Tag Archives: Mary Shelley

Ghosts and Other Things That Go Bump in the Night

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

–Scottish Prayer

With the approach of Halloween, I am resubmitting a much earlier post of my own warped view of a literary classic:

https://curmudgeon-at-large.com/2012/10/29/a-dreary-night-of-november/

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A Dreary Night of November

It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils.  With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet.  It was already one in the morning; the rains patterned dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs. 1

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how to delineate the wretch whom with infinite pains and care I had endeavored to form?  The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature.  I had worked hard for nearly two years for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body.  I beheld the wretch – the miserable monster whom I had created.  He held up the curtain of the bed; and his eyes, if eyes they may be called, were fixed upon me.  His jaws opened, and he muttered:1

“Say, who does a fellow have to screw around here to get a drink?”

Taken aback, I sputtered, more to myself than to the now animate form before me:  “You are able to speak.”

The creature responded: “Well, of course I’m able to speak, your dumb twit.  How else am I able to tell you that these curtains are hideous?  And don’t get me started on the furniture in here.  Where did you find such crap?  At the half-pence discount outlet?  And my clothes.  When I said I like boots, I didn’t mean the hobnailed kind.  You sent that swish Igor to every cemetery in town to find clothes and this is the best you can do?  I mean, really, couldn’t he have found some nice pumps and a pleasant dress and matching earrings?  Is it too much to ask?”

His remarks struck me with the force of two stone weight and the astonishment I experienced equaled with intensity any that had preceded my meager existence.  I had, in my feeble imagining, perfected a being of perfect proportion and form but had not foreseen this result.

“Pumps, dress, earrings” I stammered, “Are you … are you … transsexual?”  I blurted out this statement without consideration and then followed my inadvertent remark quickly with “Not that there’s anything wrong with being transsexual, you understand.”

The creature looked at me through half-lidded eyes and said “Why Doctor Frankenstein, don’t you know that all the best monsters are?”

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1from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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