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MONSTER PLAY

Bev Cobbett

My husband and I had been play-wrestling, but have now ceased, both of us exhausted. I am lying lifeless atop his prone body as we heave together, cheek to cheek, regaining our wind. 

I finger the neckband of his t-shirt, lost in thought, thinking how to word my wish for a new little one. After long moments, I think I’m ready. “Hon?”  I lift my face to look into his.

Jorge squints up at me from one eye. “Yasss? Vut do you vaunt now?” Jorge draws out the question in a sinister horror-movie voice, continuing in his playful mood. He opens the other eye and takes both of my hands in his and holds them captive.

I look down into his gentle, questioning eyes and begin again.  “Hon . . .?   What. Do. You . . .  think . . . of us . . .” 

“Out vith it, vench!” Jorge interrupts, his patience at an end. “I command you to tell me all, or I vill eat you!” He speaks in his best gruff monster voice, then pulls my arms wide and attacks my neck with his mouth, plastering my skin with slobbery, stinky beer kisses. Unable to stop him, I shriek ear-splitting screams and struggle frantically to free myself. I am helpless, entirely at his mercy.

“Mommy! Daddy! You’re too noisy and I can’t sleep!” Three-year-old Monica is standing over us. She’s careful to not come too close.

My question will have to wait. The monster retreats from my neck and sits up, releasing his victim. 

“Hey Peanut!  Awww. . .  Did we wake you up?”  I croon, reaching for our daughter and pulling her to me. I love how cuddly she feels in her thick fleece pyjamas. “Mommy’s sorry. C’mere, give us a kiss” I say, and press my lips to her petal-soft ones. 

Behind us, the monster stirs again. His hairy arms reach around the two of us and suddenly, wet, stinky beer kisses assault us both. 

“No Daddy!  Yuucckk!  Stooopppiiiiittt!” squeals Monica, squirming to get out of his grasp. She sounds ready to cry, not quite awake enough for such play.

I manage to roll out of reach and stand up, hopelessly weak from laughing, I grab a cushion and ferociously swing at the monster’s back. He falls over, dead. “Yay! Victory is ours!” I crow.

Monica struggles to her feet and looks down at her father. Finally, she lightly kicks at him to make sure the monster is dead. His form does not move.  

“Daddy?” 

Daddy lets out a long sigh and opens his eyes. He sits up.

“Yes, Sweetie?”

“Daddy, I don’t like that!” she admonishes him.

“How about a piggy-back ride up to bed? Will that make my princess happy?” Rolf winks at me.  

“Okay,” says Monica, oblivious to the wink.

As Daddy scoops Princess Monica up onto his back, she hugs his neck tightly—innocently trusting, and blissfully unaware that . . . The. Monster. Has . . . Returned!!!

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