Episode the Second: Little Dot Meets the Man in the Closet

By: Mr. E. S. Stranger

In the beginning of important history, at the center of the Universe, in a house, lived a little girl named Dot. She had brown hair in pigtails, wore big glasses, and was little. Little Dot had parents and a brother, who was, aside from being her brother, a big, hairy gorilla. But those other people aren't in the story right now.

Little Dot loved to eat Oreo Creams, which came conveniently sandwiched between two cookie-shaped cream-holders with the word OREO on them. She would eat the creams and toss the cream-holders into the endless space behind the couch. No one had ever been behind the couch, and perhaps no one would ever know what was really back there.

After filling up on Oreo Creams, or after her mother took the bag from her, it was straight off to get ready for bed. With her pigtails undone, her teeth clean, and eyes wide open from the sugar in the Oreo Creams, she would lie awake and stare at the closet. There was a man in there at night, she knew, and he was out to get her. She was safe, mostly, because the Boogeyman lived under her bed, and he would protect her. But still she was afraid.

The Boogeyman protected her from everything if she was in bed. If there was someone strange coming, he would leap out and shout "Boogey boogey boogey!" at whoever it was. At least, he planned to. He never got a chance. So he did lots of practicing.

She was talking to him one night, and Funny Bunny was there with her. Funny Bunny acted tough, but he was scared of the man in the closet too. He was hiding in Dot's hair as she talked with the Boogeyman. It was hard for the Boogeyman to hear her, because her head was all wrapped up in the blanket.

"I'm scared," she said to the Boogeyman through the blanket.

"Not me," called Funny Bunny from deep within her hair.

"Let him come," said the Boogeyman. "I'll scare him off."

"You really could?" Dot asked.

The Boogeyman sounded sure. "Yes, I could. Open the closet and let's see."

"But I'm scared," Dot repeated.

"Not me," said Funny Bunny again from deeper within her hair.

This made Dot feel better. "You're not scared either, Funny Bunny?"

"No, Little Dot," said the trembling voice in her hair. "Of course not."

"Then if I opened the closet, you'd go with me and keep me safe?"

"Sure," Funny Bunny replied.

Slowly, Dot peeled the covers off of her head. She got up and tiptoed to the closet. She checked her hair, but Funny Bunny wasn't with her.

"Funny Bunny, where are you?" she whispered.

"I never thought you'd really do it," said a voice from deep under the covers.

That made Dot mad. She threw open the closet door and looked inside. At first she thought she saw a man, but she realized it was just a bunch of shirts.

"Well, that's just a bunch of shirts," she said.

"Yep," said the shirts. "Just an innocent bunch of shirts."

Dot put her hands on her hips. "Shirts can't talk."

"Oh, leave that innocent bunch of shirts alone," said Funny Bunny, "and close the door."

Dot wasn't listening to him. She talked to the shirts.

"If there's someone there, come out."

"No, you can't fool me," said the voice. "You're that scary hyper girl that hides in the bed. I know you're just waiting to get me."

"No, I'm not," said Dot. "You're waiting to get me."

"No," said the voice in the shirts. "You're trying to trick me. I know you're the scary little girl. And the Boogeyman's out there too, and the evil little shoestring bunny."

"The evil shoestring bunny is scared of you," said Dot, "and the Boogeyman just protects me."

Funny Bunny shouted from under the mattress. "I tell you, I'm not scared!"

Dot spoke to the shirts again. "If you're not out to get me, what are you doing in the closet?"

"It's quiet here," said the voice. "I like to come here sometimes at night to rest. Everywhere else I go, cream-holders keep hitting me in the head."

"Oh," said Dot. "Well, I guess you can stay. But be very quiet."

"I will."

Dot went back to bed. From then on, when she was eating Oreo Creams, she would sometimes leave a little cream on the holder for the man in the closet. She would toss the sticky thing behind the couch and wonder where it went.

One day Dot's mom cleaned behind the couch and found thousands of cream-holders. Dot wasn't surprised. The man in the closet must have returned them, she thought. Too bad he couldn't pick a better place than behind the couch.