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The Life And Death Of Carrot Monster
“How did he die?”
The words rang in my ears as I said them over the phone. I mean, I never thought that I would hear about the death of my former boyfriend, Elmo. Elmo was a nice guy and seemed to be clean overall while we were together, but we’ve been separated for over eight years and haven’t talked since. A person can change a lot in a few years, so who knows. Maybe he ended up like me: an alcoholic bum and cookie fiend, without the rehab and steady job for Muppet Studios NYC afterward. Of course, he wasn’t always like that. He was sweet, caring, and very clever. He was a comedian at the time; of course when he wasn’t funny was when we broke up. But it was amicable, I guess. “He died over an intentional drug overdose,” replied the Count, “I saw 1…2…3…4…5…6…7…23 pill bottles, all empty. I wish I knew sooner about why he would have done this. I mean, he seemed very happy…during the last few days.”
Since you might not know who The Count is, let me give you some background: he used to live down the block from me and Elmo. He was a very nosy man, very much a geek in the sense that he was obsessed with mathematics, and was always a bachelor. He still is a bachelor today; my guess is because math teachers don’t get paid much and that he counts everything. And I mean EVERYTHING from windows to seconds it takes to screw in a light bulb.
“Well, thank you for telling me about this unfortunate event; he is probably in a better place now,” I said. “Do you know when the funeral will be?”
“I’m not sure, but I think it is next Saturday. I’ll call you back when I find out when the funeral is.”
“Thanks, Count. I’ll talk to you soon.”
“Perfecto! Goodnight, Carrot Monster…and sorry for your loss.”
“My loss? It would be your loss more than anything. I mean, you knew him better toward the end.” That fact that he considered Elmo’s suicide my loss was unexpected. I mean, we were together for seven years, but didn’t talk much after the break-up. I tried to make advances to him and keep in contact, but he cut himself off from me. I wish I could have stopped him.
“Either way, I’ll call you once I find out the date and time. ‘Night, Carrot,” he said.
As I was brushing my teeth later that night, I wondered how different my life would have been if we were still together, and still in love. I started to ponder this idea, thinking of the consequences as well as what wouldn’t have happened: would Elmo have had an affair with Oscar Hidalgo? Would I be content with him, or would we fight like old times? Would we have adopted a monster, maybe a young Muppet from another country, to show them the world from a better point of view? But all of this thinking was pointless, especially since Elmo is gone now. After contemplating the situation, I peacefully fell asleep as the television was on softly, airing a re-run of “Desperate Mousewives.”
At about 2am, I jumped out of his bed and fell on the floor after a scary dream. “Honey, are you alright?” Half-asleep, I wasn’t sure where this voice came from. I thought it might have been the television, but it was turned off. Funny, I thought I left the television on, and I didn’t put the timer on the television set, so how could it turn on? The voice continued: “It must have been a bad dream. What happened? Were demon grapes attacking the pot of snickerdoodles at the end of a rainbow?” Now I was becoming very annoyed with this voice. I still wasn’t sure where it was coming from, especially in the dark. I figured someone broke in through the window, since it was open. “Who are you, and what do you want?” “Who do you think?” The lamp on the opposite nightstand was turned on as a red, furry monster lifted its head. “It’s me, silly!” the red monster replied. It must have been where the voice was coming from. “Now was it scary? Do want some milk and cookies, without the milk? Just how you like it?”
“Yes?” he replied in an almost mocking tone. He seemed to be happy, like he was while we were together.
Now I was really starting to freak out. Was this a dream, or was it a ghost? Must be a dream, but the possibilities of what was going on were endless. Were the last eight years all a dream, a really long dream? I doubt it. Was I in a coma? I don’t remember getting in an accident. I knew it wasn’t drug or cookie-related, since I’ve been clean of both for six years. “When did you get here?” I asked, filled with confusion and anger, yet almost with a hint of delight that kinda came out of nowhere. Maybe he didn’t die, maybe he’s alive!
“Since you obviously bumped your head on the nightstand, or something, I’ve been here all night, of course! Where else would I’ve been?” he replied.
“I don’t know. What year is it? How long have we been…together?” I asked. I was very curious, for this could help make sense of it all.
“It’s 2010, so that makes…fifteen years! Fifteen blissful years! Now go back to sleep!” he said. Holy crap! We might not have broken up and it’s all been a dream! But I was still skeptical, so I figured I’ll just go along with it.
“Um…I’m just gonna grab an apple and head back to bed,” I said,
“AN APPLE? I thought you hated those! Is this is a caramel apple-flavored cookie? You don’t have to lie around me, you can trust me. I don’t bite,” he replied. Oh, how I missed his sarcastic humor!
“No, not a cookie. I’ll be right back. You can go back to sleep, I’ll be fine,” I said.
