Sweet Pea has heard rumors about her "crazy" Cousin Pete all her life. They've been as wild as exaggerated tales of super powers to scary stories about attacks and murdered dogs. But nothing can prepare her for the first face-to-face encounter with the man battling mental illness or how he would touch her heart.
To Look Upon a Monster is a short story, first introduced in a fiction workshop and is currently available for submission.
“Daddy, it’s Pete.”
“Pete? What the hell he doin’ here this time a mornin’?”
I stood frozen to my spot at the top of the stairs. Crazy Pete was the monster in the family. Tales of his warped reality had been fodder for the grown-ups’ Friday night discussions over beers and VSQ. He threw real dogs in hot pans to make hot dogs. He used a toy walkie-talkie to report crimes, because he insisted he worked for the F.B.I. They made him sound a like a raging madman. I was terrified of him, although I’d never seen his face.
Granddaddy went into his room and covered his skinny bow legs and baggy boxer shorts with a proper pair of pants. He rushed out and advanced quickly down the stairs. When he reached the bottom, he switched on the light just as Uncle Stanley opened the front door to let a tall thin man with a wild Afro come into the vestibule.
I stood there, my mouth opened wide in wonder. He had big bright eyes, and skin the color of sugar Gram melted in a pan to make caramel apples. His hair was a mass of curls, glossy even in their uncombed state. He didn’t look crazy at all. In fact, Crazy Pete was the most handsome man I had ever seen. To my twelve year old hormones, he was cuter than Bruce Lee and that was almost impossible.