Dear Kindertrauma team,
My name is Marc Hendriks and I’m the author of the anthology Monstruos. This is my traumafession:
Now, for the first time, I am bringing to you the full story of what happened on that fateful day in 1985, when I was eight years old. My friends, I cannot keep this a secret any longer.
Back in the swinging eighties, I was known by peers and relatives alike as a spineless momma’s boy. Eager to rid myself of that stigma and to be thenceforth known as a tough guy, I boldly stepped into my BFFW’s (Best Friend For a While) bedroom and demanded to be shown his copy of a magazine devoted to MICHAEL JACKSON’s Thriller video. My buddy reluctantly obliged, warning me that the pictures in the magazine might prove too much for me. Obstreperously waiving his concerns, I grabbed the magazine from his hands, opened it at a random page, and was confronted with a photo of MICHAEL JACKSON transforming into the werecat.
All color drained from my face and I tossed the magazine out of the window. Those teeth, those yellow eyes…it was too much for me, all right. Way, way too much. Gone were the thoughts of wanting to be a tough guy, born to be bad. I bolted for the door, screaming for my mom as fresh salty tears trickled down my cheeks.
My bemused friend not only had to physically support me on my way home, but also endure repeated cries of “I’m hallucinating! I’m seeing the JACKSON werecat behind that tree/that lamppost/that car!”
When my mom answered the door for us, her first reaction to the sorry state I was in consisted of an indignant “Have you been giving my son alcohol?!”
I let my friend take care of the explaining, ran up the stairs and hid under my bed; surely, the JACKSON werecat wouldn’t be able to get me there.
The next day at school, I learned that my friend’s pinky swear to keep things under wraps had been superseded by the enormous LOL-potential of my mental undoing. Every kid who owned a copy of the Thriller magazine brought it to school after lunch break, waving it in my face in the hope I’d turn on the sprinklers again. I didn’t, for the harmless picture couldn’t match the sheer terror of the JACKSON werecat I’d encountered in my nightmares the night before.