I wanted chocolate chip cookies, so I made a batch with extra chocolate chips then passed off my indulgence as a gesture of love for my wife and kids. On her chair at the kitchen table, my daughter, who was six years old, asked me to tell her a story before bedtime.
“But with no monster,” she said.
“Not even one?” I asked.
“Not even one.”
“Once upon a time,” I said, “there was no monster because monsters did not exist. Someone tried to give a monster a cookie, and no monster reached for it, because a monster that does not exist has no hands. So the cookie fell to the floor. The end.”
“That’s not a story,” she said.
“What happened to the cookie?”
“Nope.” She shook her head. “Because the monster was actually invisible.”
I raised an eyebrow at her, and she raised one of her own right back at me.
“Did you even listen?” I asked.
“No, not really,” she said and took another cookie.
And everywhere, under the beds, in the closets and in the night outside and the world all around, the monsters hid and waited.
Eric Bosse is the author of Magnificent Mistakes, in more senses than one. His stories have appeared in The Sun, Zoetrope, The Collagist, FRiGG, Wigleaf, and New World Writing. He lives in Oklahoma with his wife and kids.