The Monster Songs Lyrics

All lyrics © 2016 by Toby Mulford

  1. The Stomp-Kick Waltz
  2. Barbara
  3. Gingerbread
  4. Trolls
  5. The Ballad of Johnny Roller and the Bones
  6. Faces in the Rye
  7. The Pharaoh’s Croon
  8. Stay with me Tonight

The Stomp-Kick Waltz

Daddy was giant and radioactive:
He rose like a tidal wave out of the sea.
They called him a monster, the terror of nations,
Scourge of the cities; still Daddy to me.

We watched in the den as he made the news nightly.
(He wasn’t that big on our twelve-inch TV.)
I learned all the steps to the dance he perfected,
And knew that he danced it for Mommy and me.

Step-two-three, stomp-two-three, kick down the buildings,
Pivot and topple and pose as they quail.
Dip the skyscraper, crush, ball change, breathe fire,
Then once more again, but this time add the tail.

Daddy was giant: it made him seem distant.
I needed a ladder to kiss him goodnight.
Whenever we’d hear he was coming to visit,
I’d hold Mommy’s hand and say it was all right.

Sometimes they’d fight, and his voice was like thunder.
Sometimes we’d fear he might do us some harm.
And sometimes he’d give me a ride on his shoulder,
Or cradle me safe in the crook of his arm.

They finally got him with a top-secret weapon.
They turned him to vapor; they blew him away.
That was the day that I swore I would grow up
To dance like my Daddy and make them all pay.


Daddy was giant.  He cast a long shadow:
Such great expectations I never could meet.
When your father leaves footprints the size of a townhouse,
To walk in his shoes is no trivial feat.

No, I never grew up as big as my Daddy.
No nuclear accident altered my genes.
You can’t topple houses at five-foot-eleven,
And the cities I’d savage were just in my dreams.

(Cello solo)

Now I have a job selling housing insurance.
I live in the suburbs, with kids and a wife.
Mommy lives with us; she’s started a garden,
And I’ve grown content with this miniscule life.

But sometimes at night when my family is sleeping,
I sneak to the basement room where my kids play.
I cover the floor with a city of legos,
And I dance like my Daddy did, back in his day.

(chorus twice)


You’re captive at the counter and your feet are sore
They’re shuffling through the aisles and they’re piling through the doors
Their arms are crammed with cans and tins, they’ve massacred the bargain bins
And given time, they’re sure to come for you

Their eyes are dead and hungry and their lips are slack
Their arms are full of merchandise you know they won’t put back
They pick up things and set them down in places far from  where they found them
And then all at once they come for you

They’re coming to get you, Barbara
They’re coming to take your life away
They’re coming to suck your mind and steal your time
And wreck your shelf display
They’re coming to buy things, Barbara
And you know that you cannot get away
They want the three-for-twos, the fifty-percents, the buy-now-discount-specials-this-week-
And in the confusion if they should be able to sample a piece of your flesh
Well, that’s just fine

The register is going like a gatling
The line’s to aisle seven and your shift has just begun
They’re like an eager sea of hands to strangle all your weekend plans
And when they’re finished, more will come for you


(instrumental break)

The day that it comes true and all the streets are filled with cannibals
When everybody else is in a stew like frightened animals
You’ll calmly barricade the door and feel you’ve done this all before
And when they break the windows in, you’ll pour yourself a drink and grin
Because now that their teeth are clearly bared for the attack,
The cards are on the table and you’re able to fight back.

So, don’t let them get you, Barbara
No, don’t let them take your life away
With the pin of your name tag and your chair in hand,
You’ll keep them all at bay
So, let them come get some, Barbara
You’ve got more than enough to give away
You know they’ll win, you know they’ll get you
But don’t worry, please don’t fret; you’ll
Last for record time
And in the confusion, if you should be able to leave a few dents in their flesh
Well, that’s just fine


Come little children, walk with me:
Don’t be afraid to talk with me.
The woods are dark and the night is near,
So let me take you in, my dears.

Somebody left you all alone;
No place now to call your home.
But stay and chat with me a while
And I’ll give you a treat that will make you smile:

Gingerbread, hot from my oven:
Baked with my love, and I’ve lots to spare.
Gingerbread, warm and delicious,
A lifetime of wishes in every square.

The house isn’t very far away.
We’ll make it there by the close of day.
And if you get hungry, don’t forget:
There, in the air, do you smell it yet?

Gingerbread, the taste of the summer;
The place where the summer never dies.
Gingerbread: licked from your fingers,
The flavor will linger the rest of your lives.

Gingerbread, the root of perfection,
My favorite confection, the pride of my home.
Gingerbread, so spicy and sweet,
It puts a dance in your feet, and puts meat on your bones.

Please don’t run away from me; I only wish you joys.
I’ve longed so long to entertain such lovely girls and boys,
Such tender children.

Somebody left you all alone;
Lucky for you that I brought you home.
You’ll spend a cozy time with me.
Now, hop up the front steps – one, two three.

You’ll find my kitchen full of charm;
A great big oven to keep us warm,
Safe from the wind and the rain and snow,
So open the door and in you go.

Gingerbread: it bake in an hour,
Ground with a flour as fine as silk.
Gingerbread, dark with molasses,
And washed down with glasses of honey and milk.

Gingerbread, hot from my oven:
Baked with my love, and I’ve lots to spare.
Gingerbread, warm and delicious,
A lifetime of wishes in every square.

A lifetime of wishes in every square.


Everybody lock your doors; I’m coming through.
Hide away your children til I’ve quitted you.
Shutter all your windows tight;
Burn your candles through the night,
And if you’re lucky, you might find
I’ve passed without ado.

