Don’t feed the beast
Danny was about ten years old when he first heard about the beast.
“Everyone has a beast in the basement,” his parents told him. “But the beast won’t bother you if you don’t feed it.”
“Is he scary?” Danny asked.
“Oh, yes.” his parents answered. “That is, unless you don’t feed it.”
“But if I don’t feed it, won’t it die?” Danny wondered.
“No, it never dies as long as you’re alive,” warned his parents. “It can get weaker or stronger, but it never dies.”
“But what if I just feed it a little?” he pressed.
“When you feed it a little, it grows a lot,” his parents cautioned. “The slightest amount of food can make it erupt.”
Every day they told Danny, “Never, ever feed the beast.”
But Danny was curious. One day he slipped downstairs to see the beast when his parents weren’t watching.
At first he was afraid, but his fears were quickly allayed when he saw the beast through his cage bars. “You’re not scary at all!” he said.
“Of course I’m not,” the beast responded pleasantly. “Whoever told you that?”
“My parents,” Danny said.
The beast chuckled softly. “I assure you that they are sadly mistaken.”
“And they told me I should never feed you, because if I do, you will destroy me” Danny added.
“What?!” the beast exclaimed. “That’s just silly! I wouldn’t harm a hair on your head! In fact, I want to be your friend.”
Danny was torn. He trusted his parents, but the beast seemed harmless enough. Still, he was too nervous to feed the beast.
But he was also still curious. So he continued sneaking downstairs to talk to the beast occasionally. Over time, he felt more and more comfortable with the beast.
Every time they spoke, the beast would beg him for food. Danny resisted for a few weeks, but one day he tossed some bread crumbs into the beast’s cage.
“Oh, thank you thank thank you!” the beast gushed. As he gobbled down the crumbs, Danny could see him swelling in size.
“Just as my parents told me!” Danny shouted.
“Never mind that,” came the beast’s quick reply. “You grow when you eat, too, don’t you?”
“I guess so,” Danny said.
As Danny’s initial surprise wore off, he began becoming more and more intimate with the beast and feeding him more and more.
And the beast continued growing until he was cramped in his cage. But by this time, Danny hardly noticed. In fact, when he did notice, he felt sorry for the beast.
“I wish I could let you out,” he told the beast one day.
“I’ll be out soon enough,” the beast comforted him. “And please pass me another jelly donut.”
One day, at the request of the beast, Danny brought him a humongous meal. After devouring the food, the beast promptly burst the bars on his cage, leaped on Danny, and swallowed him whole.
Danny’s last thought was his parents’ voices ringing in his ears, “Never, ever feed the beast!”