All Monsters

Katie and Tim

“But why?” asked Katie.

“Well, that’s a complicated question,” replied Tim as his hulking frame sank deeper into the edge of her mattress.  The glow of the night-light cast their shadows across the wall.

“Perhaps it’s because they want to prepare you,” said Tim.

“Prepare me for what?”

“For life.”

“Does life have monsters in it?”



The NO

Some thought the No was allergic to Yes –
For his answer to every question addressed,
Was a loud, angry “No!”; he would not acquiesce.
“No!” was the only response he’d profess.


Belinda the Cryer

Belinda knew that the easiest way to get what she wanted, especially when she wasn’t getting what she wanted… was to cry.

“Belinda, time to put your monster cards away.  We need to go to the grocery store.”
“Just five more minutes, Mom?!?”
“No, Belinda, we need to go now before the traffic hits.”
“But, Mom!”
“Belinda Josephine Linnell!”

Belinda could cry for hours, barely stopping to catch her breath, until at last her mother gave in to her relentless tears. read more


Lester’s Lament

Lester felt terrible.

His mother would barely look at him.  He silently followed her through the house, into the kitchen– but before he could offer a word of explanation, she stated bluntly, “Lester, I can’t right now.  I need a moment.”

The words were crushing.  It’s not as though he had anything extraordinary to say in his defense, but he was desperate for his mother’s forgiveness.

“Just go to your room and think about what you’ve done.”  With that she left Lester and exited to the porch.  Lester watched as his mother sat on the swing and stared out at the graying horizon.

Reluctantly he turned and trudged to his bedroom.  His head hung low in shame.  “What was I thinking?” he thought.  Then moments later, “I wasn’t thinking.”  He hadn’t meant to hurt his mother, but his actions had repercussions.  And now, intentional or not, he was in trouble.  He stood in his bedroom doorway and wiped a tear from his cheek.  “What if she doesn’t love me anymore?” he thought.  “Or what if she doesn’t ever speak to me again?  Or what if she decides she’s better off without me and makes me go live at the YMCA?”

He took a deep breath and looked around the room.  What to do?

He picked up a train engine from the rug and put it in the red bin.  He collected seven PusPocket wrappers from the cushions of the window bench and threw them away.  Then he made his bed, even tucking in the corners of the sheets and fluffing up the pillows like his mother always did.  In twenty minutes the room had transformed.  Finally he walked to the closet to hang up yesterday’s pants and something caught his eye.

There it was. The only possible solution to his problem.  Baby blue, starched ruffles, bell-bottomed.  Lester’s mom had picked it out with great pride for Aunt Debbie’s wedding.  For Lester, it had been a miserable affair.  The tuxedo was itchy, stiff, and frilly.  The wedding photos were a comic strip of boyhood disgruntlement.  At the end of the evening, Lester had practically torn himself free from the outfit, his mother sighing and saying, “But you looked so handsome…”

For Lester to wear it once more would be the ultimate gesture of sacrifice.  One that his mother could not ignore.

It took twelve long minutes to put it on and by minute three he was sweating and itching.  He even put in the cufflinks and the collar stays.  Fully dressed, he tiptoed painfully downstairs. His mother was still swinging gently outside even though it had begun to rain. He crept into the kitchen and started the kettle.  He pulled his mother’s favorite over-sized mug from the shelf and put an earl grey teabag inside of it. He scooped out three tiny black ants from the golden FancyAnts tin and placed them on the saucer next to the spoon. He knew that she liked to stir them in herself.

He watched the kettle and waited for it to boil.  He waited.  And he waited.  And he waited.

Finally the low whistle began.  He turned off the stove and carefully poured the boiling water into the white mug.  Then he opened the screen door and stepped outside.



Dude Looks Like a Lady(bug)

“Oooooh! Look, she’s so cute.”
“A ladybug!  How many dots does she have?”
“I wanna pet it!”
“Catch it! Catch it! I want to count her spots.”

