I got home late from the movie.
Sadaam Hussien, covered with smallpox, was sitting on an atomic bomb in my living room.
Scared the daylights out of me! I thought he was a burglar—you read so much about crack dealers, high on meth, committing home invasions. Then I relaxed. Hey, I don’t live in a bad neighbohood.
“Please,” Sadaam croaked, “Would you let me sleep under your bed? I’ll lose the smallpox and the A-Bomb.”
“I thought you were in prison in Iraq!”
“No,” Sadaam explained, “That’s Sadaam Hussein, I’m just your irrational fears.”
“My irrational fears?!” I was skeptical.
“Don’t you remember me?” Sadaam morphed into a smooth blob of green jelly moving around the carpet.
“The Abominable H Man?” I nearly screamed.
“The Monster Under the Bed!” the green jelly coalesced into a spider with three alligator heads. “We grew up together!”
“I thought I outgrew you!” I said as the monster morphed into George Bush and then into Osama Bin Laden.
“Never!” the monster sounded hurt and flickered between Barry Manilow and Dick Cheney. “People think they’re born with a guardian angel. They’re all born with an Irrational Fear. Of course, we start as immature as children.”
“Yep,” the monster nodded, “I was just a five year old monster under your bed trying to figure out how many heads an alligator has. Never could get the legs to match, though.”
“Why are you here?” I demanded. “What’s all this about wanting to sleep under my bed?”
“Well,” the monster slumped into an easy chair, “It’s hard enough being a grown up and having to embody grown up fears, but the advent of CNN and Fox News and all this internet stuff….. For crying out loud, it’s paranoiac fears, alarms and panics 24/7 now. It’s exhausting just trying to keep up.”
“Remember? It was all so simple. All I had to be was a giant spider or a dinosaur or a bucket of snakes with alligator heads and stay under your bed. If I were out of ideas, I could always be something you’d seen on Saturday morning horror flicks—The Crawling Eye or the Abominable H Man…”
He sighed, flickering pink, then green, and then pink again—“”it’s not easy being green…” he muttered.
Then, he went on, “It’s just too damn complicated now. How can I be bird flu, anthrax, the budget deficit, nuclear war, health insurance, where are your kids, is your spouse cheating on you, and what was that mysterious lump you felt in the shower????”
He started to blubber. “I tell you, it all just scares the dickens out of me and I just can’t keep up with being all the monsters I’m supposed to be now that you’re grown up…”
I hate to see a grown monster cry. “There, there,“ I tried to sound hopeful, helpful.
“So.” The monster stopped crying and looked up. “Could I please hide under your bed??
“How long?” I demanded.
“Well, I’d love to stay forever, but really, just for a week or two, just to get relaxed and rested, and calmed down. Please!”
“Okay,” I sighed.
“Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!” my Irrational Fears almost slobbered on the carpet in gratitude. “And as long as I’m under there, what the heck, you won't have to worry about a thing, not even whether you’re drinking decaf or not! I promise. “
“Great,” I nodded. “This way towards the bedroom.”
I pulled up the bed ruffle so it could slide under. “One other thing,” the monster looked up at me, hopeful.”
“What?” I asked.
“Could you leave a little night light on under here?”
(Author's note: this micro story was inspired by seeing an ad for a $25 circular shaped plastic light, powered by ultra modern LED's emitting a blue light. Advertised as the perfect thing to buy to put under a kid's bed and to keep the monsters away. The manufacturer guarantees the lights "will burn until the child outgrows fear of monsters.")