Prompt requiring: Lettuce, Happen, basket, Winter, Sister, Monster, Supper, Subject, Puppet.   Ellie looked into the bins in the refrigerator a second time. It was gone. No trace of the huge six pack of Romaine lettuce heads. She’d bought them the day before at the warehouse store, expecting them to last for the next two weeks. Derek loved salad with supper, even in the winter when lettuce was more expensive. Salad and more salad. She’d dreamed he was a giant rabbit. Twice. She glanced at the television, and her daughter sitting in front of it. She was watching one of those silly educational shows. The ones with disturbing, human size puppets that looked like something from another planet. A blue thing with purple horns was singing the alphabet. “Mackenzie, did you know what happened  to the lettuce?”she asked. “The lettuce Daddy eats?” The lettuce only Daddy eats, because everyone is so tired of lettuce. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Little bits of green stuck in his teeth, every night. Silence. The show hypnotized her. In a few minutes, her big sister would come home and switch the channel, and Ellie wouldn’t scold her. Ellie rummaged around the kitchen. She had a basket of apples. Would he eat an apple salad instead? No one made apple salad anymore. She opened the refrigerator, and checked one last time. The package was too big to miss. She slammed the door shut, and walked  into the other room. “Mackenzie, do you know what happened to the lettuce?” she said, moving between her four year old and the dancing red furry things holding huge painted numbers. “I fed it to the monster,” Mackenzie said. She tried to look around Ellie to see her show. “What is your favorite number , Mommy? My favorite number is five.” Never too young to try to change the subject. “What? What monster?” “The one in the playhouse.” “Your playhouse?” “Yes. In our playhouse. He only eats green things. He was very hungry.” Mackenzie had spent the morning in the playhouse. She hadn’t played in it alone in a while, Ellie thought. That had seemed unusual. Since Charlotte started first grade, Mackenzie had been lonely in the  playhouse.  That was natural, she’d thought. Now Mackenzie had invented an imaginary friend. Who ate lettuce just like Daddy. Ellie looked out the French doors to the backyard. It was a nice cool fall day. Derek’s blasted lettuce was probably still just fine. “You can’t give Daddy’s lettuce to monsters,” she told Mackenzie. “You should have asked me.” “He said not to tell big people he was there.” Ellie felt a twinge in her gut. “What does this monster look like?” “He’s big. Tall. He doesn’t fit on my chair.” “But he isn’t a person, is he?” “Don’t be silly, Mommy. He’s a monster.” “I’m going to get my lettuce back,” she said. “Monster or not. Daddy will want his salad.” Mackenzie shook her head. “It’s gone. He ate it.” Ellie went outside, and headed to the little white playhouse Derek had built for the girls.  “Someday it can be your potting shed,” he told her, when she protested that it was too big for the garden. He’d built a regular little house, with windows and a porch and everything. She pulled open the door. Inside, crouched on the floor, was a huge thing. She had no words to describe it. Its mouth opened, and it roared. She felt her knees buckling. “See Mommy?” said Mackenzie. “That’s the monster who wanted Daddy’s lettuce.”

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