As the owner of a cursed library, I’m aware of literary genres that don’t get a lot of promotion in bookstores. One of them is Sad Parent Solutions for Closet Monsters. Dozens of authors and filmmakers have tried to sell anti-monster schemes to children afraid of the dark. They’re mostly what you expect– be brave, it’s all in your imagination, send $19.99 by check or money order for your official Dennis Rodman Monster D-Fence Shrieking Night Light. There’s no part of the human experience that isn’t being strip-mined for resources by opportunists and soon after, Dennis Rodman, but one artifact from this unfortunate genre is special:
MONSTERS in my closet But Not for Long! is a 2014 kid’s book for children whose closets are haunted, but fuck you, really. Their closets are literal portals to other worlds and they are visited at night by actual creatures. I am not making fun of horny writer Becky Fischer and her sopping wet illustrator Shannon Wirrenga– they really think some closet monsters are real monsters, and they set out to solve that problem. Oh, I’ll explain the horny thing, but first, the real monster thing:
Every night, young Caleb is haunted by monsters. Every night, they creep out of his closet to laugh at him. They laugh exactly like his favorite cartoons, no one else can see them, and at this point everyone other than writer Becky, illustrator Shannon, and dumb fucking idiot Caleb knows what’s going on. A little boy watched something scary before he went to bed. You don’t have to be an experienced parent to diagnose this. If you’ve ever shaken hands with a babysitter you have the expertise to know what’s going on. Only a goddamn maniac would hear these details and then decide the monsters were real. Only the craziest piece of shit would make these details up and then decide the monsters were real.
Caleb’s mom and dad, like they must every night, come into Caleb’s room and tell him he’s right– there were demonic beings laughing at him in his room. Right here, in the place where he sleeps, things from beyond our understanding crawl through the membrane of our universe. Caleb’s father commands him to ask God for help. Not to kill the monsters, but to remember he has a loving spirit and sound mind? What? I can’t imagine a more useless request. This is like running into a gun store during a zombie outbreak to beg for a compliment. Obviously, Caleb isn’t really feeling it, which is Becky’s idea of foreshadowing.
After sort of trying God, the dad is out of ideas. So he invites Pastor David into their home, hoping some Lutheran birdwatcher might know how to shut down a monster portal. He doesn’t. In fact, he wants to make it perfectly clear: those things are real, Caleb, and they are your fault. Without knowing it, his cartoons and video games summoned the enemy.
Caleb’s mom finds this preposterous. “We don’t have any enemies,” says the woman who probably calls the FBI when she sees a black ice cream man. “What enemy are you talking about, Pastor?” asks the woman who found a hole in the universe and immediately tried to feed it a priest. And this is going to sound strange, but here is where things start to get horny.
Feeling no sense of urgency sitting one room away from a real, live monster closet, Pastor David explains Caleb is being tormented by fallen angels. Beautiful, beautiful fallen angels. His words, not mine. I’m not a psychologist… well, I’m more of one than Pastor David’s writer, but I think it’s revealing if you immediately diagnose a closet haunting as a beautiful, naughty man hole. Like, if a child told me there were monsters in his closet I would get in there with a P.K.E. meter before I told him it was just fuckable Satan.
This is probably why Pastor David was free when these acquaintances of his from church asked if he could come right over and check their kid’s bedroom for laughing cartoons. “Oh, it’s early. I don’t need to be anywhere,” said Pastor David. “Let me tell you more about sexy Lucifer in your demon-filled home. He wore a purple vest, no shirt, shaved everywhere except for a glorious head of hair. And Caleb, you’ll like this– he was persuasive. Oh, young Caleb, think what that tongue of his could get me to do. Does he need me on closet monster duty? Um, yes please, Caleb. Yum.”
Pastor David, vastly overstaying his welcome, tells the entire story of dirty Lucifer’s hot war against God. This weirdo was called here to do a job, so Caleb finally asks him, “What does this have to do with the monsters in my closet?” It’s the kind of stupid question you’d expect from a kid afraid of an empty closet but perfectly comfortable with the preacher one couch away describing delicious hunks to him. A much better question would be, “Get that boner the fuck out of my house.”
Pastor David explains it all again to the kid who was too dumb to understand “your monsters are sexy angels, like from the Bible.” He adds a few more details the second time around, like how TV shows will summon demons if they have ghosts or magic… you know, things like that. Superheroes? Sure, maybe. It’s all standard Satanic panic stuff– a lot of very non-specific rules about things probably forbidden, and the stakes are your son being torn apart by demons in his sleep, and then also his eternal soul. And look, I get everyone has their own superstitions, but this author is really counting on monsters being real. They are not a metaphor, they truly exist, and they laugh at young Christians. And this is going to sound like I’m making fun of all religions, but if spooky closet sounds are not fallen angels sent here to mock children, which I think is possible, then Becky is inventing unlikely solutions for problems that can’t exist. There’s no cute way to put it. Either the most amazing and sexual impossibility happens inside the closet of everyone who owns the book Ghosts, or Becky is a stupid fucking idiot. We may never know which of these equally likely possibilities is true.
