“What about this?” A tall blue-skinned man posed in front of Jerry. He modeled a pair of blue jeans with a loud yellow and blue polka dot shirt. The young boy sat on the bed and shook his head.
“That shirt’s ugly,” the boy said. “Go back to the black and white one.” The man’s shirt shifted colors. The blue polka dots turned white, and the yellow shirt became black. The boy nodded. “That looks better.” A gentle knock struck the door. “Hide!” the boy whisper-shouted at the blue man. The tall man dropped to the floor and rolled under the bed seconds before a woman walked into Jerry’s room.
“Hey Champ all set for bed?” the woman asked as she sat down next to Jerry. She pulled the heavy comforter up to tuck him in. Jerry nodded.
“Hans is going on a date tonight, he’s really excited,” the boy said.
“Oh is he?” She asked with false interest. “Did he meet her under your bed too?” Jerry shook his head.
“Nu uh. Last week I heard a noise in the closet,” Jerry pointed to the closed closet door. “…and Hans went to go check for me. It was a girl monster and they became friends.” Jerry’s mother chuckled.
“You sent the monster under your bed to check your closet for monsters?” She patted his head, and Jerry nodded. “That’s very brave of Hans, make sure you thank him for me.”
“Hans is great, I hope he wants to meet you one day. He says parents freak out when they see he’s real.” Jerry shrugged. His mother nodded.
“I know I’d be surprised to meet a tall blue man, and his blue girlfriend,” she said.
“MOOOooom.” Jerry felt a flush of embarrassment for his friend. “She’s not his girlfriend yet, they’re only going on a date. And she’s not blue. Hans said her name is Cardigan, and she has curly horns like a ram.”
“Oh? She sounds fancy, I hope Hans is dressed nicely.” Jerry nodded.
“He looks great.” Jerry’s mother stood from the bed, leaned forward and kissed his forehead, then walked out of the room. She flipped the light switch off on her way out.
“G’night, Jerry. Sweet dreams, champ. I’ll see you in the morning.”
“G’night mom!” Jerry called out as the door closed. “Okay, she’s gone.” Jerry leaned over the side then stuck his hand into the dark gap between the floor and the bottom of his bed. He felt Han’s familiar grip squeeze around his small hand and pulled the man upward out of the darkness. Instead of the white and black polka dot shirt, he now wore a full dark black tuxedo with a bow tie and everything.
“What happened to your clothes?” Jerry asked. Hans shrugged.
“Your mom was right. I wanted to dress nicer for Cardigan,” the blue man said. Jerry nodded from his bed.
“My mom’s right about a lot of things. You should meet her.” It was Hans’ turn to shake his head.
“Sorry, Jerry. Your mom said it herself. She’d be very ‘surprised’ if she met me. She doesn’t think I’m real, and it might be bad if she finds out I am.”
“So you never get to meet parents?” Jerry asked.
“Nope. Eventually, you’re going to outgrow me, and I’ll have to find some other kid’s bed to live under.” Jerry sternly shook his head.
“No. It won’t happen to me. I’ll remember you and when I have kids you can live under their bed, and I’ll believe them that you exist.” Hans walked to the bed and patted Jerry on the head.
“That’d be nice. But I’ve got too much going on tonight to worry about the future.” Hans bowed his head slightly and saluted Jerry. “Be a good boy and don’t wait up for me. I’m gonna go pick my date up.”
“Have fun!” Jerry waved at the man as he disappeared into the closet.