Excerpt from the nonfiction piece “One for the Board (My Life as a Cascio)”
Some of my earliest memories include putting on puppet shows in giant refrigerator boxes in our family’s basement in Wichita, Kansas. The basement was where the Lint Man lived. Also living with us in the house were Crab Man, Angry Robot Man, Alligator Man and Mr. Hand. All of these were characters my father came up with that he used when he wanted me and my older sister to do as we were told. Crab Man, Angry Robot Man and Alligator Man all followed the same basic principle. My father would don the character’s respective voice and then chase us to our rooms when it was time to go to bed, both screaming and laughing at the same time. Often, when we got to our room we would lock our door. When he convinced us to let him in, my father would tell us a bedtime story. It was always the same story. He would begin with his voice gentle. “Let me tell you the story”, then he would take on a deep and demonic tone as he flicked the light switch off “of the Bloody Eye!” My sister and I would scream.
When my father would get ready to finish his bedtime routine he would say to us, “Goodnight, don’t let the spiders bite.” We would scream then he would reply, “Nah, I’m only kidding. There are no spiders, the rats ate them.” We would scream again. “Nah, I’m just kidding, the snakes ate them.” Then he would step out into the hall and close the door behind him, leaving my sister and me screaming giddily in the dark. We screamed mostly for fun and out of excitement because this happened nearly every night and we knew to expect it. Yet, my father still thinks I was being ridiculous when I went through a brief period in my childhood when I thought I heard voices inside the walls. I just think it’s a miracle I’m not an axe murderer.