Igor Had Me in Stitches and Other not-so-Monstrous Bits

I’m never late to a party where the guests of honor are monsters. But my jaw and I found ourselves forced to spend unscheduled quality time with the fang doctor, and now I’m flying to May Monster Madness with Mistress Tardiness wailing horrors down my neck.

Right now, my jaw hates the whole world. And I don’t think there is a word that effectively describes what she feel towards scalpels, stitches, and the sound some people make when they are convinced that they can get milkshake out of an empty cup, if they just suck harder on their straw. I’m not sure why *cough*, but I think my jaw will stay irritated for a while. When I asked her if she would write this post for me, she said, “Certainly. I’ll use the fang physician’s blood as ink and make parchment out of his skin and—”

Um… I decided to write the post myself, since I didn’t think the visit was that horrible. I even laughed while I was being tortured. You see, my oral surgeon’s first name is Igor. So, of course, the moment a hand, equipped with needle and thread, approached my mouth, I lost it… and roared with laughter. He just kept on stitching. I was impressed by the steadiness of his hands. After he was done suturing, I tried explaining why I had laughed like a lunatic. But… the laughter came back, and I only said, “Igor! Stitches!” He finally got it, and yep, roared.

My jaw is still holding on to her rage, so my contribution to this year’s MMM is a short, simple sampler of not-so-monstrous bits with monsters in them:

The 1st offering is a Gary Larson cartoon that illustrates something I’ve always wondered about the more violent halves of monsters who are not monstrous all the time. How do they feel about their seemingly less threatening halves?

 

The 2nd was crafted in the middle of the night—the monstering hour—while I tried to convince my jaw that pain is the most terrible of gods, that he can not be defeated with more pain, so wishing for our head to explode wouldn’t help.

 

The 3rd and final offering was inspired by a tweet, whose vileness should not be repeated. The disgusting statement left me thinking that no beast will ever be as terrible or despicable as the human monster.  

 

Hm, I went from bright to ominous without meaning to. I guess I could blame it on my jaw, but I won’t. We must never disregard our human monsters… not today, when their corruption spreads to the highest hills.

Don’t forget to visit Annie Walls, the host of May Monster Madness 2018, to see what else is brewing…

 

Honest Monsters

Mr. Slim was a firm traditionalist when it came to the art of bone twisting pain. It was one of the reasons why he demanded that his students use shapeshifting over glamour. Jazz knew this. She agreed with it. Glamour was a shallow thing that miraged the skin to resemble exactly what was expected. Shapeshifting hurt. Physical pain was the path towards mastering many needed skills.

Still, Jazz didn’t predict that her mentor’s methods would spread into the realm of psychological torture camouflaged as boredom. She was a rogue monster catcher. Being assigned to a house where the most monstrous thing was a cranky human cook had to be some kind of punishment.

Jazz was walking towards the small Victorian, considering the demise of her psyche and the ugliness of her denimed, tank topped, and terribly unimaginative human shape, when the front door burst open to spew a child wearing a colander as a helmet and brandishing a short wooden sword. A helmeted head and extra pointy protection, Jazz thought, that’s style!

“Beg for a merciful bloody death!” Octavia said, the tip of her sword aimed at Jazz’s belly.

“Just how much blood are we talking about?” Jazz said. “And who will clean up the mess?”

“Octavia, Kai is going to have your hide if you don’t get back to the kitchen.”

“Kai doesn’t have hides, Uncle Terrence.” Octavia grinned over her shoulder. “She just cooks nasty stuff and makes you eat it.”

The old woman came to the front door, and sneered in Jazz’s general direction.

I don’t like you all that much either, Jazz thought, trying to catch the cook’s eye and failing.

“Come inside, Octavia,” the old woman said. “I need that colander to finish supper.”

Her smile gone, Octavia ran into the house after the cook.

“I’m so glad you accepted to watch my niece overnight at such short notice, Jazz.”

“It’s no problem,” she said, heading towards the house.

