Friday, May 22, 2015

My Big Red Monster



My Big Red Monster
by Lois June Wickstrom



A big strong red monster lives under my bed.
My brother doesn’t believe me.

My brother says, “There are no monsters! Tell it to come out! I dare you!”

One evening, when my brother isn’t looking, I lean over the edge of my bed and I say, “Red Monster! What do you want?”

The monster comes out and glares at me with eyes like burning cinders.  He grabs my bed covers, so I can’t hide. Then he growls, “ I’m your monster. You have to give me jobs to keep me busy, or I’ll eat you.”

I have to think of something fast, so I say, “Clean my room!”

The monster looks around. He looks at me.  Then, in a whir, my room is neat and clean.

Again, the monster stares hungrily at me.  “Give me a job! Or be my night-time snack!”

That gives me an idea – I lead my monster to the kitchen and say, “Wash all the dishes and put them away.”

In a whir, the dishes are sparkling on their shelves. All in their proper places.
The monster’s red eyes glow fiercely at me, again.  “Give me a job! Or I’ll wolf you down!”

I get another idea.  “Wash my dog and dry him all fluffy.”

Another whir, and my dog is frisking around the livingroom, smelling sweet.

My monster stares down at me again.   “Give me a job! Or...”

“I want you to leave me alone.”

“I’m your monster. You have to tell me what to do.”

“Quit bothering me.”

“I’m your monster. Give me a job.”  Saliva drips from his lips.

I say, “Get back under my bed.”

“There’s no job for me down there. You’re not scared of me any more.”

My brother yells through my door, “Who are you talking to? The monster under your bed?”

I yell back, “There’s no monster under my bed.”

“Of course not,” he says.  “There are no monsters.”

 “Go hide under my brother’s bed,” I tell my monster.

And he does.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Nepotism

Why doesn’t my family believe in nepotism?

I wish they did.  I feel like many doors are closed to me because of their belief system.

I totally get why Satan in the Bible stories was mad at God.  Satan had been a good and faithful servant and a friend to God for aeons.  Then along came Jesus and – who gets to inherit the kingdom? The newcomer – the kid.  God of the Bible believes in nepotism.

So, maybe nepotism means that qualified people might get passed over.  It also means that people who matter in your life get a chance.

When I was in high school, other students parents got them summer jobs at the places where they worked.  My father said he didn’t believe in nepotism and he refused to help me.  He even hinted that he thought I wasn’t worthy of a paycheck.  So, I mowed lawns for nearly nothing while my classmates were paid more than minimum wage, and had interesting jobs in air conditioned buildings.

Many of my neighbors got their jobs because of family connections.

I have a niece who is a literary agent. I write stories that sometimes find publishers.  My niece says her boss won’t let her be an agent for friends or family.  I asked her to just read some of my short picture book texts, and give me feedback.  She doesn’t have time.

I fix family members’ computers for free. I take care of them when they are ill. But this isn’t the nepotism they don’t believe in.  It’s only their time and their effort that counts as nepotism.