Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Bully Minder



Shannon Michaels

What did you say? My daughter has a boy’s name? Listen, you might want to lay off of her. And, not just because I think you’re a couple of snot-nosed little brats. My kids, you see, they have a protector, a kind of body guard. And he already knows your names.

Late at night, after you and your parents are all tucked nice and snug into your little beds, he watches you. From the sidewalk in front of your house. People driving by think he’s just a guy walking his dog. They drive by him in the dark, on their way home from the movies or maybe a basketball game. Sometimes they even wave to him, like they do every other neighbor around here. Who knows, maybe they already know who he is. Maybe he’s waiting for them, just like he’s waiting for you.

This guy, he isn’t just some ordinary man, though. He’s an angel. Not the kind of angel who has beautiful wings and sings praise to God. He’s the kind that was cast down from Heaven and holds the hand of the devil. He’s the kind of angel you really don’t want watching over you. And he does watch over you. You know that shadow you see in the corner of your room sometimes, when you wake up in the middle of the night because you think you want a drink of water? Yeah, well, it might not be just a shadow.

Why you, you ask? Because you come onto my street and tell my daughter that she has a boy’s name, you take her friend’s toys and heat up his face with embarrassment and shame. And from the very first time you picked on my little ones, our angel showed up in front of your house. Only you didn’t know it because you were asleep.

See, he knows the ones who pick on the little kids, the ones who push them down and call them names. He has all bullies’ names written on his black heart and they – you -- belong to him. That’s right. The first time you say a bad word, he will smile. The first time you lay your hands on another child, he will laugh with delight. I bet you’ve done those things already. You bet he knows your name.

Know what he does? He waits for night from the woods behind your house. He drinks from the stinking creek and flicks his smoldering cigarette butts in the mud. He watches you and your family cut the grass and blow bubbles in the back yard. Whenever you go near the creek, when the sun is high in the sky, he sinks just below the surface. If you look closely, and the creek’s not too muddy, you might see the top of his head, his greasy black hair floating near the top of the water, or a couple of bubbles. But don’t get too close – he can smell you. Sometimes, when you’re close, he wonders what you’ll taste like.

What happens is this: He picks out the bullies in the neighborhood, and he watches them. And he waits. At night, when he’s out in front of your house with his dog-creature, he’s counting the minutes until you’ll be with him in the big White Room that is neither Heaven nor Hell but somewhere in between. His dog-thing sits next to him, stomach rumbling, drool running from his lips in fat strings. When the sun starts coming up, they’ll slip around to the back of your house and take their place next to the creek.

Wherever you move, whichever college you go to, wherever you live when you grow up, he will be there, watching you, minding you. When you are thirty years old, sitting behind your desk, working at your soul-sucking accounting job or whatever you’ve fallen into, thinking to yourself what a crummy life you’ve got, just remember: things are going to get a lot worse when you die. He’ll be there. He won’t forget.

When you die, he’ll take you to the White Room. It’s where all the bullies go. You’ll do the waiting, then. You’ll see that his dog really isn’t a dog at all – its mouth is just a little too wide, its fur a little too thick, and its eyes just a little too human. And you’ll smell them, the fallen angel and his dog-thing. You will gag on the stench. You and the other bullies will be so scared you’ll be peeing in your pants. And, of course, the other bullies, watching the dark stain spread across the front of your pants, will laugh at you, because, after all, that’s what bullies do.

And he will take you. The angel, the Bully Minder. One by one, the other bullies will disappear into what you think is a closet, holding his bony hand. You won’t know what happens in the closet until it’s your turn.

And your turn will come.

I know what happens.

The Bully Minder will turn to face you and he will clear his throat. He will open his mouth, unhinging it like a snake, and his pointed teeth will rip the mouth right off your face so you can’t scream. He will laugh at you, push you down, tell you that you have a sissy name and need a diaper. Then he will look deep into your wide eyes, smiling his horrible smile. You’ll try to look away, but you won’t be able to. He will drink your soul right out of your eyeballs. When your body is completely empty and he’s full of your spirit, he will feed your shell to his stinking dog-thing, who will gobble you up with the most horrible bone-cracking lip-smacking noises you could imagine.

And he’ll go back down Walthour Road, over the creek, to Captain John’s Drive, searching for other bullies to fill the empty space you will leave.

So, you see, it’s really in your best interest to stay away from my kids and their pals. They are friends with the Bully Minder. He watches over them like a guardian angel. He loves them.

He’ll be back to watch you tonight. Count on it. You’re already in his heart.

Now, what was that you were saying about my daughter’s name?


Shannon writes: "

I am a working writer living in Savannah. I have had a couple of horror stories published earlier this year (one in Static Movement, the other in Sonar4), and my first novel is making the agency rounds as we speak. Novels number 2 and 3 are in progress. B.S. from Drexel University, M.A. from Emerson College, lived in Moscow, Russia for a few years, then moved to L.A., where I worked for Dick Clark, Ridley Scott, and CBS."


Shannon is not a Southerner by birth, but spent two years of college at Tulane, and moved to Savannah when her husband for work. She continues her education in the NASCAR experience in her spare time.