I've contributed to perhaps the best humor compilation I've ever read. Available now on Amazon!

My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

It’s Christmas Time in the City; or Wait. Maybe I AM a Monster…

The skyways have begun their seasonal clogging.

Holding hands, pushing strollers, their winter-ly goods piled high, up to and including water bottles, snacks, clothing, and, surprisingly, children, the bedazzled Christmas shoppers roam Minneapolis’s second-floor inter-building walkways.

Clots of families, of friends, of teenagers, they walk abreast, stopping up hallway traffic behind them. 

I’ve had a headache since Thanksgiving.

And there will be 12 more days of this. 

Office workers, security badges swinging from their necks, dodge, first one way and then another, try to get by the city’s influx of shoppers, knowing, on the one hand, that it’s a seasonal condition one endures, like chiggers or hay fever,  while secretly cursing, on the other, the slow-moving nature of the multi-legged, multi-wheeled beast that is the Holiday Shopper.

I have run to Macy’s today, convinced that a toaster oven is a lovely gift. 

Half-way there, I run up against the backside of a family.  Mother, stroller, child, I will be here, moving with them, for the next 60, maybe 70 steps, whereupon there will be a widening in the store’s pathway and the possibility of maneuvering around them. 

Unable to pass, I am forced – forced! – to listen in.

“Hold on to my hand, Jimmy.  HOLD ON TO MY HAND.  Do you want one of these people to steal you?”

Jimmy – four?  Five years old? – reaches up for his mother’s hand, looks behind him fearfully.

Just a couple feet behind him, I smile.

“WHAAAAAAAA!”  Terrified, Jimmy wails. 

Jimmy’s mother whirls around, confronts me, and traffic stops as she does so.  “What did you say to him?!”

“Me?”  I say.  “Nothing.”

She looks me up and down, huffing.  “Typical,” she says. 

“Typical?” I say.  “Of what?”

She tuts – tuts! – and pulls her wailing son to her belly, sneering.  “What kind of monster scares children?”

Jimmy is staring at me.  I look down at him.  “I’m not a monster,” I say, smiling.  “I’m just going to lunch.”

Jimmy stares, big wet eyes and open mouth. 

I shake my head. 

I like children. 

Adults? 

Sometimes not so much.

Giving up, I pass them, ready for, say, a little Chinese food…

“What did I tell you, Jimmy?  You gotta hang on to mommy’s hand or some bad person will take you.”

A chill runs up my spine.

Turning around, I lock eyes with Jimmy’s mom.

“I lied,” I whisper to her.  “I am a monster.  And I’ll see you again soon.”

Her mouth drops open.

I whirl on my heels and don’t look back.


Stop by tomorrow, when Pearl beats up an old man and complains about the number of wheelchairs on the bus!


Sheesh.

36 comments:

ellen abbott said...

The living in fear starts early and sometimes for good reasons. I mean, really Pearl, you smiled at him. How monstrous is that!

Pearl said...

ellen, and here I'd fixed my hair and everything! What's a monster to do?

Daisy said...

Oh my word! Poor kid. With a mother like that, he's going to grow up afraid of anything that moves. Your reference to the Bugs Bunny cartoon in your comment above made me smile. :D

Silliyak said...

Cookie monster perhaps....

joeh said...

I hope you really did say that to her! Love it.

That scene sounds like Costco every Saturday.

Delores said...

I love the comeback...really really love it. I too am a monster Pearl...perhaps, just perhaps, we will run into her again..together. Give her the stink eye.

Eileen Black said...

And here I stopped by to find out how much cash you brought in by clogging in the skyway--Monster. >:p

Robbie Grey said...

I'm sure it's sociopathic of me, but I think she deserved that.

fishducky said...

My Monsters Anonymous group meets Thursdays at 8;00. I can pick you up if you want to go with me!!

Mr. Charleston said...

Pearl's on a roll. Little brat should be scared... of his mama.

vanilla said...

I like children, too. But this caveat should be ever in the forefront of our minds: they turn into adults.

Monstrously wonderful lunch-time story.

Elephant's Child said...

I do love you. Muchly.

Ian Lidster said...

