What Happens After Bedtime
“Good night son,” my father said as he began to close the door to my bedroom.
“Dad, wait! Please check the closet again! Please!” I begged him, my voice muffled as I hid myself under the sheets.
“Fine, one more time, but then you have to go to sleep,” he said.
“Okay, I will,” I lied. He opened the sliding door of my closet and threw his hands in the air.
“Nothing here. You’re all clear tonight. Now get some rest,” he said as he left. I heard the door shut behind him, and I peeked out from underneath my blanket. Sure enough, he was standing there, his eyes pale yellow and claws gleaming white. His lizard-like tail flicked about behind him. He didn’t come off quite as scary as he used to. He’d been stalking me for over three months now, so I at least knew to expect him. Still, a monster in your closet isn’t something you really ever get used to.
“He’ll never catch me, you know. I don’t understand why you have him keep trying,” the creature said. His voice was rough and grated against my eardrums. It was like nails dragging along a blackboard.
“I wish you would just go away. I’m not getting out of bed,” I tell him. That was the one rule of monsters – they couldn’t touch you if you were in bed. I didn’t understand why, but I was sure thankful for it each night.
“One of these nights you’ll slip up. You’ll have to use the bathroom eventually. Or maybe you’ll get thirsty. Gee, a glass of water sounds mighty fine right now…” he said, making a slurping sound with his tongue.
“I can hold it as long as I want,” I shot back. Another lie. Boy, if mom knew I’d be grounded for sure.
“I’ll get you one day. It’s only a matter of time,” he sneered. Suddenly there was a large thump, my bed shook a little, and the room was filled with an absolutely awful stench. I hid my nose under my covers.
“Not if I get him first!” came the deep voice from underneath my mattress. The first monster and I looked at each other, then towards the underside of my bed.
“Who are you?” the closet monster asked.
“Name’s Larry, bed monster! At your service,” came the guttural reply. I looked back at the closet monster and tilted my head quizzically. I didn’t even know that monsters had names, much less ones like Larry. He shook his head.
“Well, hello Larry. I’m Eugene, and sorry, but this is my territory. Please go back to wherever it is you bed scum spawn from,” Eugene spat through gritted teeth.
“Well, it looks like there’s room for two of us here, closet dweller, and I’ll bet I get him before you’ve even had a chance to blink,” Larry retorted. I listened intently, but discreetly, to their conversation.
“I don’t think so. I know your kind. Sluggish, greasy. You hide under beds because you lack finesse. You rely on the element of surprise, and you lost that the moment you announced your arrival,” Eugene taunted.
“Well maybe I did tonight, but the next night? Nobody knows I’m here. At least I’m not an idiot like you closet freaks. You let them see you! They know you’re here!” Larry laughed. Eugene narrowed his eyes, becoming increasingly annoyed by this newcomer. I watched on.
“It adds to the thrill when you can see how terrified you make them,” Eugene said angrily. His voice sounded even more coarse than before.
“Well, why don’t you guys fight it out?” I piped up. I had listened long enough. These two hated each other, and it sounded almost like a family feud. I didn’t know that bed monsters and closet monsters were different from one another. I especially didn’t know that they hated each other.
“Fight… each other?” I heard Larry’s voice ask from under the bed.
“Well, yeah. You both think you have a better shot at me. Whoever wins gets the territory. Eugene’s been here forever and hasn’t so much as touched me. Maybe Larry would have better luck,” I said, lying again. At least, I think I was lying. I didn’t know anything about the new guy. I just figured Eugene would have the upper hand after being here so long.
“What did you say?” Eugene fumed. Steam literally poured out of his ears. My little remark had hit home.
“You know what? Why not? I love a little scrap!” Larry replied excitedly. My bed shifted a little as he crawled out and stood up. He was huge, and he lumbered. He had dinosaur-like plates sticking out of his back, ripping through a giant blue coat. He had greasy black hair and kind of looked like the Hulk, except in hobo form. He easily towered over Eugene, and I thought that maybe what I said earlier wouldn’t turn out to be a lie after all.
“Are you sure this is what you want to get yourself into?” Eugene asked, rubbing his long claws together as if he were sharpening them.
“I was going to ask you the same,” Larry replied, cracking his knuckles. I hunkered down under my sheets, ready to watch the action.
Larry swung first, and it was on. They crashed and smashed their way around my room. I wondered how my parents could sleep through all of this. Larry was having a hard time hitting Eugene, and Eugene wasn’t doing much damage either. His claws seemed to bounce off of Larry’s steely hide. I thought that maybe they would tire each other out before anything else happened.
Eventually, Larry did get a good hit in. After darting around so much and dodging everything Larry threw his way, the closet monster seemed to be tiring. The hit caught Eugene in the side of his head and he crashed to the floor. Larry quickly jumped on top of him.
“Who’s the the floor dweller now?” he grinned. He punched Eugene in the face, and the closet monster disappeared in a powdery flash.
“Well that takes care of that!” Larry smiled, admiring his victory.
“Good job,” I said, “Hey, Larry?”
WHACK! The monster vanished, just like Eugene had done.
“I win,” I laugh. If reading Calvin and Hobbes had taught me anything, it was that baseball bats are necessary if you have a monster problem. Handy advice. I settled into bed again, relieved that I could finally get a good night’s sleep.