“Fine, just don’t wake up the baby,” he told me.
“Oh-kay…..” I said. The thought appeared and I freaked out in side. The baby? We had a child? Might as well grab my apple and see the little monster. Utterly confused, tired, yet somewhat pleased, I grabbed a Honeycrisp apple and saw a door down the hall. I’d never seen it before, so it must be the door to the little monster’s bedroom. As I opened the door, the baby was wide awake: I heard it speaking in Latin.
“Did you ever know that cookies come in many varieties?” the baby asked. The hell? I have a talking baby?
“Yes, you do have a talking monster baby. And you’ll regret it sooner than later!” the baby replied, obviously reading my mind. It stood up with a devilish look in its eyes. The monster was kinda cute, and had soft, orange fuzz on his body. Soon, the floor opened to reveal an endless pit of fire as the little monster laughed maniacally. It was deep and hot. From this pit rose the ghost of Elmo, wearing the same pajamas he wore just a few seconds ago. So that means the Elmo in bed was a ghost, or the baby killed him with his mind, or something ridiculous like that. As I began to realize this was all a dream and figured Elmo was indeed dead already, the ghost pushed me into the flaming pit. It was hot and so bright for a while until it turned pitch black. I fell for at least ten seconds, maybe more. It was very scary, and I was freaking out, per usual by now. Was I going to die? Were these my last thoughts?
More perplexed than before, I woke up and checked the bed. No Elmo to be found. Next, I went downstairs and did not see the door leading to the baby’s room. At least now I knew that it was all in my mind. By now, it was 8am and the sun was shining in. People were out jogging with their dogs, stuffed shirts trotted down Lexington Avenue with their briefcases, and gold diggers in trendy pantsuits were seen carrying many Large Brown Bags from Bloomingdales. As I opened the door to take in some fresh air, the door opened by itself and in walked a red monster in a trench coat. The monster seemed to be Elmo….or was it his ghost? Either way I was still confused, and I am right now. I rubbed his eyes in disbelief as Elmo said, “Sorry that I wasn’t home last night; so much work! Work, work, work!”
“Ah-ha,” I said, perplexed and hysterical.
Suddenly, I was overcome with fear and started shaking. What the hell was going on? God, even though I’m not religious, why did you torture me so? I was worried that this Elmo might try to kill me, since there were no little monsters around. Out of possible defense, I grabbed a butcher knife and held it up to Elmo’s throat. I was desperate, and nervous.
“Easy there, honey.” Elmo said, nervously.
“This is a joke, right? A good-old f***ing joke? I knew you were a comedian, but this is taking it way too far! And if it is a joke or a dream, then you must be a ghost and I can kill you and you’ll be just dandy, right? Just fine, Elmo? You, who’s tortured me for hours, months, years! I thought you were dead, but that must have been a dream, too! Ha ha! Ha ha!” I was going mad, and yet I knew I was. I tried to stop myself, but I didn’t happen.
And without hesitation, I chopped off Elmo’s fuzzy head with my massive butcher knife, spurting blood all over the formerly clean, white kitchen. After his head, I began to slash his whole body, chopping him up like a piece of parsley used as a garnish on the main entrée. Even now I’m still not one-hundred percent sure why I killed him, and why so gruesomely. He didn’t do anything wrong, but I just had this feeling something bad would happen. By now I was in hysterics, almost drunk with the lack of power I had. The head rolled out of the open door and into the street, which was good so I wouldn’t feel remorse looking into his dead, open eyes. To celebrate his death, I figured I might as well open up some champagne. I drank most of it, but managed to get a lot on Elmo’s chopped up corpse. Soon, I grabbed a coat before running out the door and to a local candy shop. And so began my regression back to Cookie Monster.
Running down Lexington Avenue, half-crazed, I began to sing frantically what used to be my favorite song, “C Is for Cookie,” as I entered Dylan’s Candy Bar, famous for selling the best chocolate chip cookies in New York City. After running to the cash register, I asked how many freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies were in the store. “About 5,000 or so,” the cashier replied.
“Ten dozen for Cookie! Ha ha! Ha ha!”
“Okay, that will be $90.45 with tax.”
I snatched the crate of cookies, put it in a shopping cart, and handed the cashier a credit card. “Keep card!” I told the cashier, “buy something good for you and the wifey!” And so I returned home with the cart filled with cookies. When I brought the crate in, I noticed that Elmo’s body was not there, nor was the blood. Funny thing: I had just killed him with extreme vigor and somehow the room was pretty much clean. However, there was champagne on the floor and the coat rack had fallen over from my mad dash to find cookies. I grabbed the crate of cookies from the cart like a madman and began to devour them, nine at a time. These were my first cookies in six years, and they tasted even better after missing my taste buds. I grinded some and snorted them, dipped them in milk, put peanut butter in the middle of two cookies and formed a sandwich, and did everything possible to the cookies.