You maybe should have told Jimmy you'd be in his room at midnight. That'd teach him to not trust anyabody -- ever.

Ray Denzel said...

I have offered many a time to walk a breast...

Susan Kane said...

Were you the one at Wal Mart on Sunday afternoon, around 3 pm? The one crawling on the floor to escape? Oh, sorry. That was me.

Eva Gallant said...

ho ho ho~ You are evil! lol

Pearl said...

My only comfort in having snapped at that woman was that I am relatively sure that the kid didn't hear me.

Scaring adults is fun. Scaring the kidlets is just mean.

I'm so glad I decided to write about it, though. I needed to get it off my chest.

(And very funny, Ray!)

Gigi said...

I call those people you mention - the slow moving, meandering ones (of which we seem to have plenty of here all year round) cows - they drive me insane!

And yes, Jimmy's mom needed to be snapped at. Silly woman.

bill lisleman said...

I would have told her that her child scared the Christmas out of me. Well if I had thought of it in time. Always tough to be that quick on your feet especially around holiday shoppers.

Launna said...

I can see why you would say that Pearl, that is one overly protective mother... my oh my :-/

TexWisGirl said...

oh, lordy! evil office worker menaces innocent family consumers.

Joanne Noragon said...

My stock answer for "What did you say to little precious?" was "Ask you child." Generally child wailed louder as I left. Served 'em right.

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

my inner-monster came dangerously close to being unleashed today. Sounds like you've got things covered over there, but if you need some extra monster muscle, you just call Chicken.

Daisy said...

let's dance!
http://youtu.be/H1x8kbXJHNI

Rose L said...

LOL I am surprised she did not hunt down security and take them to you saying, "There she is! There's the monster! She even admitted it and scared my son." I can see the headlines now--MONSTER WOMAN SCARES CHILD WITH HER LEERING AND WICKED WORDS

Geo. said...

Good tactic, but when the villagers come en mass with torches and pitchforks, do NOT --for heaven's sake-- head for the windmill!

Diane Tolley said...

Oh, Pearl, you are my hero! I always think of those perfect comebacks hours later. In the middle of the night. Sigh.

River said...

I agree with Daisy, with a mother like that the kid might as well sit on his bed for the rest of his life. I used to tell my kids to hang on so that I didn't get lost.

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

Pearl, Pearl, Pearl. I was on our second floor skywalks yesterday, my ID badge swinging, and I thought of you you as I dealt with the three and four folks abreast who blocked the entire path; and then the other a-holes who walk through a doorway and refused to hold the door for me. Good times! These idiots are almost as much fun as the January gym-joiners, hogging the treadmills and using the Nautilus equipment without washing it afterwards.

maurcheen said...

Poor Jimmy. We have a 'Jimmy' next door, 32yrs old, still living with his parents.

Xxx

Linda O'Connell said...

Crazed ants, that's what the shoppers seem like around here. Poor little Jimmy.

the walking man said...

Pearl if only you could exit Christmas. I do hope you come across this cretin woman who teaches her children through fear in July when her kids are not with her and you go monster all over her.

The Geezers said...

I love this story, and hope it played out exactly the way you describe it.

I too, am exceedingly weary of the MInneapolis skyways at Christmastime. Yesterday I thought it would be better if I went to lunch at 3:00. No dice. Full of rude, pushy people, including a bunch of devil-moms with strollers.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Keeping it REAL, are you? Adore that you do--giving that crazy mom something to chew on and share with her friends!

Jen said...

Pearl, this is very, VERY common. As a mom of young kids, I get pressure from other adults if I do not join in their kidnap paranoia. Kids are more likely to be injured in a car crash ... to drown ... to die in a house fire, than to be kidnapped by a random stranger.

No, I don't let my little monsters run free. Just freer than yours.

There really is no way to be a good parent these days. You are either breeding fear, or you are not protecting them adequately.

Suldog said...

It is now about 10 minutes of 7 here on the East Coast. Did you hear it? That "YESSSSSSSS!!!"? That was me, when I read the part about you turning back and whispering. Poor Jimmy. Little does he realize he is already in the hands of a monster.