This awesome guy/duck/puppet did not give me nightmares.
When you're a kid, the world is an unbelievably scary place. This is mostly due to it being full of people who are taller than you who expect you to unequivocally do what they say without question, regardless of how stupid their request may be. Like the time that my grandma got upset with me for not running along a busy railway platform, but then again my grandma always had little awareness and understanding of boundaries and personal safety issues. Anyway, when you're a kid, the world can be a pretty scary place. And what is even scarier is that, sometimes, you do not even have to leave your own bedroom, that supposedly safe, warm sanctuary that has the poster of a smiling Winky Dink on the wall. And while my bedroom may have been free of monsters who lived under the bed or in the wardrobe, which differed from those of some of my friends, there was another terrible, sinister force at work, ready to unleash hell and torment at any given opportunity.
There was a skeleton, a living, breathing human skeleton, who used to tap on my bedroom window and try to get inside.
|A Holden Sandman, like the one Skelly Skellington owned.|
I don't quite know when the nightmares started, I probably had not even started school, but this complete bastard haunted me for a good chunk of my childhood. Initially, the skeleton just tapped on my bedroom window and tried to get inside, but after a while, the dreams became more detailed. The skeleton would pull up in our family driveway in a brown Datsun Sunny and it would go its best to get inside my bedroom. (To do what, I do not know.) As time wore on, the scenario became more and more complex. Sometime, probably about the time I was nine or ten, the skeleton had developed a full blown personality. It turned out that the skeleton was a he, his full name was Skelly Skellington and he had recently traded in his Datsun Sunny for a yellow Holden Sandman which he liked to drive around to random homes in Adelaide for the specific purpose of frightening the children who lived there. During the day, he worked as a motor mechanic at a garage in Lonsdale, so that he would have enough money to pay for petrol so that he could carry out his terrible deeds in the evening.
But as far as my family were concerned, I was having nightmares about a skeleton who liked to randomly tap on my bedroom window. Sometimes everyone felt sorry for me, sometimes it was a bloody nuisance and there were times when my brothers (who were both a lot older than me,) used to think it was hilarious and if he was angry enough with me for something, Damien would run outside and tap on my bedroom window. Another time, Damien gave me a rock with a smiley face on it which he promised kept nightmares away, so I suppose that he did feel a bit sorry for me.
Anyway, I can still remember the last time I ever dreamed about Skelly Skellington. I was probably about eleven years old--well and truly old enough to know the difference between fact and fantasy--and I remember hearing some advice about confronting your fears. I made up my mind that next time I dreamed about Skelly, I was going to confront him. Inevitably, I had another nightmare, Skelly started his little tap and dance and ...
I raised my middle finger.
Eight years of nightmares (or thereabouts) and all it took to get rid of my object of fear was to give it the finger.
Skelly Skellington took one look at me, screamed and ran straight back to his Holden Sandman and drove away. I have never seen him since, though rumour has it that he has now retired and is currently living in a penthouse apartment in Flinders Street ...