It was a cool, quiet night in Dimmsdale, and all of the children and their parents were fast asleep in their beds. And the same was for little Tootie and her parents - at least, until Tootie got a rather unexpected visit.
Tootie was sleeping peacefully in her bed, warm and comfortable underneath the pink and lavender covers. But what she didn't realize was that she'd left her closet door open before bed. Sometime after midnight - about 12:10 AM - she heard audible stomping noises from somewhere in her room.
At first, Tootie just turned over on her side and continued sleeping, but the noise continued and made her turn again. By the time Tootie had rolled over onto her back, the stomping had stopped. But in its place was deep, heavy breathing.
Tootie slowly opened her eyes. What was making all of this noise? Tootie reached her hand over to her glasses on the end table and slipped them over her eyes. As her vision cleared, she looked up - but her eyes widened and pupils shrunk in horror.
In Tootie's room stood a tall, fat, and dark green monster. He had large eyes with red pupils that seemed to glow in the dark, and he had claws at the end of all of his fingers. The monster stared down at Tootie, then raised his hands for her to see and roared.
"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!" Tootie screamed as she cringed, with chills running down her spine. She ducked down under her blankets, and then slowly peeked out from underneath. To her fear, the monster was still there in front of her.
"W-what are you?!" Tootie asked, her voice shaking as she was trembling in fear.
"I am the monster from your closet!" the monster replied in a deep voice. "You'll never guess what I'm going to do to you!"
Tootie whimpered in horror, hugging her blankets and hoping they would defend her from this beast. But the monster reached his hands over to Tootie, grabbed her by the upper body, and held her up close to him. He smiled evilly at her as he did so.
Tootie was horrified. What was this monster going to do to her? Terrible ideas ran through Tootie's mind. Was he going to eat her? Was he going to make her his slave for the whole night? Or was he going to trick her into eating her least favorite food?
But before the monster could do anything, he stopped, and then tilted his neck back. He inhaled, as if about to sneeze, and the whole time, Tootie looked at him in disbelief.
"Ah... Aaaaah... HUUUUUUH- CHOO!"
The monster sneezed as he shot his neck forwards, letting go of Tootie in the process. She landed back on her bed and sat up, rubbing her head to recover from the fall. When she looked up at the monster, she saw him sneezing again. And it wasn't one sneeze, either, or two, but three sneezes, each one with a desperate inhale beforehand.
"HAAAAH-CHOO! HEHHH-CHOO! Huh... AAAAHHHHH-CHOO!"
With every sneeze he fired, the monster shot his upper body forwards forcefully. When he finally recovered, the monster groaned and rubbed his nose - or at least, where his nose was supposed to be - with his right arm.
Tootie couldn't believe what she was seeing. She was still a little frightened, but she was also confused and curious as to why the monster was sneezing so much.
"What's the matter, Mister Monster?" Tootie asked.
"Ehhh... AHHHHH-TCHOO!" The monster sneezed again and rubbed his nose again, this time with his fist. "Ugh, I don't feel good!"
"You're not catching a cold, are you?" replied Tootie.
"No, but... haaaaAAAH-SHOO!" Following a particularly messy sneeze, the monster sniffled wetly and rubbed his nose with his forefinger.
"Um, Gesundheit," said Tootie.
"Thanks..." the monster replied, still rubbing his nose. "But I'm allergic to something that keeps making me sneeze!"
"Maybe I can help you figure out what it is," Tootie said.
"What do you care?!" snapped the monster. "I thought you were afraid of me!"
"I was!" said Tootie. "But then you started sneezing. Don't you want me to make you feel better?"
The monster replied with a loud sniffle and another groan.
"Who am I kidding? I hate being so sneezy. Sneezing stinks!" said the monster, who then fired another sneeze. "Ahhhh-SHOO!"
Tootie stepped off her bed as the monster again rubbed his nose with his hand.
"You came out of my closet, right?" Tootie wanted to know, and the monster nodded. "Maybe it's something in there."
Tootie headed over to her closet, wearing only her pigtails, glasses and light blue nightgown. She looked in the closet, turning her head this way and that as she tried to find what was causing the monster's sneezing.
"Hmm, I don't see anything in here. Just my clothes..."
Just as Tootie finished saying that, she felt a tickle in her nose along with a familiar scent. Lowering her eyelids halfway, Tootie inhaled, then sneezed.
"Aaah, haaaah... Haaaaaah- Tcheeewww!"
Tootie shot her neck forwards as she released the sneeze. She then turned back to the monster as she sniffled and rubbed her nose with her left forefinger.
"Gesundheit," said the monster, echoing Tootie's blessing from earlier.
"Thank you. I think I've found the problem," Tootie said as she continued to rub her nose. "The closet is full of dust."
"Dust?" the monster asked in surprise.
