"Monster Spray" (mom's perfume)
by Sarah Chastain
Those weird teddy bear book characters that attempted to teach 5 year old children morals? The Bearenstein Bears? This was my childhood phobia. I had a very real phobia that Momma and poppa Bearenstein would haunt my room interminably simply to teach me morals forever. There were three dangerous windows where they could potentially enter .
First was the window over the stair landing where a cat named Peaches often growled and made angry noises at things I could not see, evidence that those bears were a real threat. My daddy had an unfinished roof top, which had a door and a large window, and little girls had no business on rooftops so I was never, ever allowed out there. The third window held some childlike hope- safe as long as I remembered that this window was where the good mythical entities could enter my room. On Christmas Eve I would watch for Santa as long as my eyes would stay open, and the Tooth Fairy that always forgave me generously for swallowing yet another tooth, (and gave me ten whole dollars when I knocked out my permanent tooth and sat for hours while a dentist filed and drilled to perfect what was left.) This marvelous third window shone on the driveway and if I failed to remember Santa or the tooth fairy, the fear would come bleeding from the blackness of our driveway. In the inky asphalt I imagine the bat-like birds that Poor Ole King Cole had baked in a pie swarming my window, forever blocking the good fairy and the bearer of gifts, carrying those damnable bears with them. (I had seen the charcoal fear black of a real bat, in our aging house). So as King Cole had baked 4 and 20 "birds" into his pie, the number 24 was unfathomable. 4 and 20 was going to do real damage.
My mother had a combative spray that always sent the messengers of Morality Bear monsters away for one more night. This "Monster Spray" was NEVER used to prevent the bears from looking in, but rather to remind them to leave her little girl alone.
My mother would always tuck me in say a quick prayer (appropriately being moral) and go across the hall to her bedroom waiting for any sign of danger.
Of course you wonder about closets right? I loved the way the dark felt so my closets were no harm at all. I was only curious about the way that with the closing a door I could enact complete darkness at the height of sunshine. And my bed was flush to the floor so monsters under there would or could come but be trapped to their death or sent back to where they came from. Trying to prevent the bears' entry also made them angry and the images were more ethereal as they tried harder to teach me my morality. In her bed my mother would sit and wait patiently for my peaceful sleep or a call for the "Monster Spray."
Later, when I was slightly older, I had to ask why her "Monster Spray came in a bottle shaped like a woman, to which her reply made perfect sense, what is the sweetest thing in the world (next to mom and dad and Santa )? A fairy! She never guarded the Monsters because she was using Fairy blood, and forbid those who are gluttonous. She knew that a little fear was ok, maybe not good, not deadly, as I was sure the Bears would be, especially if carried in on 4 and 20 black flying "Birds" So if I was not afraid "monster spray" and its power would diminish, and eventually stop working. I knew that it was a truly magical substance. On the very bad nights, it hung in the air with a dark-sweet smell. Yet, on the nights that it chased away a racing mind that was worrying those bears into sight at the edges of my vision, it misted the air around with nearly no smell at all. The Fairy's blood intuitively knew how much power to exert at a given time.
There came a time when The "Monster Spray" could no longer be called on to chase away my fears, and for a moment I was resentful of the crying thing that brought about a time of facing reality. I could let this fear consume me, or use the good things I knew existed to chase away any demon anywhere. My mother explained to me that my tiny brother was too little to have any "Monster Spray" because it could just as easily help to create his own monsters.
I had to know then where exactly she got Fairy's blood, because I wanted her to be able to get some for my brother Just in case. She replied that it was rampant in the house, because we had cats, and cats had Nine lives, right? They were the best at catching the only really real dark creature I knew of... Bats, so even though I could no longer have her come late at night and spray away my monsters. Every cat in the world had just enough fairy blood to protect us from monsters.
To this day I tuck in tight to my blankets and keep a cat in my house to protect me from Any and all demons. even the ones I create for myself.