Don’t Feed After Midnight


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Jerry Goldsmith¬†“Gremlins Soundtrack Suite”



Most people are either cat people or dog people. It’s a little like the Mario and Sonic debate; you’re expected to favor one and hate the other’s guts. I don’t make the rules but I do play by them; always been fond of the latter and, considering we have one at home it should be no great revelation. I’m speaking of a family dog, not Sonic, in case you wondered. For the record, I’ve always been more of a Mario man myself. Sonic is all “get to the chopper” and no finesse, whereas that ditzy plumber at least slows down on occasion to take in the sunshine. It’s a shame he dresses like Jobe from The Lawnmower Man and sports such a ridiculous mustache but I guess nobody’s perfect, even one made of pixels. Anyhoots, the fact is, I had no intention of looking after another family pet.


Alas, my dear deluded father had other ideas. On Christmas Eve, during his commute home from work, he decided to pay a visit to Chinatown and procure me an extra special gift for the festivities. After tracking down a vintage antique store just off the beaten track, he managed to talk the store owner’s son into selling him a rather exclusive gift. I know for a fact that dad struggles to find something unique for a Christmas present as, being an inventor himself, he would normally dream up some new-fangled contraption for the festivities. The problem is, they’re all flawed, everything he makes invariably malfunctions and, despite his brave face, I think he knows only too well that whatever he builds will have given up the ghost by Boxing Day. This year he wanted to think outside of the box and, credit to the old fella, he sure did outdo himself on this occasion.


Gizmo was admittedly downright adorable; I fell in love with the little Mogwai the moment he peeked out of the hamper and instantly my heart melted in its roll cage. He was cute, fuzzy, and loved nothing more than to be snuggled; indeed you could say he was the ideal pet. He won me over with his large emotive eyes and pointed ears, thus I gave him pride of place in my bedroom and sparked up a special friendship which we both felt the warm glow from. Dad did warn me about a couple of specific don’ts; never expose him to bright light, especially direct sunlight which would kill him instantly, don’t get him wet, and by absolutely no means feed him after midnight no matter how much he pleads or cries out for such. Seemed like a fairly simple laundry list to me; nothing there which would cause me any real heartache.


I invited my friend Pete over to meet my new BFF and he was mesmerized. The only thing left to do was to introduce Gizmo to my soon-to-be-girlfriend Kate; she would simply adore the cute little blighter as she loves anything fluffy and it may well have sealed the deal between us. However, before I could drop her a line, something unforeseen occurred and the proverbial cat was released from its bag. A glass of spilled water started the problems; causing little Gizmo to begin convulsing wildly and produce five new affiliates, all of which popped from his fur like petulant pustules. Although they were clearly his descendents, their temperament couldn’t have been more polar opposite. They were a tad impish if I’m honest; not what you would call model pets. I managed to round them up and cage the little hellspawn while I considered my next move; although it was getting late and there wouldn’t be much I could do on Christmas Eve so I figured I could give them a home for one night at least. Bad move! In the history of bad moves, this made Tom Cruise leaping like a salmon on Oprah’s couch seem positively astute.


The little punks chewed through my alarm clock power cord, resetting the display and bamboozling me into believing it wasn’t yet midnight. When I awoke from my forty winks, I decided that feeding time was nigh and unwittingly prepared them the snack they craved. Hungry little monsters finished it in no time and I returned to sleep safe in the knowledge that I was the model owner, unaware that I had inadvertently accelerated their metamorphosis. By morning, my room had become a breeding ground of sorts and I was surrounded by enough web-encrusted cocoons to make Jessica Tandy’s ovaries seem positively youthful. One Mogwai is rather delightful but all manner of cantankerous cretins, none of which shared Gizmo’s kindness of spirit, was entirely another. One of them, in particular, troubled me particularly. I named him Stripe on account of his notable white quiff and the fact that he appeared to act as ringleader for his associates. Things were beginning to spiral out of control.


Needless to say, Stripe riled up the troops and they inaugurated their prison break, leaving me desperately trying to concoct a plan for coercing them back in their cells. You see, within an hour or these scoundrels being unleashed, the whole of Kingston Falls had become overrun by rampaging rascals the likes of which had the sole intention of throwing countless spanners in the works. Worse still, I was left on clear-up duties. It only seemed fair as it was my carelessness that encouraged this whole mess in the first place. I’m twenty one years old, still living with my parents, haven’t got the cahones to ask Kate out on a date for fear that she will rebuff my advances, and this was my opportunity to stand up and be counted. Alas, my opposite numbers located the nearest swimming baths before I could so much as zip up my duffle coat.


I felt really bad for Kate. Poor girl despises Christmas and has done ever since her father perished in the family chimney stack when she was barely a child whilst impersonating Saint Nick. But I needed assistance if I was to stand any chance whatsoever of halting a catastrophe and figured that, at least, it would take her mind off the festivities. If all went to plan, I would reveal myself as some kind of local hero, and have one hand up her lamb’s wool sweater before she could say “cast your eye over these bauballs.” Being the all-American kid has its drawbacks; most notably the fact that everyone believes me to be some kind of eunuch. In reality I was as every bit as hot-blooded as the next man and had a stash of Hustlers propping up my bed frame to attest to my philandering mind. It was only natural that I would be afforded a chance to practice sex with a real woman at some point, and these disastrous events could well end up bringing Kate and I closer together.


