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Revenge of the Tickle Monster

by on December 30, 2011

And now, the second-to-last short story of the year! Woot, I say! Woot!

Neil was walking down the street. It was a pleasant street, running through a placid suburban neighborhood next to well-tended lawns, in which fat children leaped merrily through sprinkler systems like bounding beach balls. It was not midnight, nor was it in a bad part of town, and the nearest cemetery was seven miles away. Neil, therefore, did not expect anything unpleasant. Oh, Neil. Neil, Neil, Neil. Poor silly chap.

Just as he arrived at a crossing and placed his hand on the button that would dutifully inform the traffic signal that he wished to cross the street, a sudden ferocious form lurched out of the shadows. They were very small shadows, of course, cast by bushes, a mailbox, and a fire hydrant (at which a small poodle was attending to nature), but the monster was contractually obligated to lurch out of shadows, and so lurch out of shadows he did. He reared up before Neil, who, upon seeing the monster’s array of jagged teeth and gleaming claws, nearly attended to nature himself. So far the monster was doing quite well. Then, stupidly, it spoke.

“I,” it rumbled, “am the Tickle Monster.”Β  It was about to go on, when Neil burst out laughing. “Hey, stop that!” cried the Tickle Monster, most perplexed. “I haven’t started on you yet!”

“I’m sorry, really,” gasped Neil, when he could bring himself under control again, “but, honestly, the Tickle Monster? Of all the things that go bump in the night, you’re not exactly the most impressive. ”

The Tickle Monster’s eyes grew misty, and it actually began to blubber a little. A blubbering Tickle Monster is certainly an impressive sight, as its scalding tears dribble down its orange skin and splatter onto the sidewalk. “I know you wouldn’t take me seriously!” it whimpered. “No one takes monsters seriously anymore! First you make a movie that makes us all look like soft-hearted babysitters trying to entertain children when any self-respecting monster would just messily devour the, entrails and all!”

“Very nice mental image, thank you,” Neil said, but the monster was far from done.

“And then,” it complained, “then we all thought we’d have a go at the really dark monsters, the one’s who’ve haunted you humans for centuries. The vampires.Werewolves. Ogres. Oh, we were going to have a grand time of it, but then…then you people made books and movies about that! I’ve got friends who’re vampires, you know! How do you think they feel, going to the bookstores to see shelves and shelves of stories about how you people want to fall in love with them? It’s not like the old days, oh no, where when they showed up women ran screaming in terror, no, now they’re more likely to swoon at his feet! And between the movies about that ogre and all the rest of it…” the Tickle Monster sighed. “Now I’m the only one left. The only monster who they said had a shot at being taken seriously. And…and all I do is tickle people.”

“I never actually thought there’d be a literal tickle monster,” Neil commented. “I’d heard parents use that phrase before…”

“Well, there is, and I’m it,” the Tickle Monster said. “So, shall I start the tickling, then?”

“What?”

The Tickle Monster sighed. “I’ve got to tickle you until you fall over and die, you know. That’s the deal. Then you’ll get resurrected and become a tickle monster yourself.”

“WHAT?” shrieked Neil.

“I thought that was clearly understood. Isn’t it all in your folklore about our kind?”

“We don’t HAVE folklore about tickle monsters!” Neil said, rather beginning to panic. “We never thought they were real monsters; it’s just a thing that parents say when they tickle their kids!”

The Tickle Monster looked abashed. “Oh, blast! I knew you didn’t take me seriously, but…your people don’t even believe in literal tickle monsters?”

“NO!” exclaimed Neil. He was a bit overwrought, but then, you would be overwrought too if you were about to become a tickle-monster zombie. His protestations were of no avail, however, for the Tickle Monster gave a great leering smile. “Then I suppose I shall have to make you believe…”

The monster’s long menacing arm reached out for Neil, and then suddenly there was a flash and Catrina burst on scene, towel in hand. She snapped it fiercely at the monster’s nose, and he reeled back howling in dismay. “Back,” she cried, “back you horrid villain!”

“Oh, thank you,” Neil started to say, but Catrina cut him off.

“Really,” she said disdainfully, “The Tickle Monster? This is the best you could come up with? And I thought the Relationsheep was bad.”

“What?” Neil asked.

“Sorry. I keep forgetting not to break the fourth wall when I’m around ordinary story characters. ”

“What?”

