Danny hoped his annoyance didn’t show too much as he tried to comfort his crying child. “What happened to your teacup, honey?”
“The monster broke it,” Ava sobbed.
“Oh a monster, huh?” Danny replied, jaw tensing. “Well did you tell the monster that we have to be extra careful with your china tea set?”
“I tried,” she said, sniffling, “but—but—but—”
Danny finally softened at the tears, recognizing that whatever had happened, his daughter was in genuine distress. “Alright sweetheart, go sit on the couch and calm down while I clean up the rest of your tea party.”
“B-but—but the monster!”
“Don’t worry,” he called out over his shoulder, “I can handle a—” But then he saw it.
Blue feathers, a scaly tail, a party hat resting between curved horns. The monster messily gobbled up a cucumber sandwich they had skewered on their claw. “What did your dad—oh . . .” they trailed off, locking eyes with Danny.
“You . . .”
The monster hastily wiped crumbs from their maw and said, “Yeah . . . sorry about the plate.”
“It’s . . . okay . . .” he mumbled. “We got them from a thrift store.”
“Right on,” they answered. “Oh, and tell Ava she makes a kickass cup of Darjeeling.”
* * *
Story by Gregory M. Fox