This was a somewhat humorous piece that I had pondered for a while and finally got around to writing. A special thanks goes out to Amanda Goossen at Lit Fest Magazine for the wonderful and exceptional editing.
The campfire crackled and popped loudly as a spark flew up and out of it. It’s cherry red glow leaving a trail in the darkness as it cascaded down and landed directly on the Frankenstein monster’s foot. His dark, heavy eye lidded eyes nestled high on his greenish face immediately opened widely and showed fright. Quickly, he jumped up off the log where he was sitting and began stomping his oversized foot into the dry dusty dirt. As he did, a dust cloud formed around it. When he realized the amber was completely extinguished and gone, he calmed and sat back down.
Sitting to the right of him and watching the untimely event, Dracula, with his menacing white fangs reflecting in the campfire’s glow, let out a chuckle. Eventually, after the humor element subsided and his laughing stopped, his fangs came to rest sticking out and over his bottom lip. He hadn’t realized that he was tilting his martini type glass while doing so and almost spilled the entire authentic bloody Mary in the process. Righting his glass, he managed to save a small portion as he spoke with a thick Transylvanian accent. “See, you’re afraid of fire and I’m not. Therefore, that makes me the better classic monster!”
“Ah baloney Dracs,” Wolfman, sitting next to him chimed in. “That doesn’t make you the better monster at all. Everyone has a fear of fire. As a matter of fact, it could destroy each and every one of us and is probably considered a universal fear. So, let’s get this straight right now….alright?” He brushed his hair away from his yellow eyes conceitedly and sat up a bit more, obviously feeling somewhat empowered.
Sitting directly across from the other three, the half man-half fish Black Lagoon Creature ignored them and concentrated on placing a head to tail row of freshly caught minnows on his roasting stick, gurgling in the process.
“Shut up! Fish lips, don’t say it!” Wolfman snapped at him. The creature took note and gazed back through his large eyes, flaring his gills in the process. “We all know that water is fire’s worst enemy and I would say that gives you an unfair advantage. And, for that matter, how many movies have you actually been in? Two, maybe three…tops? That pretty much sums it up and tosses you out of this equation doesn’t it?”
“Well now, just hold on there Wolfy,” Frank’s deep and somewhat labored voice boomed and seemed to amplify in the surrounding darkness. “That’s not what you would call fair…now is it? We are all quite well known and I would w-w-wager to s-s-say,” he stuttered a bit, caught himself, and continued. “If you took a poll of lets say…one hundred monster loving movie people, you would probably find Lagooner on the list somewhere in the top ten. Of course, that would p-p-probably depend upon the age group of those polled too.
The vampire cut him off, “That is quite true. All the new breed types of horror movie monsters that have come on the scene within the last twenty or so years seem to make us somewhat obsolete. Look at Freddy or Jason. What about Michael Myers? So, if you were to poll anyone at all and ask each, who the best or scariest classic monster is, you would surely need to distinguish the age group first. Otherwise, the older generation would most assuredly choose one of us…while the newer and younger generation may very well choose one of them. Therefore, lets define classic first”
Lagooner nodded vigorously, pulling his fish encrusted roasting stick out of the fire. He took his webbed hand and slid the one nearest to the end off and popped it into his mouth. His large, wide-open eyes glistened as he continued to nod while chewing.
“And, another thing,” Dracula continued, “Take it easy Wolfy my main man,” he took the last sip of his drink, used his tongue to catch the small red trickle from the corner of his mouth, pulled the celery stalk out of the glass, licked it clean, and tossed it into the fire.
“W-w-wha’d ya do that for?” Franks spoke while intently watching the flames flicker around it as the enveloping heat forced it to hiss and shrivel in the process. “That’s gonna cause another spark to fly out,” he added.
“I’m sorry Franks, I just wasn’t thinking. I’ll be more careful next time,” Dracs retorted as he tossed the empty glass aside.
“So…as I was saying when I was so rudely cut off,” Dracula continued, his red infused eyes clearly standing out against the firelight. He gave Franks a wink and turned toward the wolfman. “Wolfy, you’re such a egotistical snot. Don’t you realize that we are probably your only friends? You really need to be a little bit nicer to all of us and stop being so sarcastic and mean. We all need to stay a close-knit family with a common bond and stick together. I know you rage from time to time but lets try to keep this discussion as diplomatic as possible and keep a little shred of respect…okay?”
