It was 3AM when Minion #13 was awakened by the shouts of the Yeti as he ran chaotically down the hall: “Eight! Eight weeks left ‘till Scarefest! Ah Ah Ah!”. The Yeti had recently discovered Sesame Street, and apparently had become enamored of the Count. Minion #13 rolled his head to the side as the cries shook the bed frames, and caught the eye of Minion #18 as she stared wide-eyed over the top of her blankets. He tried to smile comfortingly, and was rewarded for his efforts by a small squeal and the eyes disappearing under the covers. He sighed and pulled himself out of bed. Minion #18 was particularly timid, even for a Minion. She would continue to lay under the blankets, shivering and sniffling, until the Yeti was convinced to quiet down. And of the 25 Minions currently living in the compound, he was definitely the only one who was willing to take on that task.
The compound was not exactly a cheery place at the best of times. 3AM was definitely not the best of times. The concrete floors were icy even now, in late summer. The walls were grey cinderblock. Even the ceiling was grey. And the flickering fluorescent lights in the hallways always managed to ratchet the endless greyness up to something genuinely horror movie scale, with anything from serial killers to giant insects seeming wholly appropriate. Minion #13 was used to it. He followed the sound of the Yeti’s voice (“Twelve! Twelve packs of Twinkies! Ah Ah Ah!”) into the break room. There, his back to the door, the Yeti was busily emptying the snack cabinet, lining all the different types of snacks up in rows on the counter, carefully organizing them so that their labels all pointed the same direction. And counting.
“Five! Five bags of potato chips! Ah Ah Ah!” crowed the Yeti, throwing his head back for the final laugh. He’s really into this, thought Minion #13. Dammit.
“Er…Yeti,” he began tentatively, but realized immediately that he would have to speak much more loudly, as the Yeti had already begun counting packs of gummy bears, “Excuse me!” he shouted as loudly as possible, and the Yeti jerked around, arms swinging wildly, knocking over a chair and scattering pre-packaged snack foods across the floor.
“Gah!” screamed the Yeti, wild-eyed. And then he slumped back against the counter in relief. “You shouldn’t sneak up on Yeti like that. You super scared me.”
“I’m sorry,” Minion #13 replied in normal tones, “but you woke everyone up again with the counting. I really need you to not count so loudly in the middle of the night. Please.” He smiled encouragingly.
The Yeti’s big, blue eyes immediately filled up with tears. “But…I love counting,” he wailed, packets of gummy bears tumbling unheeded from his hands, “Counting makes everything better. There are just piles of things, and then you count them and they aren’t just piles anymore. Counting makes them mean something.”
Two large tears rolled over the bottom eyelids and tracked down the fur on his cheeks. Minion #13 gulped. He had never been good with tears.
“I’m not saying you have to stop counting, Yeti. I just need you to do it very quietly if you’re doing it at night, OK? The rest of us are trying to sleep, and we can’t sleep when you count loudly.”
“Hilda’s not sleeping,” the Yeti responded sulkily, “and the Paperwork Monsters aren’t sleeping, and Freddie and Michaela and Jason aren’t sleeping…”
Minion #13 interrupted, “Hilda sleeps during the day because she’s a vampire and she also doesn’t count because she has a practically soundproof room under the entire complex, and the Paperwork Monsters never sleep because they’re made of paper, and I’m pretty sure you have no idea about Freddie, Michaela, and Jason, because who the hell can tell when goldfish are sleeping? But you know who else isn’t sleeping?! The Minions! And we were sleeping until you came screaming along the hallway!”
The Yeti stood very still and very quiet for a moment, his bottom lip trembling. And then he bolted out of the room, a quavering howl following him along the hallway and into the darkness. “I didn’t mean…” Minion #13 began, starting to follow. But then he stopped, his head hanging and his hands dropping uselessly to his sides. Shit. He would never be able to catch up. And now the Yeti would be out running around the woods all night, and have a coat full of pine needles and burrs when he came in. He’d have to say he was sorry and try to make it up to him.
With a deep sigh, Minion #13 began replacing the snacks in the cabinet. He made sure all their labels pointed the same way.