My dad invented this system of lies to make me fear the air vents in our house with all my life. Every night when I was four or five, before I went to bed, I would lay on my parents' waterbed and he would either read me David Letterman's Top Ten Lists from the book or he told me a story about the people who live in the air vents.

There was the Boogie Man (every kid knew this one), Mr. Peebles, and Frita. I suppose my dad got the idea for Mr. Peebles from Peebles department store. I imagined the Boogie Man to be a large surly man, 6'6", 250 lbs., lots of body hair. To me, Mr. Peebles were a brown business suit with leather shoes and a dark brown hat like Indiana Jones'. And Frita was Hispanic and had a fruit basket on her head at all times.

According to my dad, these people lived together and watched me through the air vents. This only scared me when I was in my parents' room however. My room was safe from their world. Frita and Mr. Peebles were having a problem where they wanted to form a relationship, although it wasn't happening (much like Ross and Rachel on Friends). The three of them had complex matters taking place and the Boogie Man was actually working as a hit man and was into some sort of domestic violence with Frita. Frita was being pressured to come down and attack me, but Mr. Peebles wouldn't stand for it.

My mom never knew about these stories; sometimes I wonder if they were an allegory to something real in my dad's life...

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