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.”

At monster parties or conventions, he’d listen to his colleagues as they shared details of their most successful scares.  Then, as they’d reach the climax of their stories, he’d interrupt with “Oh yea, I did that one back in ‘93.  It works better when you use Soy milk.” or “Ugh, that was all the rage in 1926.  Everyone was doing the SockBite back then.”

One evening, however, one of his fellow monsters, Marika Mashkid, retaliated, “Well, if you’re such an expert, why haven’t you come up with some new and amazing scare tactic?”  Shadow stopped short. He was stumped.  Marika smirked and shouted for all to hear: “I dare you! I dare you, Shadow, to stop harping about what happened in the past and give us something for the future!”  After a long moment of silence, Marika harrumphed in triumph and sauntered away leaving a trail of stench behind her.

All eyes were on a speechless Shadow.  He stood motionless, gingerale in hand, contemplating the challenge before him.  She had made a good point.  Now what was he going to do about it…?

The next morning, Shadow went to his neighborhood grocery store to pick up some capers for a Remoulade dressing.  He walked through the produce aisle in a funk, thinking, “How in the world will I come up with a new way to scare people?  What do I have to offer that hasn’t been done before?  And what’s the point anyway?”

He glowered at a nearby display of potatoes and in a moment of utter frustration knocked the entire pile to the ground.

Shadow’s anger quickly dissolved into tears.  He went to rescue the rolling spuds and then sat with them on the display table. He wished he could just disappear. Without much thought he began to replace the display; the mountain of potatoes growing higher and higher around him until at last Shadow was completely covered.

“That’s it,” thought Shadow, “I’ll just spend the rest of my life buried in carbohydrates.  I mean, who cares, right?”

It was at that moment that ten-year-old Trista Schmidt called out to her mother, “How many do we need for the mashed potatoes, mom?”

“Seven, sweetheart.” called her mother as she waited in line at the deli counter.

Trista leaned over, counting to herself “One potato, two potato, three potato, four… five potato, six potato, seven potato…”

“ROAR!!!!” shouted Shadow.

He had never seen a child jump so high WHILE peeing her pants.  He chortled with a kind of satisfaction he hadn’t experienced in years. True, it was the same old startling trick, and maybe he hadn’t invented anything new, but what he felt at that moment was pure joy.  He couldn’t wait to thank Marika at the next monster party.

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