“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!
“SOMEONE IS IN HERE!”
“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!!!”
“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…