Ways to Outsmart the Monster Under the Bed

By Natasha Ayaz

Summer 2021 Issue

Arm yourself with a curtain rod, a swiss army knife, and a very sharp pen. These are for head-clobbering, belly-shanking, and jugular-puncturing respectively. Cluster five sticks of incense, a jar of jellybeans, and an erotic photograph at your bedside. You never know what sort of beast you’re dealing with. Always be prepared. Melt your guts into iron. Pull a sword from your mouth. Watch the shadows on the floor. If they suddenly shift, leap to one corner and hiss madly. Laugh as though everything you hate just fluffed into marshmallow peeps. Eat them all. Gnash your teeth. Sing as though you can unwind sorrow like a metal coil. Smack your hands together and proclaim your desires. Summon your army. The stars tossed across a breathless night. A small house by the seaside. Bottomless lemonade in July. Your parents, smiling at you like you’re cut straight from heaven. When the thing rears its head, vomit honey. If it has the face of the man who followed you home when you were fifteen, castrate it. If it threatens to curdle your memories like month old milk, spray your mother’s perfume. If it slinks across the hardwood like an insidious hand on the subway, scream until the windows shatter. If it moves like polar wind and breathes your regrets, repeat your own name one hundred times. Dislocate your shoulder. Pop it back in: forgiveness. Jump up and down. Tell yourself a story about love that never ends. Levitate. List the ways you have been shown tenderness. Turn your arms into putty and wrap them around yourself seven times. And if, after all this, something still lurks below: step off the mattress, lift the bed on your shoulders, and look the thing in the eye. Boo.

Natasha Ayaz is a contributing writer to The Documentarian based in Cambridge, MA