My daughter wanted a chocolate monster for Easter. The fact that she requested such a thing wasn’t too much of a surprise; little Elaine liked to request what eggs and sweets she wanted for Easter Sunday, if only to make it more like Christmas, and she always loved monsters. It was one of our favourite father-daughter activities, watching Godzilla and similar movies, in fact.
Elaine told me she had seen a chocolate monster on the shop shelves when I took her out last, yet when I went back to that same shop, there wasn’t a monster to be found. There were myriad eggs, the usual bunnies and chickens, and even a chocolate dog with his tongue sticking out. I thought to myself, well, if you squint a bit, the dog looks a bit like the blue monster from Monsters Inc, and you know how kids see things we adults don’t. I searched in that chocolate shop, and every shop in the whole town centre that would sell such a thing, yet could find no chocolate monsters.
I didn’t want to leave empty-handed, however, so I thought that if I couldn’t find a monster, I’d make one. I bought a chocolate chicken, and then I thought, what the hell, spoil her a bit and get a bunny as well. The store offered personalised messages on their chocolate figures, and I asked for the chicken to have fangs on its beak and blood over its stomach, and for the rabbit to have a large fanged mouth on its own stomach. Even I was surprised that they agreed to do it.
Elaine’s favourite monster movies were the ones with two or more monsters stalking through the city, often battling each other. So, I thought, that’s what I was going to tell her these two creatures were. I would tell her a story about how on Easter Sunday, both my monster chicken and my monster bunny decided to attack the city, and then got into a fight. She would get to decide the outcome; whoever she eats first will be the loser. She’d have one figure on Easter Sunday, the other on Easter Monday, and both times after dinner, of course.
So I put the two little monsters in a bag with some other eggs, which then went in the bottom of my cupboard, not to be disturbed until the big day. At least, that was the plan.
When I was a child, I would always keep my ears open for footsteps on the roof on Christmas Eve, and hopping in the halls on Easter Eve, and sure enough, I was awoken by thuds. I at first simply assumed it was Elaine going to get herself a glass of water, but she never had footsteps as heavy as those.
The cupboard door was open, my Easter bag knocked onto the floor.
The rest of the eggs were intact, but the chocolate monsters were out of their boxes. The boxes looked like mice had been nibbling on them, but I was certain we had never had vermin in this house before.
There was someone in the house. The chocolate monsters were gone, and I could still hear some clunking and thudding. I don’t know what they wanted with the chocolate, and I didn’t want to know. Though I knew I should have been arming myself and preparing for a confrontation, I could only stand and shudder.
A loud roar shook the house. A roar coming from Elaine’s room.
I darted there immediately.
Elaine was awake, sitting on her bed with her legs crossed, watching the chicken monster and the bunny monster, animate chocolate figures, slap each other. An old dollhouse of Elaine’s, hollowed out of floors and furniture, and resting on its back, served as their coliseum. Their movements were robotic, like stop-motion skeletons from a Ray Harryhausen film, and once-drawn-on fangs had become three-dimensional.
As quickly as I had rushed to Elaine’s room, I kicked over the dollhouse, and held Elaine tightly. ‘It’s alright, I’m here,’ I said.
‘Dad,’ said Elaine, ‘they told me what you were going to do with them. They don’t want to be eaten.’
‘But what were they…’
‘They were just putting on a show for me. You wanted me to pick a winner, and they wanted me to do that without eating them.’
Sure enough, the two monsters tossed the dollhouse off of themselves and walked towards me. The bunny had had one of his ears broken off, and the chicken’s head had a hole in it.
‘Yeah, what she said,’ said the chicken.
The rabbit looked at me, the mouth on his stomach. ‘Though I suppose we could eat something while we’re here.’
And that’s why I don’t buy my daughter sweets anymore, and why I only have one ear.