“Alright,” Wolfy nodded back toward him. He then turned toward Lagooner, “I’m sorry pal.” The creature heard him but was more content with his personal fish roast and slid the last remaining fish off the tip of the stick. He held it in his open webbed palm and offered it to Wolfy. Wolfy leaned back a bit, obviously repulsed, raised both of his furry, long nailed paws palms out, and declined the offer. “Thanks anyway fish breath. I prefer my meal raw.” The creature shrugged his shoulders and popped it into his mouth.
Dracula continued, “So, lets get back on track shall we? Where were we?”
Franks neck bolts glistened in the full moonlight as he spoke. “We were discussing who is the better classic monster. I know one thing. At least I can go out anytime I want, day or night, which is more than I can say for two of you guys. Lagooner, you have to stay in water most of the time and that sort of hampers you somewhat. And…fire is the only thing that seems to trouble me a bit. The way I see it, if I stay away from burning buildings and fire in general, I’ll be all right. And that, my friends, is why I am the better classic monster! What do you think Wolfy?”
“Yes, maybe so, but it won’t stop the masses or hordes of torch carrying folks that see you as an abomination and chase you down. Where I, on the other hand, can change and be completely normal providing there isn’t a full moon. This allows me to flow relatively unscathed virtually anywhere. Of course, when fire is involved, I do share some of the fright you harbor. But, it is not the thing that scares me the most. What truly frightens me is a silver bullet. That’s the one single thing that could take me out whether I am in full bloom or not.”
“I never thought of that,” Franks added.
“Another thing Franks,” Dracula jumped into the conversation, “let’s be blunt, shall we. You aren’t the brightest star in the sky. You may be strong, but you are slow and a bit dim witted.”
The monster reiterated in offense and asked, “are you calling me stupid?”
“No Franks, not at all. Just hear me out. Even you will admit to some of these points. Being slow can cause those people to easily catch you. Just look at your big feet. You certainly don’t expect to run with those do you? And even if you did manage to get away, it will be short lived since they could easily track you. Now, I, on the other hand, am stealth and fast and can easily control those folks with mind control. And of course, I could simply transform into a bat and just fly away. But, I too have certain downfalls. For example, if I am discovered sleeping serenely in my casket and subsequently had a wooden stake plunged deeply into my heart, it could spell disaster. And we all know how I feel about crosses. So, Franks my friend, please don’t take offense and realize that each of us have certain pitfalls that we constantly and meticulously attempt to avoid.”
Wolfy spoke up with conviction, “Wait just a minute! I’m just as fast, if not faster than you Dracs, and I am equally as strong as Franks over there too!”
“That’s true,” Dracs rebutted. “However, that is only when a full moon has forced you to change. If it wasn’t for that, you would be in a mere human form and quite vulnerable. Am I right?”
“I suppose so,” Wolfy lowered his head a bit in defeat. “At least I can go out in the sunlight,” he snapped back, attempting to get the last word in and feel superior.
Suddenly, without making a sound, the creature stood up, walked to the gently flowing adjoining creek, and dove in headfirst. “What’s with him?” Wolfy growled, pointing his hairy thumb toward the rippling water.
Franks giggled lightly. “Nothing…watch,” and pointed his green stitch scarred index finger toward the where the creature had submerged.
The three of them sat watching and waiting intently until the creature broke back through the surface. They continued to watch as he came out from the edge of the water holding a very large fish. Nonchalantly, he strolled back over to his place on the log and sat back down. Retrieving his nearby stick, he slid the end of it into the fish’s mouth and slid the fish along it until the end popped out the fish’s tail. After carefully inspecting it to ensure it was secure, he held it out over the flames and began carefully rotating it over and over.
Franks lowered his finger and looked back and forth at the other two. “You know folks, I may be a bit dumb, but I think Lagooner has it all figured out. He’s having a snack and thoroughly enjoying our limited time together. He’s not arguing and could probably care less about who is the best and simply has no conflict at all…unlike the three of us. I mean c’mon, we all have our place cemented in history as a classic monster. So, I don’t know what we are really arguing about. Each of us should be proud at our accomplishments. We’ve all done our part in scaring audiences for a long time now, and that should matter. So what if we could be killed by a silver bullet, or a wooden stake, or even fire for that matter. What difference does it really make? We could easily continue this argument if we wanted to. But, why should we? What’s it going to solve? Who cares? I certainly don’t. Right now, I am just happy to be with very old friends on this wonderful moon lit night.”
The four of them glanced around at each other with a somewhat embarrassed look and smiled.With an odd but somewhat satisfied smile on his face, Lagooner took the fish from the fire and took turns offering it out to each of the others. They each reached out, took a piece, and chewed contently in unison.