's 2013 Horror Write-off:

" Problem Child "

Submitted by Izzy Winchester With sincerest thanks to Crankbox Sounds

The Problems Man has always been nice to me. Even before the Best Thing.

When he was there at my birthday, he was better than anyone at stopping my mommy from crying. He didn't have to stop Daddy, because Daddy doesn't cry, but once he was there, my mommy didn't cry at all, and not after he was gone either. I'm not supposed to remember, because I was so little and the lights were so bright and hot, but I do. I remember what he was like, and I remember how it snowed when Daddy took me away in the car. I remember how he was happy in the snow and I was happy too, and it was the only birthday but it was the best, because when he was there, no one cried at all.

I had forgotten him by the next time I saw him, and that makes me feel sad, but I know he understands. I know he understands because he always understands me.

Daddy brought him because I made my bed Filthy every night. I was afraid that he would shout like Daddy shouted, and I cried, but the Problems Man got down on his knees so he wasn't so tall, and he smiled at me, and he said he understood. He said he knew it wasn't my fault, and that he would make it better.

And he did! I couldn't mess up the sheets while I was asleep because I had to be awake to untangle the wires. Nothing came out at all as long as they were tight. I could even go for a long time during the day without having to be a Filthy child, and that helped me do more Chores. I felt so proud and grown-up, and the Problems Man smiled and so did Daddy. Daddy told him that what he did would be useful down the road God forbid his saying it but That Kid. I was glad that the Problems Man was so nice to me to give me so many gifts at once.

I saw the Problems Man lots more soon while I did Chores, and he always smiled at me, even when he wasn't there to see me. He came a lot because other Daddies had much Filthier children than me, and he was always needing to fix them. He worked really hard, even harder than the Good Kids, and whenever he left after a long day, there was no crying at all. He brought special mushy food for the fixed children when they needed it, so they didn't even have to undo anything because the holes were big enough. I was glad I didn't have to eat the yellow stuff, because of the way the fixed kids looked at my regular food. I wished they didn't do that. I did want to see the Problems Man again, though, just for my own self. I was selfish sometimes then.

Soon, though, there was a new machine and it was Loud, Loud, Loud. I had to cover my ears because it hurt so bad. Daddy brought the Problems Man again, and I smiled this time instead of crying, because I knew he was going to be kind to me.

And he was! He smiled, just like before, and he said he understood. He said he knew it wasn't my fault, and that he would make it better. He was right, because he doesn't lie. The very next day I was doing Chores better than ever, because it was so quiet. Sometimes I had to cover the one ear that wasn't all quiet, and I wished he had made them both the same, but I knew I had to listen to Daddy, and anyway I could use my other hand to work.

I don't like to think about the part before the Best Thing. I was so Bad. I was the worst Filthy child. I was bad and dumb, I wasn't Thinking Right and Flying Straight and I
I ran away I was so Bad and Filthy I'm sorry I did that. I hope you know I mean it that I was sorry for being so so Bad.

I was Outside cold and Outside dirty and Very Filthy when the Problems Man found me , and I was crying because even though I said I was sorry and I was sorry and I was sorry, I thought he wouldn't forgive me.

I was so stupid! He smiled and he wiped away my tears, and he told me I was very special. He told me that even though I had been very, very Bad, he would make it better, because that's what he does. He's the Problems Man!

The Problems Man took my hand, and he led me for a long time. He was very kind and patient in being slow so I didn't have to catch up too much, and when my feet got tired, he told me how Good I was being by not stopping. It took a long, long time, but he led me to the best place I'd ever seen, so cool and damp. And after he closed the door, he sat me down on a table and let me rest while he talked to me.

He explained that this was a special place for special kids like me, who had been so Bad that he needed his very own workshop to fix them. He explained that sometimes animals ran away like I did, and that I shouldn't feel bad because animals need even more fixing than kids sometimes! And he explained that I shouldn't worry, because he was very, very used to fixing running-away Problems.

And that's when he did the Best Thing!

Now, my life is the happiest ever, just because the Problems Man is so so nice. I don't have to do any Chores at all, and my feet don't hurt because they never touch the ground! I never feel dizzy because my back is twisted up like a candy cane and holds me so snug and close in place.

And there are children! So many children! And they're almost all Good children, and they all love me! They run to see me and they smile and they laugh, and they stroke my hair and pat my back to make me go faster. They love my colors, and they love my music, and they yell and shout, and if it's not too late and I'm not too tired, I always make sure to try to go up as high as I can so they can grab the ring and stay with me a little longer. I watch us go by in place in all the mirrors, and they're always smiling and waving and laughing.

Sometimes, though, they aren't happy to see me. They hold on too tight to the hands of their mommies or Daddies , and they don't want to climb up onto my back, and they burst into tears and scream and kick and want to go home.

And that's when I'm happiest of all, is when those Filthy little children come around, because I know that other Daddies can bring the Problems Man. He can fix anything.

And he will!