Fiction Inferno: The literary magazine that burns you up

Monster Island

Richard D. Slay

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The thing you gotta understand is, we don't have that stuff in our part of town.

They always hit downtown. They rise out of the harbor and go apeshit downtown. No idea why. Maybe the high buildings. Them reptile brains, they see those high buildings and they go nuts. Maybe they think it's food. Maybe they think it's another monster and they wanna hump it.

That's what I was thinking, anyway.

Sometimes they hit other towns too. It's just that these days they don't interrupt local TV when it happens in other towns. Good thing we got cable.

Fox TV. I forgot about Fox TV. They got a half-hour show on monster attacks. It's on between "Cops" and "America's Most Wanted." Real popular.

It's sponsored by Raid. And some insurance company.

Anyway, it's not a big problem. It doesn't happen in this part of town. The big lizard thing, or the big turtle thing, or the big moth thing, or whatever, it crawls out of the harbor and starts whaling away on some tower with whatever kind of body parts it's got or an energy beam from its eyes or sometimes fire breath. Except for the moth thing. It has to spend a few hours drying off its wings first. So you get some warning there. That's probably why the moth thing is more popular. You can kind of plan your day around it.

I don't work in the city. Nobody does. Companies moving out here to the suburbs. Also, they make their headquarters buildings shorter. A lot shorter. They move to the suburbs where there's lots of room and build really wide buildings instead of really tall ones.

I used to work in the city, but the company moved. This was when it first started. This was Godzilla. Godzilla himself. You don't see him much anymore. He was great back then. I saw him. My kids don't believe that. Everyone says he saw Godzilla back then, like he was Elvis or the Beatles. It was the only time I was ever attacked by a monster and it was great. I was eighteen and working summers in an office building. A real tall office building.

But I got kids and a house now and I don't wanna mess with that crap now. It's quiet in the suburbs. The folks in the city - well, they asked for it. They should know better than live in that part of town. They shouldn't live in high housing projects. If they acted more like us they wouldn't have monsters.

Godzilla was great. He was about Statue of Liberty size, before he tore it down. He tore her down with those tiny little rubbery dinosaur arms. He was humping her. She was green, she had those horn-things coming outta her hair, she was asking for it. He was humping her. But then people figured that out and they stopped running the film on TV. Damn women's rights groups wrote letters. Said the film make guys want to commit rape. If a 300-foot lizard humping a green copper mannequin's gonna make a guy rape, he's gonna find some reason anyhow.

People say it's the Japs' fault. It only used to happen there. This was when I was still a kid. But they kept blasting away at Godzilla and finally they gave up and built all their buildings straight down into the ground so he couldn't stomp them any more and he got bored. He started turning up at other places. Gave the other monsters ideas. London, Venice, San Francisco. Foreign places. Everyone said the Japs shouldn't have pissed them off by making the buildings upside down. The Japs said well it's your fault for testing all those atomic bombs in the ocean and turning bait into giant mutants. That's a Hell of an attitude. We were using those bombs to defend the Japs from Communism. That's some gratitude.

So I was operating a Xerox machine in the real tall office building and collating. Back in those days there was no Civil Monster Defense. No sirens, no shelters. I was collating an executive report and I heard an explosion and a real loud


That was Godzilla. So I ran to a fire escape and there was an honest-to-God hysterical running mob just like in the movies. It's not like now, with those damn monster groupies banging against the police barricades trying to get closer. Then the Macy's building fell to pieces, and there he was, rising out of the dust, covered with Labor Day Sale specials and women's underwear. He torched a couple of cops and went stomping right past me. I got some photos before I started running. The Fotomat screwed them up. Godzilla was whacking at the insurance company building, which was really tall.

He was the most incredible thing I ever saw. It was better than watching the Who at Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati. I was there too. Those were the only two important things I was ever at. Both had hysterical running mobs. So they were important. I waved hi mom to the TV cameras both times.

These city guys are whining all the time. The mayor keeps wanting to hike sales taxes to build a giant monster-fighting robot. What a load of bullshit. It's those tax-and-spend politicians. What about all the money they waste on welfare? If they cut that they could build a really keen robot.