Tyler sighed. “First off,” he thought, “I am a HE.”  He spread his wings and fluttered away frustrated.  The girls in the sandbox erupted in a chorus of “Awww…”

This was not an unusual occurrence for Tyler.  Countless times he had attempted to scare a group of children, only to find himself the bringer of joy rather than fear. As he flew away, all of his familiar insecurities buzzed around him:

“I hate the way I look.  Of all the monster bodies on earth, why was I stuck with this one?  Nobody fears me.  Inside I know that I’m a terrifying specimen of horror.  But on the outside, I look ridiculous.”

He puttered up to his house, but instead of stopping, he continued.

“What’s the point?” he thought. “I just can’t be ME anymore.”

He passed Belinda’s house and Henrietta’s place.  He flew over 137 Daffodil Lane, across the street and took the shortcut through the baseball fields, dodging a booger that Carlisle flicked his way.

“Even the other monsters don’t respect me.”

Tyler had no idea where he was going.  He was too busy feeling sorry for himself.

“Poor me,” he sighed.  “Poor pathetic me.”

Suddenly he found himself in a new part of town.  He had never been to Vinegar Street before.  He never even knew it existed.  He buzzed up to a sign that read: “Aero’s Construction: Future home of BOGO’s shopping centre.” Large yellow machines were lifting chunks of cement up and down, piling them into dump trucks to be carted away.

One bulldozer sat silent and unmanned.  Tyler drifted down and came to rest on the driver’s seat.  He was out of place here, but he was out of place everywhere, “So what does it matter?” he thought.  He hung his head low wondering if he would ever actually scare anyone.  The whir of the heavy machines drowned out all other sounds.

“Maybe I should give up being a monster.  I guess I could be an accountant– I’m good at counting.  Or maybe I’ll just go to Antarctica and start a ‘cool’ band called ‘The Rejects.’  Or maybe…”

His daydreams were interrupted when the door to the cab was thrown open and a large, burly, bearded construction worker climbed inside.  “MR. AERO” was stenciled in large block letters across the front of his yellow safety helmet.

Tyler was irritated at the distraction.  This was his sulking spot!


“What the…?   Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!”

Mr. Aero squealed in an uncharacteristically high pitch.

“A bug!  Eeeeeeee!!!  I hate bugs!  It’s on me!  Get it off me!  Somebody get it off me!!  Help!!!”

Mr. Aero fell backwards out of the cab onto his rotund bottom.  Then he leapt to his feet and scampered across the construction site, brushing off his shoulders, arms, and head.

“Get it off me!!!”

Tyler froze.

“Did I… Did I really… I… I just scared that guy!!!!!!”

In this instant Tyler understood that he was Tyler for a reason.

He had great monster powers after all.  Secret monster powers.  So secret, even he didn’t know his own strength until this moment.

He dusted off his red shell, spread his wispy wings and flew off the seat with gleeful purpose.

“Yahoooooo!” he sung in a voice just loud enough to muffle the shrieking cries of Mr. Aero, who by now had begun to tear off his construction uniform…


Upstairs Downstairs

I live upstairs
And you live downstairs
And never we two shall meet,

For I do things my way
And you do them yours,
Separate and each complete.


The Can’t and the Won’t

The Can’t is a monster who gets in your head
At the moment that you start to doubt
What you can do and who you can be
And whether you’re with or without.

“I can’t write a poem.” “I can’t sing a song.”
“I can’t build a thing-a-ma-loo.”
The Can’t will rejoice and do flips in the air
As you limit the things you can do.


Monster Moves

We got moves
Monster moves
We got grooves
In our shoes

And we stretch up to the sky
Reach up, way up high
And we say “Ooooooo!
Ooooo, oooo, oooo!”



Leave me alone.
I’m grumpy.
I don’t know why, I just am.

The world is against me.
My oatmeal is runny.
And I’ll never have my own robot.


The Angriest Potato

Shadow had been in the business for a VERY long time. He had scared countless children in countless places– from suburban houses to high-rise city flats, from extended-stay hotels to camping tents.  He had done it all.  And he was over it.

“There are no new ways to scare children,” he would declare gruffly. “It’s all been done before.”


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