Matt Forney
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The Monsters in the Closet

monster-in-the-closet

This is a guest post by Vicomte.

“Dad?”

“Yes?”

“Can you check my closet for monsters? Please?”

“Of course I can. Don’t I always? Do you think I would let you fall asleep without duly making sure there are exactly zero monsters present in any given closet within range of your tiny snoring sounds? What kind of father do you think I am?”

Charlie giggled. “I love you, Daddy.”

Dad smiled. “I love you, too. I can also affirm the presence of exactly zero monsters in this particular closet.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

“You’re welcome, kiddo. Now pretend to be asleep for me so I can tell your mother we did this thing right, not all slapdash and less-than.”

Charlie giggled again, closing his eyes and trying not to laugh.

“Like a rock. You’re a star.” Dad stood, turned, and walked to the door.

“Dad?”

“Yes?”

“Is there anything scarier than monsters?”

“Nothing you have to worry about, kiddo. Now go to sleep, before Mom comes in and makes me feel slapdash.”

“But is there? Anything scarier?”

“Yes. Her name is Mom and she’s just down the hall. Sleep. Sleep is good for little boys and their fathers, who need to keep their energy up to effectively clear closets for aforementioned little boys.”

“I mean really, Daddy. Is there anything scarier than monsters?”

Dad sat at the side of his son’s bed, smiling warmly, a hand reassuring at his son’s own.

“Yes, Charlie. There is something scarier than monsters. It is something we all fear, every day of our lives, though most of us don’t ever realize this. The thing we fear, once we have learned the fear of monsters, is an idea. See, kiddo, the monsters in the closet is really just the fear of an idea. The idea that there is something going on that you don’t fully know about or understand, and maybe this something is something not good. But then you get a little older, and you begin to understand just what the idea is that you’re scared of. Why the monsters in the closet keep you up at night.

“The idea is that there is something you love very much, very, very much, and the idea is that someone or something comes along and defiles this thing. It could be anything, this thing you love. It could be a person, a place, a song or a color, or a word, or just another idea. But the fear is that whatever you love, maybe someday it gets defiled. Defiled by something uncaring, something unloving and unappreciative; something that doesn’t understand. Maybe it already has been defiled, and you don’t even know it. Maybe it’s being defiled right now. Maybe it’s going to be defiled no matter what you do, and you don’t even know that you couldn’t stop it if you tried.

“That’s the fear, kiddo. That you will be standing at the gates of the temple, sword in hand, and some barbarian will blunder in, unseen, unheard, unfelt, and will callously unzip his pants and piss on the altar. And it will never be the same. And there’s nothing in the world you can do about it.”

Dad stood, turned on his son’s nightlight, and moved toward the door.

“Night, kiddo.”

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