Twelve Questions for Monsters by Debra Danz

Five o’clock in the morning is a ridiculous hour for my alarm clock to go off, but it does and I unwillingly obey the command, swearing to get a new ringtone sometime soon! Thankfully there are only six steps from my bed to the bathroom. I swing my legs over the side of the bed shocking my feet on the cold wood floor. The creaking floorboards reveal more than one set of footsteps. I wonder if that means I’ll get to the bathroom in half the time, or in twice the time.

“Oh, it’s you again! Gertrude, why do you keep following me around? It’s getting crowded in here and you don’t even pay rent. You did take up a selfish amount of space on my pillow last night and thanks for all the nightmares; I haven’t had fun like that since I saw The Exorcist.” Gertie’s overlapping eyelids seemed to blink but who could tell with all that extra fatty, floppy skin practically weighing them down without her even having to use a muscle.

“Gertrude, what makes you think you can play with me in my private Playground? Be careful, I might bury you in the sandbox.” A smile crept over Gertie’s sore and blistered lips but not a word was uttered from them; it was just to let me know that she had full intention of taking me up on my dare.

“Tell me something Gertrude; do you fall asleep at night counting sheep or the wrinkles on your face? Maybe I can iron them out for you, after all it’s just one of the joys of being a housewife.” At that point Gertie lifted her ten stubby fingers to her face and stretched her whiter than white skin as far back as it would go giving her that, ‘geisha gone wrong’ look.

“Just how many silicon bandages does it take to hide scares like that Gertrude? I have a few scares of my own and I use to be able to hide them better until you showed up in my life; now I’m not sure I have enough liquid foundation, as a matter of fact, I’m not sure I have a foundation at all.”

“Should monsters wear makeup? I mean there really isn’t any point, besides I don’t think Cover Girl can produce enough concealer. If you think you can get rid of that sticky green glow by lining with liner and puffing with powder, you’re only fooling yourself. While we’re on the subject I’ll thank you to stop playing with MY makeup, it doesn’t flatter you at all. “ As I lifted the brush to my hair I noticed Gertie trying to imitate me by wrapping her oversized knuckles around a pretend brush. She tried to brush that frizz with vigorous downward strokes, which made her look like she spent the day cleaning electric sockets.

“I know you’re not a thief Gertrude but I simply have to ask, did you smoke some of my cigarettes? I couldn’t have possibly smoked that much yesterday even if I did spend three hours filling out tax forms.” Gertie moved her head in a confrontational upward position exposing the ever-growing waddle under her chin. The answer was clear; at least to me it was.

“After I finish up in the bathroom I’ll get you a big cup of coffee Gertrude, will that stop your morning grunts and groans? Even I could do a better job of making scary morning noises. You need a more intense ‘GRRRRR’ and it has to come from the back of the throat like you’re speaking Swiss German or something.” Gertie let out a gurgle that sounded like a toilet bowl was about to explode. “That was a pretty decent ‘GRRRRR’, I think I’ll call you gurgling Gertie from now on.”

“I was wondering if you come from a long line of monster heritage, was your mother a monster too? Because sometimes life takes you in freakish directions and you become, well you become a monster. Traditional monsters eat children and vomit up bankers, I don’t think you have it in you to be that scornful but you still send a chill down my spine.” Gertie’s blood-shot eyes shifted from side to side as if she has a nervous disorder; that’s when I knew I hit a chord, a very deep one.

“Is that a big old monster tear I see rolling down your cheek? Gertrude you’re pathetic, a regular savage wretch is what you are!” Tears the size of hail balls fell from Gertie’s cheeks hitting the tile floor with an impact that was deafening.

“Did I come down too hard on you? I’m not a monster like you but I can be a bit of a bitch sometimes. I’ll make it up to you by baking some chocolate cookies, although if you give a monster a cookie…well you know the rest, you read the book.” From the corner of my eye I could have sworn I saw Gertie’s lips mimic the word ‘BITCH’; a murmur of it was still hanging in the air.

“So Gertrude, should we call it a truce? We’re practically compelled to if we’re gonna sleep on the same pillow and fix our faces in the same bathroom, not to mention sharing coffee, cookies and cigarettes. I guess knowing that you’re always there watching, criticizing, correcting, waiting to pounce; makes me feel a tiny bit nervous because it forces me to focus even when I’d rather be blurry.”

“How do we resolve this Gertrude? Maybe we can give each other more time and space. Maybe we should stop pointing fingers and become more positive playmates. Or maybe, just maybe, I should step away form this bathroom mirror.” With that Gertie and I raised our heads in unison, our eyes met, and one of us disappeared.

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One Response to Twelve Questions for Monsters by Debra Danz

  1. Ellen says:

    Deb- I’ve read this several times and each time I love it more and more. What a wild imagination- what wild sense of character! Wanna read more….Ellen

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