Unhuman Resources –
Monster under the bed
by Paul A. Cagle
Paul A. Cagle has been published in parABnormal Magazine and is currently working on multiple upcoming projects and several serialized short stories. You can find out more about him and his writing at www.Paul-Cagle.com.
“Unhuman Resources,” Beulah croaked into the phone. “All boo, no woo. My name is Beulah and I’ll be your Monster Specialist today. How can I help you find your boo?” she asked, bored and filing at one of her talons.
“I’m calling about an open position I saw recently on your website,” a nervous male voice said hesitantly.
Beulah set the iron file down and stabbed at her keyboard with a sausage sized finger. She squinted her small eyes at the screen. “Can you give me the number and name of the position?”
“Uh,” the voice said and Beulah heard papers rustling on the other end of the phone. “1313, Monster Under the Bed.”
Beulah stabbed the information in with her talons and peered more closely at the screen, reading the small text there. Why everything had to be in such a small text, she’d never know.
“That position has been filled,” she rumbled out in her coarse voice.
“What about 1314, Monster in the Closet?”
Again she stabbed out the information on the keyboard. “Filled,” she croaked out.
There was a heavy sigh on the end of the phone, followed by a moan of desperation. “Sir, there has to be something available.”
“Ma’am,” she corrected, but she blushed at the unexpected compliment. It had been ages since someone had mistaken her for a man. She’d been afraid that her voice was loosing some of its rock grinding qualities.
“Ma’am,” the voice said desperately. “You must be a two pack a day kinda gal,” the voice said on the other end, and Beulah could tell he was trying to butter her up.
“Three,” she said proudly and lit another while she sat her huge bulk back in her chair. It groaned loudly in protest.
“It shows,” he said with a nervous little laugh. “There has to be something. I’m desperate,” he moaned. “If I don’t get a job soon, my mate is going to eat me. Her egg sacks are full and she’s been in a homicidal rage.” She couldn’t help liking whoever was on the other side of the phone. He whined just like her husband, Hector.
She mumbled something indecipherable as she stabbed at the keys, pulling up her search options. “Okay,” she drawled, looking closely at the questions on her screen. “I’m going to ask you a series of questions and we will see if our system can find something you are qualified for.” She inhaled on her cigarette deeply, turning most of it to ash in a single draw. She stubbed it out in the overflowing ashtray to her right and then licked her fat lips as she reviewed the screen.
“Thank you…” he said, trailing off because he had forgotten her name.
“Beulah,” Beulah told him.
“Fartner?” Beulah asked, trying the name out. “Your patents must have hated you.”
“Oh they did,” Fartner said and a note of pride crept into his whining tone. “Out of all of my thirty-two siblings, I’m the only one my mother didn’t eat or maim.”
Beulah made an appreciative noise in her throat, which to anyone listening would have sounded like a cat coughing up a fur ball. “Name, Fartner,” she said and poked at the keys typing in the name. “Biped or quadruped?” she asked.
“Versatile,” he told her. “I can also cling to ceilings and walls.”
“Good, good,” she told him, typing his response into her computer. “Have you ever been the monster under the bed, and if so, where and when?”
“Yes,” he told her with pride. “I used to have a regular gig about three years ago with the Sutton family in New York. I scared their son from the time he was oh, four or five, I think. He slept with the light on for three years.”
Beulah nodded appreciatively. She knew of monsters and other entities who harassed kids but could never get them to sleep with their light on.
“Did you have any special skills?”
“Yes,” Fartner answered and the note of pride was back in his weak, reedy voice. “I would hide at the bottom of the bed and pull the covers down. Then, and this is the good part, I always kept a block of ice with me. I’d get my hands really cold and reach up to grab an arm or a leg.” Fartner laughed. “Woke his parents up screaming quite a few times with that one.”
“Nice,” Beulah murmured and she gave him a few points on his assessment for originality. “And why did you leave your position with the Sutton’s?”
Fartner made a disgusted noise. “The brat grew up to become a priest.”
Beulah inhaled in surprise. “Did your job a little too well,” she said typing.
“Any unexpected accidents or deaths that you were responsible for?”
“No,” Fartner said sadly. “They kept their guns and knives safely out of reach.”
“And can you possess anyone or make them do things against their will?”
