In the spirit of scary kid shit, I offer you this, my friend Karen’s secret parenting tool.
“You’d better stop it or I’m gonna wake him up.” Karen says with raised eyebrows. I look from her to her son, Hayden. He’s frozen on the spot, eyes wide.
Hayden’s hands come to his face. “Mama, no! Arccck. No. ” He yells and takes a step backward. Another step.
“Then stopit.” Karen says matter of factly and turns back to me. “So yeah,” she continues, “I get to work late and as I–.”
“Whoooooa, the fuck no.” I nod at her kid. He’s now playing quietly next to the Kaiser. He rolls his car into the wall. The Kaiser rolls his into a bush. “What did you tell him?” I ask.
“Oh, I told him that I’d wake him up.” She smiles slyly.
“Yeah, I get that. Who? Wake who up?” I demand. She smiles again. “’Him.’ It’s no one. But he thinks there’s a monster in this box on the laundry room shelf.”
I stare at her, horrified, and reach for a cigarette. “Oooooh. Of course.”
“Yeah,” she continues. “I was doing laundry and he was being a pain in the ass. So I shook this cardboard box on the shelf to get his attention. He stopped and asked me if there was a monster in the box. Wasn’t my idea. It was his.”
“So you confirmed it.” I shake my head, lighting the cigarette. “You’re an evil genius. You’re also gonna give him a complex.”
She laughs. “I know. But it works. Like now, whenever Hayden’s bad, I just mention ‘him’ and ask if I should wake ‘him’ up. Generally stops the problem.”
“Dude. That’s sick.” I say. “It’s twisted. He’s living in fear of, like, a horrible face-eating beast. Living in your laundry room.”
She shakes her head. “Sorta. I mean really, it’s like a shoe box. So the monster is obviously really small. And yeah, he lives in the box, that’s where he sleeps. But the monster goes anywhere. That’s the beauty of it. He’s in the box, right, until I need him. If I call, out he’ll come, materialize and junk. He’s everywhere. He’s nowhere. He sees everything. And, I mean, it’s not real. He’ll figure it out.”
I nod my head slowly. “It’s God in a box.”