Growling on the Outside, Crying on the Inside
An Emmy Award-winning writer for The Colbert Report follows in the (big) footsteps of Bigfoot: I Not Dead.
Monsters have it tough. Besides being deeply misunderstood, they suffer from very real problems: Mummies have body image issues, Godzilla is going through an existential crisis, and creatures from the black lagoon face discrimination from creatures from the white lagoon. At heart, these monsters are human; after all, you are what you eat. Quirkily illustrated, Sad Monsters hilariously documents the trials and tribulations of all the undead creatures monster-mad readers have grown to love, from vampires and werewolves, to chupacabras and sphinxes, and even claw-footed bathtubs.
The Mummy's Curse: Cankles
Those screaming villagers in Cairo were right: I'm a hideous monster. I really let myself go over the past three thousand years, and now I'm paying for it because bikini season is right around the corner.
At least I'm covered by rags so I don't have to see myselfalthough I have to say, vertical wrappings would have been much more slimming. Honestly, sometimes I think the priests want us to hate our desiccated bodies.
I'll be up front: This whole mummy thing started as a last-ditch effort to lose weight. It was either that or stop eating fried ibis, and I'm sorry, but an ancient Egyptian only has so many pleasures in life and those crocodile-flavored Slim-Fast shakes are disgusting. But here's what the priests don't tell you about mummification: Sure, it'll cut down your weight, but you've still got to deal with cellulite. Nothing gets rid of that stuff.
You'd think literally being nothing but skin and bones would help me feel good about myself, but there's a much higher standard of thinness for mummies. Every ounce counts when Anubis is weighing your heart against the feather of Ma'at to determine if you're worthy of the afterlife or if you're a disgusting cow.
If I were just some commoner who got lost in a sandstorm and wound up naturally mummified, there'd be less pressure. At least I wouldn't need to keep up on all the latest fashion trends. One season it's linen, the next it's gauze. I just hope they don't bring back the mini-shroud. Not a pretty sight, considering I've got bony knees.
But fashion is the least of my problems. Centuries ago, I went to a charity auctionthey were selling Hebrew slaves to raise money for ailing firstbornsand the next day the gossip papyruses printed the most vicious things about my weight: "Falcon River Serpent Eye River Hippo." Ever since, I haven't had a single bite of the mummified falcons that my servants entombed me with to sustain me in the afterlife. Okay, I gnawed on a few of them, but I didn't eat the wrappings. Oh, who am I kidding? The wrappings are the best part.
I disgust myself.
You know how sometimes you see a funerary sculpture of a pharaoh after he's had a baby crocodile gastric bypass, and you think, "Wow, what a mistake"? That's what I'm thinking right now. And believe me, it's not easy thinking that when during the mummification process your brain was removed through your nostrils with a hook.
The worst thing is, I've got that stupid grinning portrait carved on the lid of my sarcophagus to constantly remind me how I used to look. I may not have been a great beauty back during the Eighteenth Dynasty, but at least I had skin that could bend. Nowadays, I've got to apply at least two coats of saddle soap before I can bear to even think about leaving the pyramid. And why bother? The lighting in most clubs these days is so dreadful, I look old enough to be from the Eighth Dynasty.
What really gets me is how everyone goes on and on about how well-preserved Queen Nefertiti is. Well, just between me, you, and Ammut the Devourer of SoulsNefertiti had some work done during the Napoleonic era. It's easy to look supple when half your face is actually ox skin.
Still, I try to stay positive. On the bright side, at least now my face has excellent bone structure. And I think I could finally be happy with myself, completely happy, if I could just do something about this ghastly nose.
That's why I'm here, Dr. Perlin. I didn't have an appointment, but your receptionist was very accommodating after I explained my situation to her using poisonous asps.
I found the perfect nose on an American tourist visiting the Temple of Luxor, but she wouldn't stand still long enough for me to take a picture, and her screams were starting to draw unwanted attention, so I brought you her actual nose.
What do you think, Doctor? I can do any day between now and eternity, except Saturdays. That's when I get my hair colored.
How to Find the Genie of Your Dreams
Whenever I'm out diamond-shopping with my genie, strangers come up to me and say, "You guys seem so happy together. How do you do it?" Well, when Shalazam is out of earshot, I tell them that freeing a magical being from a lamp is easy. Making things last is hard work.