They keep complaining in the city about the way the President handled it. That's their excuse for the giant robot tax. I was there the first time and I think the GIs kicked ass. Eventually. It did take a long time, but it's the President and he has all kinds of important stuff to work on besides Godzilla burning down some stupid museums. So what if it took two days before he declared downtown a national disaster area and another three to get the attack started?

I think everybody also made too big a deal about the way they lined up 500 tanks at the edge of the slum and blew it up before Godzilla made it to the suburbs. We did manage to drop a hundred thousand tons of bombs on what was left of the city. Also they had those cool gun-camera videos at the Pentagon press briefings all week on C-SPAN. I bought one of those collections on videotape. URBAN VICTORY - YOUR FIGHTING AIR FORCE AGAINST GODZILLA.

Yeah, it was a pretty big mess, but we did win. Until he came up again in Philadelphia the next week. Sort of put a damper on the ticker-tape parade here. But in the meantime we got to give blood and feel good about that and shoot at stuff and feel good about that and watch kickass fighter planes and feel good about that and then forget all about it and feel good about that. So I think the Godzilla attack turned out to be a good thing because it helped America find its pride again. Also, it took everybody's minds off the recession. The recession was getting to be a real drag.

Look at those protestors. They're mad because the President won't stop testing nukes in Nevada. It's not that big a deal. The giant ants weren't half as bad as Godzilla.

Monsters aren't all bad. After we roasted the lobster monster a couple of years back you wouldn't believe the supermarket bargains the next 24 hours. We and the kids had a Hell of a time until the lemon juice shortage. But it's better when the monsters are reptiles and mammals. Taste just like chicken.

See, there's too much depressing news. Monsters are exciting. They make lots of news and you get out of work and the really nice part is, when it's all over nothing's really changed. I make forty thou a year and I have a good life. I don't want anything to really change. The GIs go out and blow up another city that no one needs anyway and we celebrate and figure out ways to make money off it. So it's really an opportunity. City people get so pissed about us making money off their suffering. Hey, we pay taxes! It's only fair.

Okay, the 200-foot earwig monster was pretty foul. That one was bad. It still gives me the creeps. But that's true about earwigs in general.

There's Donahue doing another show about monster attacks. Donahue and that black woman are always getting my wife riled up about stuff. The homeless. Toxic waste. Matango the Fungus of Terror. Now they got some egghead experts talking about why monsters go after cities.

"You see, Phil, in recent years our cities have become a foci of despair. The drugs, the constant violence, homelessness, and all these other problems create a powerful anger and frustration in the people living there. The mutant creatures are drawn to this. They are themselves creatures of violence, children of the atom bomb. Yet though they frighten us with their action, they also embody our subconscious desires to tear down the walls around us, to trample the artifacts of modern life. History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man. Godzilla is the dream-self of the urban underclass, and until we make our peace with them, we can make no peace with Godzilla."

What a load of crap. It's the tall buildings!

Anyway, the President announced his new War on Monsters legislative package. Some good common-sense measures. Those idiots in Congress are trying to control guns. If they'd had shotguns and revolvers in Beijing that mile-long dragon wouldn't have done half as much damage. No, the President's got the right idea. Everybody gets government vouchers to get much bigger guns. If enough of us shoot at it, we're bound to hit something.

Also, he's gonna get tough on monster sympathizers. You know who he means. Like, my kids may own monster cards and monster costumes and monster toys and monster lunch pails and monster burn victim posters and authentic pieces of the UN building, but they're not doing anything to actually help the monsters. It's the city people. The slum people. They don't cooperate with the police and the Army occupation garrisons. They don't want to be searched when they're in the wrong part of town. Now the lawyers won't be able to get them off anymore.

And the wall. Putting a two-hundred-foot-high wall around downtown. Electrified. Christ, those eco-freaks wanted to shut down the nuclear reactor instead. Because that's where the monsters always go after they trash downtown. You know what happens to my utility bills when they shut it down? The wall's a lot better.

I gotta burn some trash. I'm sick of hearing about monsters. As long as they stay on their side of town. I gotta clean my guns. One of the five locks on my door is busted. Damn smog's making my asthma act up again. Too busy to worry about monsters.

Damn you! You little bastard, you could've broken my gun playing with it like that! You little motherfucker you don't try to wiggle away when I'm beating you. You little monster.


©1992 Richard D. Slay
Originally published by
Gaslight: Tales of the Unsane, August 1994
Strait-Jacket Publications

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