Lester Krasse was freaking out.  It was nearly eleven,  and he was still scrambling to get his Monster Mart presentation together. The former Disney artist he hired had just delivered the drawings. Krasse nodded with satisfaction and placed them on an easel. About an hour later, he finished typing his scripts, and then broke for the deli across the street. He scarcely had time for a quick pastrami sandwich and coffee before racing back to nervously await the arrival of Malcolm D. Monster and his marketing director, Jerry Peterson.

Forty-five minutes later, they strolled into the office. Monster Mart’s C.E.O. wore crisp denim jeans, a tan western jacket and light blue shirt with a bolo tie made of turquoise and silver. His tummy hung down over an oversize silver belt buckle, and the cowboy boots he wore looked to Krasse like snakeskin. Mr. Monster shook the ad man’s hand, and when he removed his Stetson, revealed himself to be a balding executive in his fifties. “Let’s get on with this!” he grumbled. “We don’t have all day!”

“We’re due at a trade show over at the Monterey Conference Center,” Peterson explained. “Can you hurry this up?” The nervous, hunted look in his pale blue eyes was magnified by the thick glasses he wore. 

“I understand completely,” Krasse replied. “Now, if you’ll be seated, gentlemen, I’ve got several concepts to run by you.”

His first commercial was for a grand opening and featured a vampire rising from a coffin. “He’s saying: ‘Velcome to za grand opening of Monster Mart,’” Krasse recited in his best Bela Lugosi voice. 

“Yuck!!” Mr. Monster shuddered. “Too gruesome.”

“Hey, no problem! Check this out!” The second storyboard showed an extraterrestrial landing its interplanetary craft at Monster Mart. “He’s come for savings that are out of this world! What do you think?”

Jerry Peterson shook his head. “Too far out for me.”

Mr. Monster studied his watch and a wave of panic shot through Krasse’s stomach. Then the executive looked up and stared hard at the ad man. “We want something big, Krasse. I mean REALLY BIG! Something with tremendous appeal.”

Krasse held up drawings of a cartoon Frankenstein monster lurching through Monster Mart with a cart full of groceries. “This is IT! Everybody loves those old ‘Frankenstein’ movies!” He pointed to the mad doctor in the background. “It’s alive!“ he goes. “IT’S ALIVE! Monster Mart is ALIVE with savings!”

Peterson removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. “This stuff really sucks. Sorry I wasted your time, Malcolm.”

Mr. Monster nodded grimly. “Frankly, we hoped for something much more creative. Something with lots more punch! Something completely new for Monster Mart. Now, I like the idea of a strong monster character for our store logos.” 

“Yeah,” chimed in the marketing director. “Like that frog in those Croaker Cola commercials.” Mr. Monster nodded. “That’s the ticket! Can you show us anything like that?”

Krasse smiled lamely. “Not exactly.” A trickle of sweat dribbled down his left armpit. Mr. Monster motioned it was time to go. “But– you can’t leave now!” Krasse pulled down the Frankenstein artwork for the next, when a loud crash and the sound of breaking glass startled them.

The room shook violently. The easel and artwork toppled to the floor. There were screams from downstairs. Again, the  building  shuddered.

“Earthquake!” Peterson yelled.

  Out the window a young man scrambled up the fire escape.

“What in blazes is going on?” growled Malcolm D. Monster.

A gigantic scaly green paw grabbed up after the fleeing figure. The room shook again. Plaster and lath fell from the ceiling. A portion of one wall broke away and Krasse dived under his desk to avoid being crushed. “Now that’s what I call a terrific promotional idea!”  he heard Mr. Monster exclaim. “This I love!”

Krasse peeked out from the desk just in time to see an enraged Tyrannosaurus Rex pursue the terrified young man to the rooftop.

“GREAT STUFF!” sighed Mr. Monster with sincere admiration in his voice.

“Incredible special effects!” gasped the marketing director. 

A section of the ceiling broke away and cascaded down onto the desk. Through the gaping hole, Krasse could see the creature as it eyed the diminutive object of its pursuit; a teenager with light brown hair. Krasse had the feeling he knew him from somewhere.

“Dynamite presentation, Krasse!” enthused Malcolm D. Monster. “And what a stunt! It’s perfect! When can we get commercials with your dinosaur on the air?”

Krasse was coughing with the dust. “I, uh… we…” he stammered while collecting his thoughts. “Look, Mr. Monster, I– I–”

Mr. Monster beamed. “From now on, you call me Malcolm,” he commanded.

The ad man sneezed from all the dust, and his silver gray mustache bristled comically. He crawled out from under the desk and joined them at the window. 

“Honestly, Malcolm– that dinosaur’ll cost you and arm and a leg. Wouldn’t you rather have our animated Frankenstein monster? We can do that for peanuts! What do you say?”

Mr. Monster clapped the confused ad man on the shoulder. “That’s not gonna do it for us. But that dinosaur is perfect for our grand opening campaign. Anything else would be, well, quite ordinary, you see. So, it’s that dinosaur or nothing… and you’ll get your million dollar contract with us, Lester!”

“Million dollar contract?”

“Allright! Allright! I’ll go two million, but you better deliver! No dinosaur, no contract!”


  Episode 5  Operation Beast Buster!


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