A lot of genies think humans are only interested in one thing: wishes. Prove him wrong. When your genie offers you three wishes, shrug and tell him, "No thanks, I'm cool right now." He'll be puzzled… and intrigued.
A few days later, casually ask your genie for the name of his favorite band. Then, after another week or so, tell your genie that you'd finally like your first wish: two front-row tickets to that band's next show. He'll be impressed you remember the little things.
Don't use up all your wishes on the first night. By the time you get to "third wish," you'll want your genie to hang around because he wants to, not because the ancient laws of his race are forcing him to.
Shalazam has been my genie for almost five years, and we've never lost the magic. My secret: Sometimes I let him think that he's the master. Every once in a while, tell your genie how all-powerful he's been looking. And tell him that you love how his earrings match his lamp handle, even (especially!) if they don't.
Accept the fact that genies rarely update their style. I once made the mistake of telling Shalazam that the "fez look" went out of fashion with the Ottoman Empire, and he turned me into a camel. Today we laugh about it, but at the time I wanted to spit in his face.
Speaking of common mistakes, don't ever call your genie "Mr. Clean," even as a joke. Only they can call themselves that.
Go the extra mile. Anyone can rub a genie's lamp, but a thoughtful master will buff and polish it. Incidentally, it's the twenty-first century. See if your genie wouldn't mind switching from a lamp to a compact fluorescent bulb.
Don't hang around his place all the time. While it might be exciting for you to be shrunk down to the size of a pea and transported through a lamp spout, that's his daily commute.
Show your genie a good time. Since he's a spirit born of smokeless fire, you don't have to worry about a restaurant's smoking ban, but keep in mind that societal mores have changed in the past thousand years. Most of today's fine-dining establishments require patrons to wear T-shirts beneath their gold-fringed vests.
If you think things with your genie could work out long-term, get him a green card. It'll save you a lot of trouble when you travel. After all, he's a strange man with a Middle Eastern accent and no papers who's wearing a vest, and you can't check his shoes for explosives because his legs end in smoky wisps.
Shalazam is currently applying for citizenship, although he's had trouble holding down a job for more than a month or two. You'd think someone who caters to his master's every whim would have an easy time in the service industry, but when customers tip poorly he tends to summon sandstorms.
Too many people keep trying to make things work with a bad genie, no matter how many times their wishes have gone tragically or ironically awry. "I'm sure he just misheard me again," they think to themselves. "It's so tough to hear anything over that twelve-inch pianist." If things with your genie do come to an end, remember that there are plenty of wish-granting fish in the sea. Don't make the mistake of rushing to find a new genie, thinking you can use your first wish to get your old one back. No one likes hearing how good a former genie was at granting wishes.
Household objects might make you think of an old genie. A throw rug might remind you of the time the two of you took a magic carpet ride to the moon. Or a platinum hookah filled with diamonds might remind you of the time you wished for a platinum hookah filled with diamonds. Fortunately, Shalazam helped me deal with these issues when he incinerated my mansion after I called him Mr. Clean.
Are things with Shalazam perfect? Of course not. He says I take his wishes for granted, and I don't like that he always insists on splitting the check. And of course there was the time I told him I wanted to conjure other genies, and he blotted out the sun and made me watch everyone I love shrivel away and then reversed time and undid it and then redid it, over and over until I changed my mind.
Still, the most important thing I've learned is that you should never use a wish to change your genie. He has to want to change on his own."Thanks to this hilarious book, I'm no longer scared of monsters. However, I am still terrified of books."
"With Sad Monsters...the joke keeps getting reinvented in creative and wonderful ways. So yes, it's funny - but it's also smart and creative. It begs for public readings."
-Orson Scott Card, bestselling author of Ender's Game
"Delightful and definitive proof that the undead are just as unhappy as the rest of us."
-Seth Grahame-Smith, author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
"Sad Monsters is utterly hilarious. Then scary. Then hilarious again."
-Scott Kenemore, author of The Zen of Zombie
"Hilarious. Frank Lesser has done a great service to human-monster relations."
-Bob Powers, co-author, The Werewolf's Guide To Life: A Manual For The Newly Bitten
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