Monster in the Closet

When I was a kid, I had a vivid imagination and was convinced that there was a monster in my closet. Reason being was that there was an a/c suction vent in that closet and it would cause the door to slam shut. I had thought about it many nights, that it was some evil, dark, scary thing, that was going to eat my heart. Like I said vivid imagination.

I would have never guessed, that the thing I dreamed into life would look like the tooth-fairy compared to what I keep locked up in my chest and in my mind. There are days when I accept the fact that I am an animal. I accept that there are days when I just have to let the beast run its course for fear that I may fail to stop it the next time. I let him lift weights until his arms bleed battery acid, let him punish a punching bag until his knuckles bleed my blood. I let him swim until he can find some peace with what he is and then I find myself in control again.

Strange how, a couple months of intense life and death removes years of societal rules and social norms. Once the beast is out of the bag, it is near impossible to put him back again. Sometimes I feel like Heracles wrestling with Cerberus (two headed hell hound), constantly trying to subdue him before he escapes from hades and kills everything. In combat, being Cerberus was the second greatest asset I possessed other than the love for my guys. It made me swift and efficient most of all it made me lethal. Such that many of my early team leaders held me back or established rules to keep me calm when I was a young soldier. It was incredibly useful and probably is the reason I and some of my friends are still alive.

Fast forward to today, I am a threat, a ticking time bomb with a victim operated trigger. One glance, one incorrect body movement, one misplaced hand and I will send you to the floor and worse yet perhaps to the morgue. It is not something I have control of. I go to a bar and have a few beers but all the while I solve simple addition problems or study the people I am talking to, so as to dampen the beast’s response to somebody mistakingly pressing one of my triggers. It scares me, because I recognize just how out of my control it really is. I don’t want to be that veteran that kills a guy in a bar over nothing and spends his life in jail for an instinctive response.

Have you seen the new Rambo flick? Where Rambo is monologuing about accepting what you are, its in your blood, you’re a killer. What a bunch of crap. Look, it sounds hard core and you think yeah, Rambo’s old ass is gonna go mess up those guys with lots of pyrotechnics. Real life, that doesn’t fit, that doesn’t mesh. If I just accepted what I was when I go to that place, I would be in jail and probably be alone. Society and all its rules can be a bit abrasive sometimes but it has come about through the progression of humans living closer and closer together. So if I don’t fit, I am wrong. I can’t kick out people’s knees and crush throats. I can’t use the kung-fu junk I learned as a kid on the waiter when he gets my order wrong. I can’t power-bomb every dude that looks at my girl friend. I can’t remove those, that disagree with me or hold unintelligent ill-advised opinions publicly. And yet there I am holding my Cerberus back. Trying to keep my hell-hound from surfacing and really effing up somebody’s day. I wish I could find the key to the closet so I could lock this beast away for a little while. At some point, I get disgusted with myself. The lack of mental control. I can control my physical reactions but my mind continues to press at it. Punch him in the face… do it… see the red blood, feel the warmth. Punish this idiot. DO IT! Why do I think this way, why can I not limit this to only when it is necessary to defend my family or friends. Through all of my frustration with myself, Cerberus lives there just beneath the surface waiting for a chance to rear its ugly head and bring hell with it. My monster in the closet now lives in fear of the beast that sits in the room. I leave the light on for him now, lol.

Do you keep a monster beneath the surface? How do you control it? What would happen if you didn’t?


3 responses to “Monster in the Closet

  • William Campell

    Great post. I think it would be a challenge to avoid harboring a beast within after combat. I certainly have one within me. I deal with it by avoiding people. I stay at home, or when I do go out, I stay in the car. If I get out of the car, there is no one, or few around. You should be applauded for managing the Cerberus within you and taking the beast out for a walk in public.

  • Domenica


    I have not experienced combat, I have not witnessed the hell which you and others like you (including my husband) have been through, and the hell you continue to endure. But for what it’s worth, in my own way I too have a Cerberus which lurks like the dark shadow of a great white swimming menacingly back and forth just beneath the surface… dip your toe in the water and the fucking shark will take your leg off at the knee.

    This comes from my time as a Corrections Officer, going hands on with some of the lowest forms of humankind, high on drugs, covered in their own piss and vomit spitting in my face calling me a fucking c*nt and a whore threatening kill me and my family if they ever saw me on the “outs”.

    I carry a pistol every where I go, my CPL comes with the job and we are expected and its accepted that I will be armed at all times. There are some times like when someone’s being a fucking jackass complaining about pickles on their burger they didn’t ask for and you would think someone just fucked their mother and put in on YouTube, or some punk acting like he’s “all that” intimidating innocent people standing in line at the Post Office. On days like those I just want to take out my Glock and stick it deep under their chin and make them beg for mercy. I have those thoughts all the time, sometimes even muttering under my breath….”go on, start something asshole”.

    So like I said, even though I have not been through an iota of what combat vets face, I too struggle to keep my own beast under control.

  • breed3231

    My experiences are not the same as yours, but between your nightmares post, your stewing post, and your monster in the closet post I wanted to comment on them all together.

    I had a couple of dreams the week you posted the Stewing blog. I kinda had a jacked up childhood, so Ive pretty much been having them all my life. They haven’t been nightmares to me for a long time, so that’s all they really are to me now is dreams. A constant battle of good vs evil. Sometimes I win, Sometimes I don’t. They got intense a few times in Iraq, but they haven’t gotten to be disruptive for me. The only ones that really seem to jerk me out of sleep and affect me after I wake up are the ones about my sworn childhood enemy, and when somehow in the dream I care about him and we are friends. That feeling of outrage and guilt at myself is the only one that still breaks through.

    Anyway, about the time of your stewing post I think I was worked up for no good reason. Started thinking about Maj Fuckface Nidal and thinking about what would have happened if I was still riding along with Drew that morning and we had been the closest patrol. Ended up dreaming that I was there when it happened, without a weapon. I had to run him down with my F150. That isn’t the part that worries me though. I could feel it, that I let my anger out. Like a terrible beast. Nidal was down, but I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted to keep going, but had nowhere to direct it. It was out and it was in control. They wanted me to go to some HQ or something for the investigation, but I said I couldn’t. I needed help, I had to go run around the track and scream at the top of my lungs or something. Its kinda scary.

    I had another one just like it that I was back home at a BBQ with my family and some friends, when someone tried to take out the party. Me and my buddy took the guy out, but again I wasn’t satisfied and it was out.

    It isnt the dreams that I am really talking about, but being scared that if I ever let the anger out, then I wont want to stop. I truly fear that feeling, and worry about it. I don’t want to be like Cameron Poe from ConAir watching my kids grow up from behind bars. This feeling has been more real than the dreams.

    Is this fucked up?

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