“He’s a Monster, but at Least He’s Our Monster.” Little Sally pointed her tiny finger toward the writhing orange blob, then turned back to her older brother, Tony. Sally smirked smugly and folder her arms, dipping her head slightly as if that clinched the argument.
“No he isn’t!” insisted Tony. “You’re deluding yourself.”
Perhaps Tony thought of his real name “Marc Anthony” as an invitation — perhaps a demand — to wax upon the topic; I won’t say wax elegant — but some sort of wax — as you might obtain as part of a ten dollar drive-through car wash. Perhaps if he had waxed more elegantly, but alas, that was not the case.
Tony thus proceeded: “The whole point of being a Monster is that you don’t answer to anyone else. That includes a team captain, a superior officer, a teacher or any other “authority” figure. But you may, of course, give in temporarily to a more powerful monster. You are using him for your own purposes — playing on his vanity. Other, less powerful people you bully into doing what is in your own interests — or often just on a whim. You play to the throngs by giving them entertainment. But you have no loyalty to them either.
“Our Monster — as you call it just because that’s the name he likes — has no loyalty. He absolutely thinks loyalty is garbage – a set of words and concepts you can use on some people to get them to do what you want. So, sure, he thinks it’s fine to pretend loyalty in order to manipulate others. But the instant he thinks one of his “loyal followers” is a liability, he’ll destroy that person as best he can. If all he can do is ruin their reputation, he’ll do that. If they own key personnel in courts and law enforcement, he’ll use the courts to ruin his “comrades.” If and when he gains still more power over the police and military, he’ll destroy his enemies physically.
“And, if he runs out of enemies, he’ll start calling old friends, new enemies and destroy them as well. You’re playing with something worse than fire, here Sally.”
Sally sniffed. “You’re just jealous because he likes me better than you!”
A shrill scream shot through the air. Sally & Tony both jerked their heads toward the sound. The sharp teeth of the round-mouthed orange monster opened wide as it bellowed and screeched. “HUNGRY! HUNGRY!”
“Well,” said Sally, “I think he’s cute, so I’m going to feed him.”
As Sally scanned their scant provisions for something that would likely please the monster, Tony continued to try to dissuade her.
“Look, Sally, it’s not safe. It may look somewhat human, but he has no human feelings. He just…”
Sally picked up some lunch meat from the nearly empty fridge and ignored Tony as she walked out into the back deck. She looked down on the writhing form of our poor monster. She muttered to herself, “I don’t see why he needs to be penned up. He should be free to go anywhere he wants and to do anything he wants like everyone else.”
Sally strode over to the edge of the deck, took one backward glance to see whether Tony was coming to stop her and drew her arm back to toss the package of meat. She hesitated for a moment. What if Tony’s right? What if it really is dangerous?
The monster’s plaintive cry bellowed through the air again, “HUNGRY! HUNGRY! FEED ME!”
Well, thought Sally, I’m not going to do — or not do — something just because my smarty pants brother says it’s a bad idea. She cocked her arm again and threw the packaged down to monster — MY monster, she thought.
Monster immediately tore off the packaging and tossed it aside. He had already made quite a mess of his pen. He gobbled it up in a flash. Then, he began moaning. “Not fresh! Low quality! Need fresh! FRESH! Come closer, little girl. Pretty girl. Oh, you are a pretty girl! No-one ever pets me. Woe is me!”
The monster waddled over to the edge of his pen. From here, Sally judged, she should be able to barely pat the top of his scruffy head. He looked up with dog eyes and she put her hand out to pet her. Suddenly, Monster’s neck shot up and took her whole hand in its mouth. It sucked on her hand and she could feel its sharp teeth against her skin. It began growling in its throat but she could understand what it was saying, “Bring me fresh meat! Or, I will eat you! I need it NOW!”
The monster released her hand and stared up into her eyes with its dull shark eyes. She glanced back into the kitchen but saw no sign of Tony. The skin of her arm was unbroken. But that Monster really sucks!
Where had Tony gone? She opened the kitchen door and padded about. No-one here but old Winston, the sick gray cat. Winston had once been a fun lively pet, but these days — not so much. Maybe he’d be happier dead. She knew in her heart of hearts that was a lie. But somehow, lying for the Monster didn’t seem so bad. She grabbed Winston by the scruff of the neck and put her hands under his aging body. She could feel the old cat’s ribs. She had to use her butt to open the door back to the deck but she managed. Like a zombie, she walked over to the edge and tossed the cat over before she lost her courage.
The cat was gone in a single gulp! Well, she thought, at least it was painless. “There you go, Monster!”
“I NEED MORE! MORE Fresh Meat!” the monster pleaded. “NOW!”
“We don’t have any more meat. Times are tough. Would you like some fruit?”
“MEAT! NOW! MORE and Fresh! NOW!” wailed the Monster.
“Okay, just a minute, Monster. I’ll look.”
Sally re-entered the kitchen but saw no sign of Tony. She walked into the entry way and there sat Tony putting his fishing boots on.
“Where are you going, Tony?”
“I’m going fishing! You just threw away our last package of lunch meat. Like an idiot!”
Sally ground her teeth. Why was her brother so mean about the Monster? “Tony,” she said sweetly, “I’m glad you’re going fishing. I’m sorry I gave our last meat to the Monster, but I think you’re right! He’s dangerous! And, I think he’s about to break out of his pen! Can you come take a look before you go?”
Tony nodded. “All right. I’m glad you’re finally seeing some sense!” He finished putting on his boots making the trek out onto the back deck a little awkward but he came to the edge and looked down at the Monster. He scanned the pen. “Sally, I don’t see a problem with the pen.”
Sally came up next to him. “Look over — like here — right below. Doesn’t it look like a hole in the fencing? It might be okay, but it looks wrecked somehow.”
Tony leaned over the rail to look at the fencing directly below. “WHAT?!” he screamed as Sally snuck behind him and lifted his feet making him tumble a dozen feet onto the ground below. Something — perhaps several somethings — snapped as he hit the ground awkwardly. “NO!” he screamed. Those were his last words.
Sally felt a moment of guilt but then thought: Well, he had it coming. Anyway, now the Monster’s fed. And he was really hungry. She felt just a bit nauseous though as she heard the monster’s teeth saw through the bones. She couldn’t tell her parents what really happened of course. When the noise stopped, she crept over to the edge. There were only small pieces of her brother left and these were being lapped up by the Monster who stopped long enough to leer at Sally.
“Monster happy! Thank you, little girl. Pet Monster, pretty little girl. Please pet Monster.”
Having a pet Monster like this was a lot better than having a pesky brother she decided.
She put her hand down to pet the Monster’s scruffy head again. She stared uncomprehending at the place where her right arm had been just moments before. A pulsing geyser of someone’s blood spurted through the air. She shook her head and said, “What?” That’s my blood, she realized and she fell forward. She was losing consciousness. She found the strength to move her head and the last thing she saw was the Monster’s impossibly long neck stretching that roundish hole of teeth toward her face. The Monster laughed and said, “Pretty little stupid girl.”
After digesting the lunch meat, the cat, Tony and Sally, the Monster felt quite satisfied.
For an hour.
Then, he began using his new found bulk and strength to dismantle his pen. Now he would be free.
Free at last.
Free to kill and eat all the children he could.
Life was good, thought “Our” Monster.