2011-02-17 / Sam Bari

The boogieman in the closet

You can’t beat a system you can’t understand
By Sam Bari

Remember the movie “The Exorcist?” It was a horror film about Regan, a prepubescent girl who was allegedly possessed. Some have said the possessor was the demon, an entity so frightening that most will not even utter its name.

Occasionally, the 1973 film plays on television, and it still scares the living daylights out of anyone who watches it. I saw it as a young adult, and I had nightmares for weeks.

Child actress Linda Blair played the part of Regan, and anyone who has seen the movie will agree that she was uncannily convincing. So was the demon.

I have always wondered how a young girl could play that role and expect to be normal afterwards.

Anyway, there was a scene near the beginning of the movie where noises were coming from the closet in Regan’s bedroom. It was the first sign that something was amiss in the house where she was living.

I have heard those noises coming from the closet in my bedroom. It happened at my house in Florida, and I still have nightmares about it.

Mind you, I keep my bedroom closet door closed. When I was a child, the monsters in all the horror movies always hung out in the closet. I was certain that I would wake up to see two red eyes peering back at me in the dark if I left my closet door opened so much as a crack.

That never happened, because I am diligent to this day about keeping bedroom closet doors closed.

Nonetheless, I was sleeping soundly, when I awoke to the sound of scratching and rattling inside the closet. This was not good.

I turned on the lamp next to the bed and the noise stopped. I suspected that I was dreaming, so I left the lamp on and attempted to go back to sleep. Couldn’t do it. The noise started again.

This time, clad only in my underwear, I grabbed the baseball bat that I also kept next to the bed and approached the closet door.

The noise seemed to be coming from the top of the closet. I slowly opened the door and looked up. The light from the little lamp refl ected on two eyes staring at me from the closet ceiling.

My heart seized. I stared back and the thing hissed at me. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I could see what it was. It was a raccoon the size of a small Kodiak Grizzly. Well, it was at least the size of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I bravely slammed the closet door shut and locked it so my prey could not escape. Then I called the Fort Lauderdale version of Billy the Exterminator.

He said, “Buddy, It’s 3 o’clock in the morning. Sure. I’ll come out, for 300 bucks. You could save yourself a lot of money by calling the police station and asking for animal control, or call me after 9 a.m.” Then the phone went dead.

So I called the police station and the man from animal control said, “I’ll send someone out with a trap.” I said, “No, no, you don’t understand. I want it removed, or killed.”

The animal control guy said, “Yeah, we’ll remove it as soon as you trap it. It’s against the law to kill ‘em. They have to be trapped.”

There was no way I was going to crawl up in the attic with a trap and face Arnold Schwarzencoon all by myself. So I called the exterminator guy.

While I was on the phone with animal control, I think Arnold called the exterminator guy and offered him more money to have me removed.

When he answered the phone, he was not pleasant. “You don’t get it, do ya? I don’t wanna come out. Go someplace else until morning if you’re scared, cause I’m not comin’ out for less than $400.”

I said, “I’ll pay.”

He showed up with a trap, went up to the attic and said, “There’s a family up here.” Arnold was actually Arnelda Schwarzencoon. She had four babies and they all had to be caught. He took three hours and charged me $500.

Then I had to pay another guy an additional $500 to fix the roof where Arnelda had chewed her way in.

I should have called an exorcist. Noises in the closet have always been a part of this system that I can’t understand.

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