"Yeah," Tootie said. "Of course, who wouldn't start sneezing after hanging out in a closet full of dusty stuff?"
"Yeah, I guess you have a point... Huuuh... Heeeeeh..." The monster tilted his neck back as he was about to sneeze again. "HAAAAAAH-" Before he could sneeze, however, Tootie reached up and placed her left forefinger upon the exact area where his nose would be. And just like that, the sneeze was stopped.
"Phew..." The monster breathed a sigh of relief as the urge to sneeze went away. "Thanks, kid."
Tootie smiled and pulled her forefinger away. But just as she did that, the monster sneezed right into her face - and the next thing she knew, she had a face full of saliva.
"Eeek! Yuck!" Tootie immediately began to wipe her glasses and face with the palms of her hands as the monster rubbed his nose again with his arm.
"Ugh... Sorry," said the monster.
"As sneezy as you are," said Tootie, "you really shouldn't sneeze on other people. That's called spreading your germs, and you don't want to do that. You could make others start sneezing, too, or worse, come down with a cold."
"Look, I'm sorry!" the monster replied with a loud sniffle. "I didn't know it was even gonna come out..."
"Don't worry, I'm not mad or anything," said Tootie as she finished cleaning off her glasses and face. "But I think you need to blow your nose."
"Ugh, you're right... Ah-CHOO!" The monster sneezed again, this time aiming his head away from Tootie. He then rubbed his nose once, slowly, with his hand. "But I don't have anything to blow my nose on..."
Tootie looked over at a square, purple box of tissues on her end table. She pulled out a tissue and handed it to the monster.
"The best way to sneeze without spreading germs is to put this tissue over your nose when you sneeze," said Tootie. "Why don't you try it?"
The monster seemed to have read her mind, as he felt the biggest sneeze of all coming on.
"Okay, stand back..." warned the monster. Tootie hopped back into her bed, hid under the covers and plugged her ears with both her forefingers.
"Aaaaaaah... Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhh... HuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH-" The monster tilted his upper body as far back as it could go, then covered his nose and mouth with the tissue and exploded massively.
The monster fired his sneeze right into the tissue, shooting his upper body forwards as he did so. It was amazing that the huge sneeze didn't blow the tissue out of the monster's hands, instead causing the edges to flutter about. Tootie cringed when she heard the sneeze; even the Jet didn't often sneeze like that.
When the sneeze had died down, Tootie peeked out from under the covers. The monster stood there, rubbing his nose with his right forefinger as he held the tissue in his left hand.
"Oh, my... Gesundheit!" said Tootie in surprise. "Or do you prefer 'bless you?'"
"Either will do, thank you," said the monster. He continued to rub his nose for a few seconds, and then held the tissue back over his nose and blew his nose as hard as he could. Finally he sighed in relief as he wiped his nose with the tissue.
"There you go," Tootie said with a praising smile. "Are you feeling any better?"
"Oh, yes," said the monster. "I feel like a million bucks! Thank you so, so much, kid!"
"You're welcome," said Tootie. "My name is Tootie, by the way. Do you still want to scare me?"
"Actually, Tootie," the monster said as he balled up his tissue and threw it into the trash bin that was on the other side of the room, "scaring you isn't in my blood or anything. It's just what we monsters do for a living. Puts food on the table."
"Well, you gave me quite the scare with that sneeze," Tootie added.
"And I'm glad it did," said the monster. "But I kind of like you, Tootie. As scared as you were, you really helped me out."
"That's what I do." Tootie giggled.
"Maybe I could do something for you," the monster offered. "You lose anything in here? I can find it for you."
"Gee, thanks, Mister Monster, but I have to go to school in the morning," Tootie said. "Maybe next Friday night, you could come back and we can play."
"You know? I like the sound of that," said the monster. "I'm gonna go back in your closet and wait til then. Sorry to give you all this trouble."
"That's okay." Tootie lay back down in bed. "Good night, Mister Monster."
"Good night, Tootie."
The monster turned and started to shuffle back over to the closet. Before he could make it, however, Tootie sneezed again.
The monster looked back over at Tootie, who was rubbing her nose again with her forefinger. The monster went back over to her, pulled out a tissue from her box and offered it to her.
"Gesundheit, Tootie," said the monster.
Still having her forefinger underneath her nose, Tootie blushed, then took the tissue and wiped her nose with it.
"Thank you very much," said Tootie.
The monster smiled at her in response. "See you next Friday, Tootie."
He turned again and walked over to the closet, entering it once he made it there. Tootie lay in her bed, waving goodbye to him and watching him close the door. Putting her used tissue aside, Tootie took off her glasses, placed them back on the end table and went back to sleep.
As much as Tootie was afraid of that monster, she thought he wasn't so bad now that she solved his problem. At least helping him out was better than getting eaten by him, becoming his slave or any other bad thing he could have done to her.