Contest #169 shortlist ⭐️

Monster Rules

Submitted into Contest #169 in response to: Write about someone finding a monster under their bed.... view prompt

46 comments

Contemporary Fiction Funny

To the monster living under my bed, it’s time to set some rules. We can skip right past the interrogation, how long have you been living here?, what are you doing under there, and why? I don’t really need to know all that, or I’m too scared to ask after we locked eyes the other night when I came home past 2AM a little more drunk than usual. Your bumpy, spiked reptilian tail was enough to scare the living bageezus out of me, did you really have to turn around and stare like that? With those florescent, glow-in-the-dark, green eyes? Ugh, creepy! I don’t think I’ve ever run and jumped on my bed that fast in my adult-life. Hope I didn’t bonk your head too hard…


Anyway, yes, rules, we need rules. I am not heartless enough to evict you, I’m also not even sure if that’s possible, because, well I’m not even sure exactly what kind of monster you are – hopefully, not the human-eating kind...right? 


That leads me to my first rule.


1. Don’t eat me (please).


I really don’t think you’d enjoy me. My ex-girlfriend was never really interested in it; honestly, she hardly even wanted to kiss me, so I think that is saying something about how I taste. Plus, I recently adopted a shower-three-times-a-week schedule, so I’d probably taste a little ripe… And not the good kind. So, this is a hard set rule. You cannot eat me, or else you’re outta here. 


2. Don’t eat my dog, either. 


I’m not going to lie, I’m a little pissy with Terrance for not finding you sooner. They say pitbulls are really dangerous and vicious, but he’s an awful guard dog, with an even worse sense of smell. How he sleeps all day on my bed while I’m at work and never realized there was a living, breathing, blinking monster living under our bed is beyond me. And while I admit, even at 5 years old, his ears still have the chocolate-y delicious aroma of a very small puppy dog, you must resist tasting him. Got it? He’s pretty much my best friend. Plus, now that I know about you, there’s no way I can sleep in my bed alone. No. Eating. The dog. (But, if you have to eat one of us, choose him).


3. Don’t eat my guests.


OK, I don’t have a ton of guests coming over, but if I do bring some friends over, leave them alone. I’m trying to make friends, and keep them, so it would really ruin it for me if you ate them. 


That being said, the position of guard dog, er, guard thing, is technically open since Terrance has been slacking. So, if I bring someone over and they start acting a little sketchy, then sure, go ahead and eat them. But it’s best if you check with me first. I’ll give you a signal. Probably.


4. You can eat the spiders.


My mom always did this thing where she would tell me what I can’t do, and then she’d balance it out with some things I can do. So, here’s yours. I don’t like spiders, but maybe you do? Feel free to snack on those all day long. And if you find any other bugs, sure, go ahead and eat them, too. Every now and then, I have a bit of an ant problem (probably because I’ve made a bit of a habit out of eating snacks in my bed), so if you fancy them, eat a whole army of them! I’m not sure, but I think there’s some old ant traps down there; maybe if you give it a shake, you can make a little ant-spider smoothie.


5. You can eat the crumbs that fall under the bed.


Like I said, I eat snacks in bed, so if they don’t make it into my mouth, go ahead and put them in yours. 


6. You can have the dust bunnies, but if you find a sock, give it back.


Here’s the deal, socks are expensive! And for whatever reason, us humans are always losing just one of them. Some people blame it on our washing machines – maybe you’ve heard mine rumbling in the garage below you – but I’m not entirely convinced that all of my socks get lost in there. I usually have my socks on when I sleep, and when I wake up they’re gone. So, my guess is they’re under the bed. I’ve never been a fan of going down there – probably why I’ve never seen you, now that I think about it… Anyway, if you find any, please push it out from under the bed. You don’t need to fold them or anything like that, just slide them out so I can see them. I’d love to have a few complete pairs for a change. If you need something soft to sleep on, the dust bunnies are all yours. I guarantee there’s no shortage of those where you are. 


7. Give back the hair ties, too.


You might have noticed that I have long hair; I’m sure there’s probably some of it down there – that might make a good binder for your dust bunny creations. And just like the socks, I’m always losing my hair ties. I really need them. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to buy a set of 32, only to have no idea where any of them are in a matter of days. And if I have to keep flipping my hair out of my face, my neck is going to snap. 



8. Please don’t break rule #1.


I cannot stress enough how much this rule means to me. I feel like I’m being pretty chill about sharing my bed area with you; I’ve only listed, like, 8 rules here. I don’t think I’m asking too much, and I truly think our relationship could develop into a symbiotic one. But the only way for that to work is if I’m still around. 


If you think about it – you can think, right? –, you need me. Without me, you would never have found a bed to live under. Without me, there’d be no fallen snacks. We can work together. As long as we never see each other, and keep living our lives separately, we could be a great team. 