Careful to avoid sexual language after that whole Pastor David thing, Becky describes the family dipping their sinful fingers in oil and smearing it all over the bed and toys. Only after they lubricate everything in the boy’s room do they move on to step two: Christian music all night, every night. “Your son’s monsters are gorgeous, tantalizing demons. Now oil up the boy and put on some soft music,” said Pastor David, basically.
If I’m being honest, I thought this book was strange enough before all the lustful descriptions of Lucifer and furniture oil. If I wasn’t familiar with this author from her work with Magic & the Bible, I would have assumed it was a prank. There’s something too perfectly perverse about the word choice. It’s like something child molestors would write each other to sneak erotic fiction past prison censors. I don’t want you to misunderstand me: I’m accusing Becky Fischer of being an extreme danger to children.
Okay, let’s see if this elaborate plan worked!
No! After anointing the child’s room in the holy oil of Christ, burning all his toys and books, and suffering so, so much more Pastor David, the fallen angel sons of bitches still came back. In fact, they were worse than ever. The monster bullies laughed at Caleb even after his parents came into the room and told the empty corner to go away, in Jesus’ name. Hey, Becky, maybe it’s time to hang up the wolfsbane. Your dumb ass tried everything and couldn’t get rid of the tiniest imaginary problem in your own book. You stupid goddamn toy-oiling cow. I guess we’ll invite Pastor David over and see if he has any more ideas.
Pastor David isn’t surprised that none of this worked. He immediately recognizes the problem as Caleb not being Christian enough. You can’t just throw away everything you own except lubricant and expect Jesus to come pound the sexy men in your closet back through their filthy hole. Sorry, I’m making Becky’s words sound dirty. The way she put it was the little boy was excited about Jesus coming inside of him. Wait, hold on. She used a capital Him. Is that a Christ typo, or is Jesus asking the boy to come inside Him? This may be the least careful I’ve ever seen anyone use words. If you picked up a machete and accidentally cut off your other three limbs, people would describe your death “like Becky Fischer trying to type a sentence about Jesus and children.”
So after another Pastor David visit, this one with a lot more shame and touching, it should be over, right? No! Fucking no!
It was worse than the last time it was worse! Becky’s illustrator, Shannon Wirrenga, chose to represent this horrific escalation by horizontally flipping the same monster art from the last encounter. “Ha ha, I tricked God,” Shannon must have thought.
Caleb’s dad, in Becky’s careful words, “looked at his son with firmness.” Caleb alone had to scream at the empty corner! In Jesus Christ’s name, only an oiled boy’s trembling mouth could send the beautiful men back into the closet! How are you comfortable constructing sentences like this, Becky!?
The secret was humiliation all along. An angel, not the fallen kind, arrives to help Caleb mock the demons. The abs of the beautiful man’s purple chestplate ripple as they point and laugh. Becky, dropping another heavy hint this is all taking place inside a lonely child’s imagination, describes the monsters as “comical cartoon characters he had seen on TV.” If you remember, it’s how they were introduced as well. Which means Caleb imagined the exact creatures from a show he saw, his Christian parents told him they were bad angels, he imagined bad angels for a while, and then defeated them by imagining nice angels. It’s almost as if religion had nothing to do with this and tomorrow’s interdimensional intruders will be determined entirely by the last thing a little boy thought about before bed. Or, and this is equally likely, all of this is real shit the creator of the cosmos gets involved with. No one will ever know! Ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Caleb’s parents don’t know what’s going on ha ha ha ha ha HA HA HA HA!!!
As if there was anything to wrap up after the perfectly structured tale of “child predator writes book about family losing mind,” there are seven bonus pages included with MONSTERS in my closet But Not for Long! called “Extra Notes for Mom & Dad.” Maybe this will help make sense of what we read.
No! Fucking, again, no! This woman, Jessica, only wrote a letter to Becky to complain about her bedwetting son and how he was haunted by laughing ghosts. This reminded her of Scooby Doo, so they threw away “all Scooby Doo materials” to impress God enough to fix her son. This story is so remarkably close to Becky’s book she either stole this moist boy’s trauma or made the letter up. It’s definitely the second one, but either way, Becky sucks. I don’t know which senator should spearhead this, but every parent who ever left their kids with this dumbfuck liar who writes book-burning propaganda about bedwetters should be chemically castrated. I mean, come on. Becky Fischer wrote a sock puppet letter to her own book that summarized the whole thing only with Scooby Doo and pee. I’m just not sure someone with this kind of judgment should be making guesses on how God would deal with closet hunks.
Reading the fine print of the Conclusion, it looks like anyone who owns a Tao Te Ching or a Scooby Doo DVD gives demonic spirits a “legal right” to “interfere in the lives of your family members in a variety of ways.” It sounds scary, but Becky also seems to be saying Caleb was dealing with a worst-case scenario. So before you transform your home into an empty tomb of soft Christian music and tongue-speaking, know that most demons will do something less traumatic than giggling.
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