Monday, April 17, 2006


Dracula and Darth Vader

Once upon a time a very long time ago, a little boy tried to fall asleep in a basement. No matter how many times he'd shut his eyes tight, he was forced to open them. You see, his father had hung one of the creepiest paintings ever known to a seven year old, over his bed. To make matters worse, when the lights were out and it was completely dark, he'd swear to God he was seeing Darth Vader.

"Oh my God, Dad, Darth Vader is coming to get me!" The little boy would say.
"Mark, go to sleep", the irritated father would say.
"But Dad, really, he is", the little boy would say.

In a huff the little boy's irritated West Indian immigrant dad would decend the stairs and go into one of his tirades:

"Mark, how many times do I have to tell you that Darth Vader isn't real, now cut it out and go to sleep."

Looking for anything to open his fathers eyes to the fact that there could possibly be "something" down there he said, "Weren't you ever scared of anything when you were my age?"

"Never", he said, 'I was too busy working to be afraid of anything, and if I was afraid of anything, I wasn't anywhere near as scared as you."

The little boy glanced up at the creepy-looking painting hanging over his bed. "Dad, what kind of painting is that? It scares me."

"It's called the vision of death."


"It looks like a ghost or somekind of monster..."

'It isn't, now go back to sleep."

It wouldn't be until many years later over lunch that the little boy grown and in his mid-20's would ask his father about that god awful painting.

"Oh that", he said laughing before he goes into his story.

"When I was a college student I had this really weird roommate who was an artist. One day I came home and he was going on and on about life and death, and the meaning of death and God and all this other stuff. Now, he was saying all of this while he was painting this portrait. He was talking really fast and painting just as fast at the same time. Anyway, I got tired of sitting there listening to him, so I left and went to the store. When I came back the cops were all over the place. It turns out my roommate blew his head off while I was gone. I remember walking around looking at the blood everywhere and things and noticing that there was no blood on the painting, so I took it with me when I left and I kept it as a memento of him."

"And you hung it over my bed, knowing the creepy ass history behind that thing?"

The father shrugged his shoulders and said, "Well, y'know."

In disbelief the now grown man made a vow that he would never do that to his kids.

So fast forward to the present the little boy is now a full grown man rapidly approaching 40 with kids of his own. One night after reading "Pinnochio and the Whale" for the third time in a row, the father puts his foot down and says, "That's it, no more Pinnochio it's time to go to sleep."

His four year old to whom he gave his name to looks up at him and says, "Daddy".

"Yes, TJ."

"Can you turn the Nemo night light on?"

"Of course son."

"Daddy", the little boy says, "Is Dracula gonna get me?"

"No son, Dracula won't get you."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm positive son."

"How do you know?" the four year old says.

"Cause I know", the father said in his Queens, New York accent meets Oakland, California attitude.

Sensing the fear in the little boy, the father lays down besides him.

"You know son, when I was your age I was scared of things too."

"You were?"

"Yeah, I was scared of Darth Vader."

"Is Darth Vader gonna come get me?"

"Nope, he's too busy flying around in outer space somewhere to come get you."

"But what if Dracula and Darth Vader come and get me?" The four year old asks.

"If either one of them guys comes through that window all you gotta do is call me, and I guarantee you that both of those idiots will go out that window faster than they came in."

"Well, what if a lion or a tiger or a bear comes?" the little boy asks.

"Hey, if a lion comes in here", the father says, "we'll beat that lion. If a bear comes in here: we'll beat that bear. If a tiger comes in: we'll beat that tiger. You and me, ok?"

The four year old frowns his face up really hard and says "Yeah, if a lion comes in here: we'll beat that lion", the little boy says as he balled his fist up and punched at the air. 'If a bear comes in here: we'll beat that bear!"

A warm smile envelops the fathers face. It's the same kind of smile a parent gets the first time they see their child walk. He laughs loudly on the inside before his son says:

"Hey, what's your problem? Are you scared or something? I'll protect you."

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