So, I’m leaving this set of rules for you right at the edge of the bed, – we’ll call this No Man’s Land, huh? – so I hope you’ll get it, and most importantly agree to it. I’d really hate for us to have any trouble. You seem like a pretty cool monster, aside from that weird staring – please don’t do that again. But if you do, if we run into each other again after another late night drinking excursion, let’s just try to pretend it’s not happening. I’ll go about my business, turn on some Netflix or something, and you can go back to doing whatever it is you do under there. Sound good? I hope so. 


Well, thanks for considering all this, uh, monster….do you have a name? Er, it doesn’t really matter, since I’m planning on not seeing you ever again. I’ll just call you Monster. Have a nice life under there, my dude. And remember, please, please, don’t eat me. 


October 28, 2022 21:33

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46 comments

Carolyn McBride
12:57 Nov 18, 2023

This is brilliant! I love your creative mind. Will the monster answer some how? Ask for specific shows or movies on Netflix? I'm curious now!

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AnneMarie Miles
14:57 Nov 18, 2023

Ha ha! The possibilities are endless! Might have to write a sequel in which the monster offers up his "Human Rules" 😂 thanks for reading some of my past stories!

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Carolyn McBride
16:11 Nov 18, 2023

That would be terrific! I hope you write it.

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Chris Campbell
00:32 Nov 06, 2022

Very funny, Anne Marie. I have a whole village living under my bed. Thankfully, they’re vegetarian. Well done and congrats on the shortlist.

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AnneMarie Miles
00:48 Nov 06, 2022

Thank God for the vegetarians! Thanks for taking the time to read, Chris! I appreciate it!

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Jarrel Jefferson
19:14 Dec 18, 2022

Good stuff, Anne! I laughed when the narrator threatened to kick the monster out if they get eaten. I love the premise of setting ground rules with a monster that’s mysterious in purpose and nature. Asking it to return socks and hair ties is silly, in a good way. Very charming story.

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AnneMarie Miles
20:25 Dec 18, 2022

Hey Jarrel, thanks for bringing this back up for me today. This is one of those stories that flowed out of me naturally, which is a rarity for writers, so it is dear to my heart. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

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Malia Childs
04:16 Nov 24, 2022

this is a good story

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Amanda Lieser
14:18 Nov 18, 2022

Hi Anne! Oh congratulations on this shortlist! I loved it! I thought it was funny and Whitt and sweet. I also love how I could imagine a slightly nervous MC writing all of this down and considering the right verbiage to make the rules feel approachable. I also loved the way you incorporated what the monster CAN do. Nice job!

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AnneMarie Miles
14:29 Nov 18, 2022

Thank you so much for reading my silly little story, Amanda! I'm so glad the nervousness came through. This was such a delight to write!

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Philip Ebuluofor
16:04 Nov 06, 2022

Congrats Anne. Simple to follow and it captures the interest too.

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AnneMarie Miles
18:05 Nov 06, 2022

Thanks Philip!

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Philip Ebuluofor
15:55 Nov 07, 2022

Welcome.

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Lindsay Flo
20:37 Nov 04, 2022

This was a fun read! I think there are indicators that the MC's life is a bit chaotic (drinking, unsavory guests, dirty house) but also a bit of the "is the monster a metaphor for...." question. I liked it!

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AnneMarie Miles
20:53 Nov 04, 2022

Thank you, Lindsay! Another reader also brought up this metaphor interpretation, so it must be so! I was just having fun, trying to balance out my week with something funny after my previous gloomy submission. Glad you found it fun. Thanks for reading!

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Willie Tee
20:10 Nov 04, 2022

A nice light read despite the dark theme this week. Well done.

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AnneMarie Miles
20:54 Nov 04, 2022

Thank you! Appreciate you taking the time to read :)

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Aeris Walker
19:12 Nov 04, 2022

Congrats on your shortlist! This was a fun read—smooth and humorous with a tight theme. The MC sounds like the kind of friend who shows up to parties and instantly brightens the room with their loyal, quirky personality. Love the relationship with the dog ☺️ Pit bulls really are just big cuddle bugs.

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AnneMarie Miles
20:59 Nov 04, 2022

Thanks, Aeris! I had such a fun time with this one. The character's voice surprised me, but it poured out easily, and those usually turn out to be the best stories. And yes, pitbulls are furry little toddlers. At least mine is, lol.

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Tommy Goround
17:38 Nov 04, 2022

Both Miles hit board. Cool

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AnneMarie Miles
18:45 Nov 04, 2022

Aw, but you got up there twice!! 🎉🎉🎉 I'll be checking those out when I get home. Big congratulations to you, Tommy!

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Jack Bell
01:03 Nov 04, 2022

Comic voice is pitch-perfect and it's a sweet, fun read. But I wonder if this story doesn't raise the possibility of something deeper and more darkly comic. Rule One takes us straight to the Freudian heart of the monstrous matter -- what aspect of self does this monster represent? What fears and desires that never see the light of day? To a certain extent, the next six rules decidedly evade this enquiry before Rule Eight returns to the nub. Desiring integration without having done the work...don't like the MC's chances! Of course, it could ...