If it all sounds good on paper then I can assure you that it wasn’t that way in practice. Gizmo may well have been rather delightful but the same couldn’t be said for his belligerent brood. Stripe led from the front like a scaly Hitler and his subjects all flocked around him like sheep, doing his dastardly work and generally wrecking havoc. My own mother almost fell foul to their skullduggery and cranky crab Mrs Deagle from down the way wasn’t so fortunate. E.T. himself would have been proud of her trajectory as her stair lift took her on a one-way trip to the heavens. As much as I don’t wish harm on another; even I have to admit that she looked downright hilarious as she rocketed forth from our atmosphere in her electrically-charged throne. Old bat did kinda have it coming; I guess you could say that it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. But as much as this gave me brief respite from the escalating anguish; it still didn’t solve the hundred-or-so problem children currently whittling down my community.


Kate was nothing if not plucky and resourceful. Most girls her age would’ve filled the back of their panties at the prospect of taking on such a motley crue but, to her eternal credit, she gave me her word that she would remain by my side unerringly. She was definitely a keeper and, after this was all done and dusted, I had every intention of trying for second base. She kept her breasts well covered at all times, particularly in the winter months, but I knew they were there beneath the cloth, writhing around and just asking for a kneading. This was my mess and she could’ve washed her hands of me but, instead, she pledged her allegiance to the cause and strode off downtown with me as we attempted to tackle our gremlin friends. We took Gizmo with us to help us scout for intelligence although this was something our antagonists apparently lacked. While Stripe was something of a criminal mastermind, the others were like moths to a flame. It would be required for us to even the odds before attempting to foil their leader and, after such a shitty Christmas day, I was more than ready to be the one doing the pruning.


They had commandeered our local tavern and I already knew they couldn’t handle their liquor so we made that our first stop. Anyone foolish enough to drink there that day had already been granted an exclusive lock-in and dead bodies were strewn about akin to festive decorations. At least six of them made an instant B-line for Kate and she proved that she had the smarts to outfox every last one of them. Midway through her stint at the bar she offered me a cocktail although I thought better of knocking it back as it was a little too toxic green for my liking and far too chunky. Instead I watched on in awe; fast becoming Kate’s bitch as I watched her make short work of them. After that, we made off down to the local movie theater and, true to form, they had already snuck in the back entrance. It has always been a personal bugbear of mine; folk going to the pictures just to hurl popcorn and abuse. There’s not a teenager in existence who could hold a candle up to Stripe and his cronies; they weren’t the slightest bit interested in watching the main feature as rampaging was just too much dang fun.


What was worse was just how impressionable they were. Everything they witnessed on the big screen just made them all the more rambunctious and, considering they had found a late-night screening of Bachelor Party to crash, things got X-rated before we knew it. I was looking for a coke-nuzzling mule or a gentleman named Nick with his schlong in a Hot Dog bun and I’m fairly positive that, had we stuck around, we may well have been afforded a reenactment. We left them to it, turned on the gas in the theater’s cellar and bolted before the inevitable big bang. Unfortunately for us, our opposite numbers had rather enjoyed the scene where Rick drives a school bus straight through the wall of a movie house, and decided to recreate the set piece. Considering his pitiful attention span, behind the wheel of a gargantuan gas-guzzler wasn’t the best place for Stripe to place his bony little ass. I’m fairly certain that, had be been pulled up and breathalyzed, he would have failed miserably. Actually, just getting him blow into the pipe would likely have been a colossal undertaking in itself.


Stripe did all the steering while his Gremlin chums operated the pedals and seemed to enjoy gas the most. One sidestep and we just watched them rocket past at maximum horsepower; straight down the high street, clipping cars and mounting curbs all the way. I guessed they were somebody else’s problem now although not for long as they headed directly for the nearest ravine and plummeted over the edge of the clifftop like Thelma and Louise, minus the head scarves. Finally the threat had subsided and life in Kingston Falls could begin to return to normal once more. The population had taken something of a knock, thus I decided the best course of action was for Kate and I to procreate. We made our way to the nearest motel and started dry-humping straight away, while Gizmo observed our horizontal antics from the dresser with eyes wide. Turns out he likes to watch; as cute as me may be, he couldn’t resist copping an eyeful of us writhing around in ecstasy. It must’ve been exhausting for the little fella as he looked parched after my umpteenth stroke and stopped for a glass of water. Now, what were those rules again? Never mind, I’ve got to finish strongly.








  1. What a great movie! I was totally stunned when I saw it as a kid. I thought it would be a cute adventure but it had some really chilling stuff in it. (At least to my 11 year-old eyes it was chilling. Haven’t seen it in a long, long time.)

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