The Bogeyman Can

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"Who can take a garbage bag?  (Garbage bag)

And stuff it full of kids?  (Stuff it full of kids)

Who can kill anyone he wants to and get away with it?

(The Bogeyman)

The Bogeyman can

Cause he stays right out of sight

Until the lights go down . . ."


* * *


"OKAY, HOLD it! Stop the film! Lights!"

"What? What's wrong now, Martin?"

The lights in the mini theatre came on.

Martin massaged the top of his shiny, round head, sucking the last half inch left of his cigarette. He sighed as he flicked the butt into his companion's coffee where it fizzled, unnoticed by Rogers.

"I give you two extra weeks and half a million dollars and you come up with this crap? You come up with a mockery - and a poor one at that - of the Candyman song?"

Rogers stared at Martin with thin red eyes. He had spent the last seventy hours attempting to complete the "Bogeyman" music video on time. And he'd just made it. The money this lousy assignment would earn him would help pay for the studio space he needed to cut his first record. He'd planned on going home and dropping into a very deep sleep until the secretary told him he was supposed to stay with Mr. Martin for the screening of the video.

Great.

If there was one thing he didn't feel like doing, it was sitting beside the old fart in the mini theatre and listening to the whistling noise he made while he breathed. All that Rogers had wanted was to drop off the film, pick up his cheque and never have to see Martin's ugly mug again. But, as he should have suspected, Martin was not easily satisfied. The video had barely begun to run when Martin screamed for it to stop.

"This product has been ready to go for a week now, but we didn't release it. They tell me it's time, but I say 'Hold on fellows: I've got the best man in the business working on our promotional video. He's young and new, but I know he'll deliver. Give him another week. Rogers won't let us down!' Well, Rogers, you've made a lying bastard out of me!" Martin's dome began blushing as he ranted.

"Look, man!" Rogers paused, trying to pull his words together. "It's a rock video. You barely let the video begin. If you'd give it half a chance . . ."

"Half a chance? Rogers, this song makes a laughing stock out of the 'Bogeyman' line. It's supposed to be a serious product with advertisements aimed at the parents. Your stupid lyrics belittle the importance - the current social need - of the product. They make fun of it. And you aimed the damn thing at the kids."

"It's a kids toy." Rogers was barely aware of the words he was uttering. He had enough trouble keeping his eyes open, never mind trying to keep up with the blithering bald man stewing in front of him.

"But no kid in their right mind would buy the thing. It's a product which parents will be buying for their kids." Martin got up, walked over to the nearest wall, slammed his fist into it and then sat back down again. "Rogers, look at me. Look at me! Did you even bother to read the marketing package I gave to you?"

"Package?"

"The description of our product and of our target market, you idiot."

Rogers leaned forward and sipped his coffee. There was a weird taste to it. It was cold. No, that wasn't it. There was something else. He looked down into his cup at the floating cigarette butt.

"Did you read the package?"

"I never got the bloody package!' Anger gave him his second wind - or was it his third, fourth or fifth wind? Who knew? Being awake this many hours made it hard to think. "Besides, what's there to know? It's a product called 'The Bogeyman.' It scares little kids into being good. I left spaces in the video for your marketing editor to insert stills of the thing. What the hell else do you want from me?"

"Stills of the thing? Stills of the thing? You stupid fool. You think by adding still photos of our 'Bogeyman' overtop of your pathetic, childish jingle, anyone would ever buy our product? Do you even understand how much time and resources you've wasted?"

Martin walked over to the wall where he had slammed his fist. He signaled the technician in the projection booth. The opposite wall opened up with an annoying squeal.

Rogers rubbed his eyes and tried to look into the darkened corridor beyond the wall, but he couldn't see in. Dammit, something stunk to high hell. Was it him? He sniffed at his armpits.

The echoes of a soft moving - slithering - came from the corridor. A mist rolled out and settled across the floor of the mini theatre. It was the mist that stunk. Rogers felt a chill and sipped the coffee once more. Oh shit! He'd forgotten the stupid cigarette butt.

"What the hell's goin' on, man?"

The dark silhouette of a tall skinny shape appeared in the entrance of the corridor. Rogers couldn't make out any features through the mist which curled around the figure like a dark robe.

Martin waved a boney finger in Rogers' direction, shaking his head. "He's been a bad boy. A very bad boy." He spun on his heels and headed for the door.

"Martin. Where are you going?"

"To get another song writer. A good one." Martin called to the production booth as he stepped out of the room, quickly closing the door behind him. "Lights!" The slamming of the door was instantly followed by the sound of the door being locked.

The lights dipped, plunging the room into darkness. Even the exit signs at the top of the house and the work lights from the projection booth went out. The foul smell intensified with the encroaching darkness. Rogers heard the slithering sound again. It too, was louder, closer.

Through the door he thought he could hear Martin's voice, somewhat calmer; somewhat more satisfied. "You know, some of those lyrics you wrote might be useful after all: The Bogeyman can, cause he stays right out of sight until the lights go down."

A noise very much like a cross between a screech and a growl echoed through the darkness as something slimy and large picked Rogers up by the top of his head.

The howling groan of the creature reminded him of Martin's laughter.


-- END --


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