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AnneMarie Miles
03:02 Nov 04, 2022

Hi Jack! Thanks for the in-depth analysis! I think this must have been a message from my subconscious coming out, as you point out with your Freudian reference. I wrote this little number the day after I wrote a much more somber story called "G-R-A-N-D-M-A," which focuses on grief and not living up to higher standards. So going into it, my intention with this was to balance out the gloomy-tunes with some light-hearted, mindless humor. But I suppose the mind cannot be removed from something that is cathartic by nature like writing. The narrat...

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Tommy Goround
19:14 Nov 03, 2022

Laughing.

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AnneMarie Miles
20:13 Nov 03, 2022

Goal accomplished then :)

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Lisa Rose
05:46 Nov 03, 2022

Love, love the narrator’s voice here. “Scare the living bejeezus out of me” and “ant-spider smoothie” stand out as my fav phrases. It’s difficult to pull off stories in formats like this, but I think this is super fun and well-done.

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AnneMarie Miles
12:54 Nov 03, 2022

Hey Lisa, thank you for reading! I appreciate your feedback! I had a lot of fun with this characters voice so I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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Thom With An H
21:59 Nov 02, 2022

Anne Marie I’m such a fan. This story marries great writing with great humor. Funny is not an easy genre and you nailed it. Great job. Bravo.

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AnneMarie Miles
22:20 Nov 02, 2022

Wow that is an incredibly high compliment. Thank you so much! So happy you enjoyed it, it was a fun one to write. :)

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Joe Sweeney
21:07 Nov 02, 2022

This is a really great story! I love the humor. I love the one-sided conversation. Very well written.

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AnneMarie Miles
21:15 Nov 02, 2022

Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate you taking the time. Glad you enjoyed it!

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Michał Przywara
01:48 Nov 02, 2022

Ha, loved this :) It reads butter smooth, pretty much from the first line. Strong voice, funny rules, and the negotiation/pleading is a great take on the prompt. I wasn't really expecting an adult POV for monster-under-the-bed. List-of-demands also isn't a usual story format, so it's cool to see it pulled off like this. Thanks for the laugh!

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AnneMarie Miles
03:58 Nov 02, 2022

Thank you! It was a fun one to write. I wasn't sure if I should add more adult content here, but when the voice came out so, for lack of better words, drunken stoner-y I felt it would be funnier to keep the rules simple and almost childish. Glad you enjoyed it!

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Michał Przywara
04:24 Nov 06, 2022

Congratulations on the shortlist!

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AnneMarie Miles
06:09 Nov 06, 2022

Thanks, Michal! 😊

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Rama Shaar
15:16 Nov 01, 2022

This was a very fun read! I love how chill and matter-of-fact your MC is. And my trick re-socks? Always buy white socks! Then it doesn't matter which is coupled with which... a sock orgy if you will!

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AnneMarie Miles
16:10 Nov 01, 2022

Thanks for reading and commenting, Rama! Oh yes the white sock trick, I've heard of it. I cannot help myself when it comes to cute socks, I am doomed to live a life of mismatched socks I think.

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Kendall Defoe
03:44 Oct 31, 2022

This reminded me of a story I wrote here called "How to Run A Secret Society". You made me laugh with all of these guidelines and rules. Excellent!

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AnneMarie Miles
04:16 Oct 31, 2022

Thank you! And I'll checking out that story!

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Rebecca Miles
20:47 Oct 29, 2022

This was a scream! I'd been hoping someone would take on the monster under the bed but I couldn't see beyond the kids and their fears angle. It's a simple but neat trick to get the adult to have the monster under the bed. Favourite bits: loved the whole concept of the rules and the fact they centered on food. Loved how the dog was off the menu but more on it than the narrator and how it continued to be a dig at the beloved pet but useless guard dog. I think the first sections on eating ( or not eating) were so strong you could have just stu...

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AnneMarie Miles
21:13 Oct 29, 2022

Thank you dear! There was another person who approached a different prompt awhile ago in a similar way, making a list. Before that, it never really occurred to me to approach any prompt like that! I am stuck thinking too linearly sometimes. This seemed like a great opportunity for it. Glad you enjoyed it :) And, yes, I feel comfortable writing in this comedic tone which is strange because I'm actually not that funny 🤣 I tried to balance it out this week: 1 funny, 1 sad. I've so enjoyed the inspiration I get on here! Thanks for reading :)

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Rebecca Miles
16:39 Nov 04, 2022

Hey Reedsy sister: joining you on the shortlist this week.🥂to us!! I'm writing this on my penultimate day in London so very nice to put a spring in my step before the return home.

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Marty B
04:44 Oct 29, 2022

(My dog is the same, about as threatening as a large stuffed animal) A guard lizard-thing would be an improvement. I actually believe there is a wormhole to another dimension under my bed as so many things get lost there that are never found again!

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AnneMarie Miles
12:39 Oct 29, 2022

LOL - do you also have a pitbull? I could move my bed over slightly by an inch and find a million things I've forgotten about 😂 Thanks for reading, Marty!

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