After about ninety cookies or so, a ghost of Carrot Monster, my healthy self from minutes ago, appeared and began to tell me to put the cookies down.
“Put them down NOW, Cookie!” he said. “IT’S YOUR LAST CHANCE!” Soon, cookies filled the room and I began to drown in a sea of cookies. I was going mad and confused. I was no longer human; I was an animal.
“Help me!” I shouted. “Help the Cookie Monster!” And then I awoke from yet another treacherous dream.
Startled, frantic, and more confused than ever before, I began to run around the house. I was not sure where I was, what year it was, even who I was. I tried pinched myself many times to see if I was in a dream, but it hurt. Was I finally awake? Or is this a heightened dream? The phone rang, causing a break from my manic thoughts. “VON COUNT, COUNT” the caller ID said. I picked up the phone:
“Hello?” I said as calmly as I could.
“Hey Carrot, it’s Count.”
“Hello. When is the funeral?” I felt very proper in this conversation. As awkward as it sounded, it created a nice break from these moments of pain and agony.
“Today at 2pm on Sesame Street at the Alphabet Church.”
“Great, thanks. See you there.”
“See you there.”
I hung up the phone and jumped in the shower since I only had two hours. After getting dressed and going through my daily routine, I was assured that this was real life. I felt rejuvenated and free. Around 1:30pm, I hailed a taxi cab and was off to Sesame Street.
The funeral was simple, with just a coffin, a podium, row after row of chairs, and some juice and carrots in the back. A few family members and friends sat in the chairs, some standing in the back. The church was simple, but not cheap or decrepit. The preacher, brought to us by the letter D (for death – how morbid!), spoke in a delicate manner and after a short welcome, many of my friends from the good old days made speeches about Elmo. Bert was there, with a shave unibrow and yarmulke. Apparently he became part of the Jewish faith. Ernie was there, drunk and wearing an old, torn denim jacket. Bert and Ernie were broke about two years ago, I found out later. No wonder Ernie ended up a bum like I was and Elmo must have been. Oscar the Grouch was there, wearing a bowtie and smelling like Febreze (his Sunday best), but Oscar Hidalgo was not there. I’m happy that little Latin scoundrel wasn’t there – how awkward would that have been, seeing my ex-boyfriend’s “other man in his life.’ Big Bird was there, with grayish feathers that showed his age. Mr. Snuffleupagus was there, with a trunk that was sagging more than ever. Grover wore an astronaut outfit and was speaking frenetically. Between his vocabulary and outfit choice, it’s safe to say he went off the deep end. Abby Cadabby, the new girl on the block, was wearing a revealing black cocktail dress and her long, curly hair was in a loose bun. Her make-up was smeared…maybe she had a rough day? But she would have been a friend of mine if I still lived there. The appearances of his old friends only cemented my thought that Sesame Street had taken a turn for the worst.
After most of the speeches, I made a short speech. Even though I didn’t want to, I wanted to be respectful. “Hello,” I said, “I am Carrot Monster, and I moved from Sesame Street eight years ago. Elmo and I were lovers and in a very committed relationship. We were together for seven blissful years. He will be missed, and if I wanted him to know anything as he was on his way up, it is that I still love him, and always will love him.”
And with that, I began to cry, yet I could not tell if these tears were of sadness or joy. Elmo is in a better place, or so I hoped. After the funeral, I walked up to Elmo’s casket and put in a gift: a lapel pin of an oatmeal raisin cookie, Elmo’s favorite. I left the funeral without acknowledging anyone. I wasn’t in the mood to say any more goodbyes or start over or begin new friendships. All I knew was that this would be the last time I would ever go to Sesame Street and the last time I would see many of these dear old friends. When I got home, I saw Elmo’s ghost in my kitchen one last time. It said, calmly yet tearfully: “Goodbye, Cookie. I love you. Take care of yourself.” We shared a long, passionate hug until he vanished into thin air, accompanied by blinding light. I was heartbroken, more than ever before. Then, I heard ominous music and the shadow of the demon baby monster appeared. All of the sudden, I began to melt, like the Wicked Witch of the West. And with that, I woke up from my last haunting dream. I was confused, angry, sad, peaceful, crazed, hungry, and depressed all at the same time. This was the weirdest dream of all time.
“You okay, honey?” a voice asked as me woke up, screaming. “Elmo?” he said.
“What year is it?”
“2001. Why is that important? What’s important is if you’re okay.”
“I’m fine, don’t worry. My dreams were just perplexing, that’s all.”
“Okay, now go back to sleep, Cookie. It’s all in your mind.” Or was it? The next morning I saw a cart from Dylan’s Candy Bar in the kitchen, as well as champagne on the floor.