Ptoooo! A sopping wet shoe flew out of the closet, bounced off the opposite wall, and THUNK hit the floor. “DADDY!” I shouted. He bumbled down the hall, and “Ouch!” ran into Mommy’s side table.
“What’s wrong, honey?” he asked, rubbing his knee.
I shivered and pointed at the closet. “Something’s eating my shoes!” He sighed and patted me on the shoulder.
“You just had a bad dream,” he said.
“I think my toys are next!” I said.
“There’s nothing in the closet.” He said.
I pointed toward the slobber soaked shoe. “It was probably Shatzi,” he said.
“Dogs don’t slobber green,” I said.
He shrugged, then walked over and opened the closet door. “There’s nothing in the closet,” he said again.
“Grrrrrrrrrrooooowwwwwl,” said the Nothing in the closet.
“Jumpin’ Jehosaphat!” Daddy yelled and ran right out of the room.
But soon I heard him CLANKing back down the hallway and “Ouch!” running into Mommy’s side table.
He dumped an arm load of pots and pans on the bed. He taped a pan to his chest, grabbed a pot and stuck it on his head; piece-by-piece he built his armor. Dressed in a kitchen soldier’s best, he turned to me.
“Tell Mommy that I love her,” he said, then ruffled my hair and tweaked my nose. With a pizza pan strapped to one arm, he raised a whisk above his head. He shouted,” You leave my daughter alone!” and charged into the closet. “And her toys too!” I called after him.
I trembled as I waited. It seemed like he’d been gone forever.
Then FWOOM he flew back through the doorway and CRASHED into my bookshelf. Clearly this was more than your average Nothing.
Then the Nothing stepped out of the closet. The sleeve of my new coat hung out of its mouth, till it slurped the sleeve up like spaghetti.
Daddy got to his feet, “Back to the closet!” he shouted. The Nothing sliced off a bit of toy chest with its claws and began snacking on my favorite ball.
Daddy charged again. The battle raged throughout my room. Whisk against horn, pizza pan against jagged claw, man against Nothing.
Sometimes Daddy was winning.
Sometimes he wasn’t.
But Nothings always fight dirty. It grabbed my side table and swung at Daddy’s knee. “Ouch!”
As Daddy grabbed for his knee, it knocked away his whisk, yanked away his pizza pan, and piece-by-piece removed his armor.
I grabbed a spatula from the bed and hurled it at the Nothing.
The spatula hit it square between its non-existent eyes, but the Nothing just shook it off and turned toward me. It licked its terrible lips. Drool puddled on the floor. My toys were soaked!
“Hey” Daddy said, “You leave her alone.”
Then, in his best boxer stance, (which, to be honest, wasn’t very good), my Daddy stepped in front of me. Standing in a ratty t-shirt he said, “You’ll have to get through me.”
The Nothing simply smiled and aimed its jagged claws at Daddy. I closed my eyes. I couldn’t look.
But when I opened them, I didn’t see a hungry Nothing. And it wasn’t preparing Toy and T-shirt Stew or any other kind of Nothing delicacy.
Those jagged claws that had swung toward Daddy’s heart, well, they snapped clean off when they hit Daddy’s chest.
When Daddy opened his eyes, he saw the Nothing sobbing, looking down at its broken claws.
And my Daddy, the man the Nothing had tried to hurt, stepped up to it, raised both arms above his head, and gave it a great big hug.
Now when there’s Nothing in my closet, I still scream for Daddy, but only so that he doesn’t miss the show.
Who knew a Nothing could be such a great dancer?