my hands and feet while I slept, leaving me with bloody stumps for the rest of my life? You know, the monster you claimed hung out with Count Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Boogey Man, and Frankenstein? I didn’t sleep through a full night until I was eighteen because of your torture. I’m thinking this is awfully sweet: revenge on behalf of the baby sister. He-he-he-he-he!
(IMP. NOTE: Pee-wee is my only sibling—and she is shorter than I am—thus the name. I love her more than life itself, but she gets on my ever-lovin’ nerves. I will reluctantly admit [need to cover my ass, here: don’t know when the statute of limitations ends for sibling torture] that when we were growing up, I might have gone a little overboard in the performance of that universal torture duet known as “big sister vs. little sister.” When Pee-wee was a little girl, she had ebony colored skin, was always half the weight and size she should have been, and she had eyes the size of duck eggs that seemed to morph together into one single eye when she was terrified by something I had said or done, which was often. She rarely talked and her favorite expression was a high-pitched scream of terror about everything: EEEEEEEK! When you combined all those features about my sister, Pee-wee was the spitting image of the 1939 Buckwheat character from “Our Gang.” Funny thing about my sister’s sibling grudges is that she remembers everything I ever did to her and I don’t recall one thing of this supposed abuse.)
Buckwheat from “Our Gang” (Little Rascals—William Thomas)
PEE-WEE: Do you remember how you chose to “help me” get over my fear of the “monster that lived underneath the bed”?
ME: I plead the Fifth!
PEE-WEE: You hopped up on my bed one Halloween night in the middle of a bad thunderstorm after I had had a horrendous nightmare about the monster underneath my bed and you said that you could cure me if I followed your instructions. You claimed to have created a Monster Bible that was the end-all and be-all of monster knowledge. You said: “Listen Pee-wee. There is nothing to this monster thing. Monsters DO exist, and they DO live under beds of little kids that have really big eyes and very dark skin, but you just have to build up a resistance to them and then they will disappear.” When I asked you, “how I do that Elno,” you said: “Let me edumacate you with the Bed Monster’s relatives and they will eventually all disappear”!
I should have known better, but when I agreed to be “edumacated” by you, you quickly started your run-down of all the monsters you’d seen at the Saturday Movie Matinees with your friends, Rae-Rae and Charlene, and I rue the day I didn’t tell you to go away:
“Pee-wee,” you said, “here’s my Bible list of monsters that, once you know all about them, you’ll be able to kick the Bed Monster’s ass:
- The Boogey Man is the really scary guy that lives in the basement behind the furnace and eats bad little kids with big buggy eyes when he comes out of the basement in the middle of the night.
- The Wolf Man asshole is a man who looks just like our mailman, but he turns himself into a dog (like the ones next door), except he still keeps his man legs. He chases after people and tears them into pieces with his teeth when he catches them—especially little girls with HUGE eyes (I know because I seen this with my own eyes).
- Count Dracula wears a cape, only comes out at night, and drinks the blood of people until he sucks them dry and then leaves them looking like raisins. He is the father of ALL bed bugs, by the way.
- Frankenstein is really, really tall (taller than our house), and he was sewed together by a mad scientist with a giant needle and thread. He has a weird sounding voice, and he walks like a giant who drinks too much whiskey, like weird Uncle Oscar. Not to worry so much about him. He only chases after white villagers, but we live in the ghetto and only Colored people live here.
- The fuckin’ Devil is the head-cheese of the monster group and he DOES live in our neighborhood. He’s the nigga’ who created all monsters, and he tells them where to go and who to kill. He created all roaches and rats and you really gots to watch out for him, Pee-Wee, ‘cause he’ll try and fuck with you every minute of the day.
- The Monster underneath the Bed is a brother to ALL these other monsters and helps them with their dirty work of eating little kids with BIG EYES. Don’t—whatever you do—close your eyes or let your feet dangle over the edge—not even a little bit—‘cause if the Monster underneath the bed gets hold of one of your feet, you’ll be sucked underneath the bed before you can even blink!”
Count Dracula (Christopher Lee)|image from soundonsight.org
ME: Oh for God’s sake, why did you go through this litany of monsters! Are you trying to give me a heart attack in the dark?
PEE-WEE: Really now . . . I’m giving you a heart attack, am I? Have you peed your pants—not once, not twice, but three times—like I did when you gave me your Halloween gift of the oral rendition of the Monster Bible? If I recall, I was only four years old—you are sixty-four!
ME: Oh look, the lights just came back on and I just heard the garage door open up—it must be WW coming home earlier than I expected (hallelujah!). Gotta go. I’ll talk to you later, psycho-sister. Oh, and by the way, I’m going on record to disavow all knowledge of this Monster Bible and said treatment of you when you were a little kid. God broke the mold of a model big sister when I was born.
PEE-WEE: Hum, are you sure the garage door was opened by WW just now?
ME: What do you mean—am I sure? Pee-wee cut the crap; you’re freakin’ me out, here.
PEE-WEE: Are you sure it’s my brother-in-law in the garage—maybe it’s the long lost relatives of The Boogey, Count Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf Man that you forgot to add to your Monster Bible. Maybe it’s — THE ZOMBIES! Mwahahahaha . . . Mwahahahaha . . . MWAHAHAHAHA!
I am discovering that the overdone meme on the Internet is correct: monsters don’t live under our beds when we grow up—they live in our heads. After one exposes the monsters underneath the bed of our childhood to be simply part of an overactive imagination, one has to constantly make sure that real live monsters don’t take up residence under our adult beds, rendering us completely incapacitated: fear of abandonment, fear of rejection, fear of racism, fear of bullying, fear for the welfare of our children and their children, fear of growing old, fear of death, fear of never finding love, and my personal “top fear”—fear that God is not good and life as we know it is all there is—the haves vs. the have-nots. The only antidote against monsters that I’ve discovered is that one has to flood the room with “light (Truth)” to push back the darkness, and then all the monsters (lies) have to flee.
I am also discovering that no matter how long it takes—younger siblings will have their revenge on older siblings—and it will seem to taste awfully sweet to them.
What monsters exist beneath your bed and in your head?
Image from thetoque.com “On the Subject of Monsters Under the Bed”
“…it is easy not to believe in monsters, considerably more difficult to escape their dread and loathsome clutches.”― Stanisław Lem, The Cyberiad
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”—Friedrich Nietzsche
“We make our own monsters, then fear them for what they show us about ourselves.”― Mike Carey & Peter Gross, The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity
“One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
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