“No,” Fartner answered and the whining tone was back. “I hid in closets and the basement and talked to Mrs. Sutton when no was around. Had her on meds for several years,” he said trying to make up for his lack of being able to possess someone.
“Excellent,” she said, typing.
“I hope that won’t count against me,” Fartner said, his voice an irritating whine that Beulah found attractive.
“No,” she assured him. “That’s a specialty skill that some monsters have. It would have opened up more options for you if you’d been able, but it won’t count against you.”
“Good,” he said.
“Just a few more questions,” she told him. “Do you have any religious affiliations with demons, the devil, Ancient Horrors, Cosmic Entities or the Great Old Ones.”
“No,” he said nervously. “I’m an independent contractor.”
Beulah typed the information into her computer and then tsked.
“What is it? Am I qualified for anything? Can you help me?” The questions came out quick and high pitched, causing feedback over the phone.
Beulah sighed heavily. “Unfortunately, Fartner, we don’t have anything you’re qualified for. Maybe try back next week?”
“No,” Fartner wailed. “No, I need a job now! Now,” he cried. “My mate is not going to just eat our young. I’m going to be the appetizer.” Beulah heard the note of desperation in his voice and respected him for being terrified of his wife, as he should be.
“I’m dead. Dead!” he cried, drawing the word out.
“Wait,” Beulah said as his wailing sparked something in her memory.
“Do you have something?” he asked desperately. “Anything. Anything at all.”
She hammered at the keys of her keyboard as she tried to pull up what his caterwauling had made her think of. Then she remembered. She typed in the search parameters and found what she was looking for. She read through it as quickly as her piggy little eyes could scan the screen.
“Are you willing to wear a wig and a dress?” she asked Fartner as she worked her way mentally through the problem.
“Yes, yes,” he said sounding hopeful. “Wait,” he said as her words sunk in. “What sort of job are we talking here?” he asked cautiously.
“We have need of a banshee,” Beulah said as she read through the information on her screen.
“Huh?” he said, thinking he might have misheard her.
“Our regular girl is on holiday,” she croaked out. “Well, the family she plagues is getting ready to go on holiday and according to her, their plane is going to experience some… difficulties. She’s been busy jumping back and forth between the various members of the family, wailing outside their windows at night. There are a lot of them going on this trip.”
“Okay,” Fartner said slowly. “And you want me to help her?”
“Yes. No,” Beulah said and clicked a link on her computer.
“I’m so confused,” Fartner said, the whining back in his voice.
“Your whiny voice made me think of it,” she told him as she read.
“Thank you,” he said and the note of pride was back.
“This banshee covers a large area and several families. Usually she’s not this busy. She put in a request for help earlier today because she’s got to cover the family going on holiday and another man that is going to fall down a flight of stairs. She can’t be in two places at once.” Beulah slapped a meaty palm down on her desk, disturbing the pyramid of cigarette butts in the ashtray on her desk.
“Um, am I qualified for this?” Fartner asked sounding unsure.
“Just stand outside the window and moan at the man. Try it,” she said encouragingly.
He coughed uncomfortably and then cleared his throat. “YOU’RE GOING TO DIE OLD MAN!” he shouted at the top of his lungs, causing Beulah to perform a miracle of epic proportions as she heaved her massive bulk up an inch into the air in surprise. As she bounced back into her already overburdened chair, there was a loud crack from the base of it.
“Less bellow and more moan,” she said, flustered.
“You’re going to die, old man,” he moaned loudly but with absolutely no inflection or feeling at all.
“Better. Maybe work on the phrasing a little. You know what, you’ll have time to look over the instructions. I’ll email them to you. Do you think you can stowaway on an airplane? Tomorrow at the latest. You’ll need to be in Scotland the next day to start.”
“Scotland?” he asked excitedly.
“Yes. All the info will be in your email. You’ll need to come by here tomorrow before you find a plane to stowaway on and pick up your wig and dress. Oh and,” she pulled up the information on her computer. “Avoid flight 214. I have it on good authority that the plane is going to have… difficulties.”
“Thank you so much,” Fartner said. “I won’t let you down.”
“I’m glad we could assist you, Mister Fartner. We look forward to working with you. Remember, here at Unhuman Resources, we’re all boo and no woo.”