“I told you about Calvin, Octavia’s godfather and my business partner. I wanted you to at least see his face before I left.” He pointed at a man in a blue car. “He’s taking me to the airport. I’m late. But he’ll be available to answer any questions, and help with anything you might need. All my numbers are on the list on the kitchen table. The number to the pediatrician and to—”

“Terry,” the man called out from the car, “you won’t make it if you don’t get moving.”

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Jazz had babysat nine-year-old Octavia for nearly three weeks. Mr. Slim was convinced that something was threatening the child, but Jazz hadn’t seen a thing lurking around.

“What about the cook?” Mr. Slim had said to Jazz, a few days ago.

Jazz had watched Kai closely. It was obvious that under the shroud of sternness, the old cook’s heart was soft for the child. And Octavia adored Kai, provider of cookies, improvised helmets and other weaponry. No one spent that kind of time on a wild kid they didn’t care about.

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After Jazz put Octavia to bed and Kai cleaned the kitchen, the old woman collected her things and phoned her granddaughter for a ride.

“I wish my eyes did better at night,” Kai said to Jazz, sounding strangely sweet.

A few minutes later, Jazz heard someone at the door. “Your granddaughter has a key?”

“No,” Kai said, undoing her scarf and placing her handbag on the table. “That’s Mr. Calvin. He comes and goes as he pleases whenever Mr. Terrence isn’t home.”

“You’re still here?” Calvin said to Kai, after he entered the kitchen. “It’s late. And Terry won’t pay you overtime.”

The air thickened with dislike, disdain, and a wave of nerves.

“I… I wanted to drink something warm before I called my granddaughter. Should I make you something, too, Mr. Calvin? Perhaps, a snack? It would be no trouble. I could—”

The bell rang and Kai nearly jumped out of her skin.

“It seems your family knows your schedule better than you do,” Calvin said.

“Oh, that’s all right. I’ll tell my granddaughter to go on. I’ll take a cab home. I’ll stay until Miss Jazz’s ready for bed and you’re ready to go. In case you, either of you, might need something. It’s no bother. Really. I’ll just…”

Jazz said nothing. But she did not miss the trembling of Kai’s hands.

“Leave,” Calvin said.

Kai grabbed her bag, looked at Jazz one last time, and walked out of the house, her eyes shiny.

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“That old hag gives me the creeps.” Calvin handed one of two tea mugs to Jazz. “I’ll grab some things out of Terry’s study and then head out, unless you need something from me.”

“I’m good for tonight,” Jazz said with a yawn. “I’m more tired than I thought.”

They exchanged goodnights. Calvin stayed in the kitchen. Jazz finished her tea before checking on Octavia and readying herself for bed.

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Jazz’s shade watched Calvin crack her door open ever so slightly. “Miss?” he whispered, “Miss Jazz?” When he got no answer, Calvin walked into the room, examined the form sleeping in Jazz’s bed, peered into the tea mug, and then left the room.

He sneaked through Octavia’s door without making a sound, and stood smiling in front of the child’s bed. After some long minutes, he walked towards the door.

Jazz’s shade relaxed. Until Calvin turned off Octavia’s nightlight and closed the door without getting out of the room.

The child’s bed complained under the weight of the man. His hand moved to touch the neckline of Octavia’s polka-dotted nightgown. When his fingertips landed on skin, Jazz’s shade reentered her own flesh and reclaimed her natural shape. Her spine and limbs elongated, her eyes lost all color, her teeth sharpened, and her living hair shoved itself into Calvin’s open mouth.

She let him struggle for a while. Then she flipped him onto his back, her steel-strong arms and feet imprisoning him, her hair still jammed in his mouth. She got really close to his face, letting him appreciate the fury burning in her pupilless eyes, before saying, “You don’t get to beg for a merciful bloody death, filth. That’s just for honest monsters.”

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written for May Monster Madness
follow the link to Little Gothic Horrors to see what else is brewing
and don’t forget to be an honest monster

by the way, this is a bit of a draft
so we’ll probably hear more about Jazz
in my next short story collection

Sticky Monsters, by John Kenn Mortensen (3)
from Sticky Monsters, by John Kenn Mortensen

May Monster Madness, 2016