The Boy came downstairs to my office the other night. “Dad, I need your help,” says the Boy. “I’ve got some homework and I know I should be able to do this, but I’m kinda brainfarting.”
Yeah, been there. I figured it was going to be something to do with either his Math homework or Science. He’s good at both, but there’s times when he needs a little clarification. That’s cool, I’m still good with Grade 9 Math even after all these years. I can factor with the best of them.
And Science, well, I’m actually much better with the broad subjects now, I understand them better. Hell, I was even able to talk intelligently about quantum microchips for computers last week.
So, I figure I’m okay.
“So what’s the problem, dude?” I ask the Boy.
“I’ve got this homework assignment and…well…” He’s struggling, I can see that clearly.
“Which subject?” I ask, figuring, take your pick son, I’m good with either choice.
“French,” he says.
“French?” I ask. I can’t believe he’s even taken a trip down the stairs for a question pertaining to the French language. I kind of have a mutant ability that allows me to completely fracture and destroy that language. I mean, seriously, a language that separates everything into male or female? Completely messes me up.
So I give him a look.
“No no no,” he says. “It’s something you should be able to help with.”
“Okay,” I say. “I’ll bite. What is it?”
That’s when he unfurls a page with a very cool looking…monster of some sort. Hand drawn by him. Kid’s got some serious skills when it comes to Art. Which screws me up. I’m looking at a drawing. French? No, he must mean Art.
“You mean Art, right?”
“So I drew this,” the Boy says. “But I have to come up with a name for it. A good monster name…and I can’t think of anything.”
Of course, as soon as he says that, all naming creativity leaves my brain.
Kind of like a fart.
“Um…” I say, oh so eloquently.
“Yeah,” he says. “See what I mean?”
So we toss around a couple of ideas. I throw out “Angaar, the Giant Celery Stalk that Walked Like a Man”. He seems a little taken with “Angaar” which I meant solely as a joke to get the gears grinding. So I have to work fast.
I google “monster name generator” in desperation. Damned if there isn’t a few to choose from. But we quickly found out they all suck.
Jaguar Regulator. Violet Tome Brood. These are monster names?
Many asked for your name and then randomly generated an answer. We tried my name. Star Hoarde the Dark. We tried the Boy’s. Rust Widow the Wretched. We tried Richard Simmons’. Corpse Shifter the Terror…are they serious? These were…I don’t know, not exciting. Not monsterish enough. The best name had something to do with snot. Snotrot the Unyielding or something.
Okay, Plan B.
Who created some of the most fearsome monsters of all time? Why, H.P. Lovecraft of course. Cthulhu. Shub-Niggurath. Yog Sothoth. Nug. Hastur the Unspeakable. A ton of them, all fearsome as heck. And they SOUND like monsters! Yay, Lovecraft!
But, sadly, the Boy liked none of them.
I was now fresh out of Plan B’s. Or Plan Any Other Letter.
So, in desperation, I just googled “monster names” and started going through the answers. In one case, someone had put on one of those ask forums, “I need a cool name for a monster for a story I have. What do you suggest?”
There was a host of answers. Most lame, some dumb. Valtor, Valek, Damien, Davile, Scorne, Drone, Karma, Requia, Clawwser, Dracondevil. And then, at the end, one wag had suggested Keith.
That was kind of funny. I kept surfing. I kept reading.
The Boy kept saying, “Keith. That’s funny.”
I guffawed and continued searching.
“I don’t know,” he says. “I’m kinda diggin’ Keith.”
“Really,” I say. I kind of giggle. The absurdity of a fearsome, eyeless, multi-legged beast from the depths of…well the depths of the Boy’s mind. This nasty killing machine with the horrible, bowel-loosening name of…Keith.
“It’s growing on you, isn’t it?” he says. I can hear the smirk in his voice.
And, in the end, I can’t deny it.
“Yeah,” I say. “It works in some wierd way.”
“Good enough,” says the Boy, grabbing the drawing from the desk and heading out of my office. “Keith it is. Thanks, Dad!”
Behold, the awesome, knee-trembling terror of Keith, the monster.
My work here is done.