“I’m sorry,” said Catrina, “but what country are you from?”

Neil, somewhat confused by a random person popping in out of nowhere and driving off the Tickle Monster, fell back on a word which had served him reliably until now. “What?”

“What isn’t a country I have heard of. Do they speak English in What?”

“What?”

“English, m-”

“CATRINA!” Perry yelled in shock, running up from behind an ice-cream truck, where he had just materialized. “This is supposed to be a family-friendly story!”

“Sorry. I got carried away by the reference. ”

“Still, there could be small children reading this story. Why, I don’t know, but there could. You could at least make references to, I don’t know, Dora the Explorer or something.”

“Okay, who are you?” Neil said, even more confused.

“I’m Perry, I’m the sidekick/love interest, and boy, that sure got interesting in the novel when-”

“You idiot, don’t tell them that!” Catrina said, playfully smacking Perry upside the head.

“Should I even be here?” Neil asked plaintively. He was experiencing that terribly awkward feeling one gets when one sees a person that one knows talking to someone else one doesn’t know, and so one goes up to join the conversation, except it’s about things that one has no idea about and yet one can’t just walk away as that would be rude.

“You know,” said Catrina, “there’s been lots of times where I’ve wondered if I’m in the right place. Especially if I’m in an area where there’s no restroom nearby. That can be really troubling when I experience sudden constipation. It can be a real problem! Fortunately, I always take Susan’s Happy Laxative Gelcaps, for when I really need to…” her voice trailed off. She took a long, deep breath. Then she casually began coiling her towel. “Am I doing a product endorsement? Am I really doing a product endorsement?”

Perry couldn’t stop snickering. “Apparently. But, you know what they say…”

“Don’t. Do not say that.”

“When the going gets tough…”

“STOP IT.”

Catrina, having gotten throughly sick of the story, swung her towel into the air. It wrapped neatly around a streetlight like the world’s fluffiest Batline. Then she swung away, hurtling off into the suburban trees, in what should have been a dramatic exit except that she could still hear Perry and Neil chortling behind her. “Honestly,” Catrina muttered to herself as she swung through the air, “if I find out how I got in this thing, I’ll-”

Then she smacked into the side of a white helicopter she hadn’t seen before. She started to fall, grabbed hold of the struts, and then watched in horror as a side panel slid open. “Hi there!” Susan waved.

Catrina smiled. She knew the year was almost over, but before 2012 rolled in and the Mayan apocalypse ended the world, it looked like she was going to have one last battle with Susan. This was going to be fun.

To be continued…

This story was written with Prompt 51 of the Chrysalis Experiment. At least it started out that way. I really didn’t expect Catrina to get involved. C’est la vie.

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7 Comments
  1. WOOOOOOT, 51 down! hehe

    I am not just going to read all your Catrina stuff in the new year, I will also read all your non-Catrina stuff.

    I love how Susan became everyone’s villain! hehe. sometimes without us even meaning her to!

    • and one more to go! woot!
      I think it was one of your stories where Susan first showed up, wasn’t it? The one where she has the Susettes and they call her suesational and then she gets poisoned by the guy? Good times, good times. πŸ™‚

      • Responding long after the question was asked…but yes, that was my story! it was a fun one to write πŸ™‚ and yes, suddenly Susans were cropping up everywhere. I even had a Sue by accident once πŸ˜›

  2. This one was a wild ride – creatively speaking, that is!

  3. “…in which fat children leaped merrily through sprinkler systems like bounding beach balls.” haha, that is so classic.

    Relationsheep…………? I don’t remember them. πŸ˜› I love them already though.

    “That can be really troubling when I experience sudden constipation. It can be a real problem!” – ummm, RANDOM! hehe

    Catrina does pop up at the least expected times, does she not?

    • Yep: that is how Catrina rolls. And this wasn’t even supposed to be her story to begin with. Poor Neil. πŸ˜›

      The Relationsheep was another non-Catrina story I did last fall. One of my professors mispronounced “relationship”. I got inspired. Law school can be fun! Lol.

      • I’m constantly getting inspiration from misspelled or mispronounced words, things like that πŸ˜‰ My favourite thing to do at work (sadly?) is stumble across really silly names of authors and stuff in the catalogue πŸ˜›

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