But if you choose to disregard this urgent plea,
I can’t be held responsible for what you’ll see.
My fearful cavalcade’s been known
To shock observers still as stone,
And when I’m gone they’ll gladly own
They’re better off than me.

I’m harmless on my own –
But when I come through, I won’t be alone:

‘Cause I got trolls
Chasing after me,
Nipping at my heels,
Clutching at my sleeves.
I push you away,
But what else can I do?
If I stay, I’ll bring my trolls straight down on you.

I got tiny trolls with eyes of fire engine red.
I got giant trolls with nostrils bigger than my head.
I got ancient trolls like mossy boulders,
Trolls with two heads on their shoulders,
Lady trolls with hungry hips and bangles made of lead.

They follow in my footsteps everywhere I go.
They’ve torn to pieces everyone I used to know.
They’ve hounded  me through hills and valleys,
Winding lanes, and twisting alleys,
Licking at their chops and hoping someday I’ll get slow.

(regrettable interlude)


And when my footsteps falter on some barren heath,
Uncaring sky above, unfeeling ground beneath,
Though I have led them many ways,
I know I’ll end my running days
As bits of gristle lodged in many sets of trollish teeth.

But til that day, I’ll lead them on a merry chase
I’ll trail my ugly train along from place to place
And though my fate is set in stone,
I’ll see they leave you all alone,
And make them work for every bone by picking up my pace.

So when you hear my song,
Don’t join in or follow along,


The Ballad of Johnny Roller and the Bones

Johnny Roller was the sheriff of County Carr – the best –liked man ever wore the star;
He had a lightning draw, an unerring arm, and a subtle, boyish charm.

Now, one dusty morning, the rumor spread that out in Scorcher, the restless dead
Had arisen out of their shallow graves and were having themselves a rave.

They were running amok through the tortured town; they were chasing the living and cutting them down,
And scooping their brains like salmon roe, and Johnny said, “well, they’ll have to go.”

His duty calls; he must defend the poor, beleaguered town –
For when the dead forget their place, they must be put back down.
Now, roll on Johnny, and beat them bones.

Now, his wife, and mistress, and dear Aunt Flo all pleaded with Johnny – told him not to go:
“You’re good for more than a zombie’s feast; why don’t we just send the priest?”

But the priest was sleeping off a Sunday spree, and Johnny said, “let’s let him be.
“There’s nothing the Padre can do the dead, that I can’t with a slug of lead.”

So, he saddled his horse, and made sure his trusty six-guns were loaded, and hit the dusty
Trail as the sun was starting to glide on down to the other side.

He’s saddled up his broom-tail partner and begun to ride.
He’ll fix those upstart drifters who forget that they have died:
Now, roll on Johnny, and beat them bones.
Roll on Johnny (Johnny, Johnny) and beat them bones.

He rode all night by the light of a torch, and early morning found him on the edge of scorcher –
A shabby little town near the county line, in the shadow of a dried-up mine.

The streets were empty, and all he heard were the howling winds and his own two spurs.
He’d left his horse by the nearby mesa; she wouldn’t go near the place.

There were bodies lying in the street, and the tooth-marks showed that they’d been eaten.
Now, Johnny was no lamb out of the fold, but all the same his blood ran cold.

And suddenly, there they were, surrounding him; they’d crept up without a sound.
Their faces were split by evil grins, and they clacked their teeth at him.

They were walking bones, these fiends from Hell; their ribs were bleached and their teeth were yellow,
And their sockets stared like loaded dice, and turned his soul to ice.

They’ve got him now, they’ve set a trap, they took him by surprise.
He’s in their sights, but he don’t mind, ‘cause only he has eyes.
Now, roll on Johnny, and beat them bones.
Roll on Johnny (Johnny, Johnny) and beat them bones.

But Johnny Roller was resolute.  He pulled his guns and began to shoot.
He nailed their skulls with his cherry stones, and they dropped like sacks of bones.

But although Johnny knew his wrong from his right, the poor
Guy had never tangled with the creatures of the night before:
As soon as they were down, they got up again, and Johnny saw that he couldn’t win.

So he took off running at a crazy pace, and they clicked their heels and they all gave chase:
Right up the hill they scrabbled and climbed, till he reached the abandoned mine.

So now he’s off and running, with the dead in hot pursuit.
He’s at a loss, cause he can’t kill the things that he can’t shoot.
Now, roll on Johnny, and beat them bones.
Roll on Johnny (Johnny, Johnny) and beat them bones.

He felt his way down the deepest shaft, hearing bony toes as they scuttled in after him,
And then he knew that he couldn’t go back: he’d found his way into a cul de sac.

So he prayed to god not to scald his soul, and as he heard them coming through the dismal hole,
He took a square of paper, licked it wet, and rolled his final cigarette.

As he struck the match, he saw their upraised claws; but something in the corner gave him some pause:
By the self-same match, he could also see, ‘bout as close to him as you are to me, a small crate of TNT.

The cloud of dust was a mile high.  It coated the cattle, it fouled the sky,
It filled the air with the smell of oil, but it made real good topsoil.

He won the battle after all; the man deserves a cup,
‘Cause if he couldn’t shoot them down, at least he blew them up.
Yes, even heroes aren’t immune to fortune’s cruel jokes.
So kids, remember: be prepared and always pack your smokes.
Roll on Johnny, and beat them bones.
Roll on Johnny (Johnny, Johnny) and beat them bones.

So, all was well; the day was saved, and if the bones ever try to dig out of that grave,
As soon as one’s close to breaking ground, Johnny Roller reaches up…and pulls him back down.

Faces in the Rye

The drought was written in our children;
Starvation stitched into their skin.
Our hopes for them were growing colder, and our world was growing thin.

The old dark ways had never left us.
We read the writing in the loam:
That seven messengers be sent to bring the wandering harvest home.

Someone to fill the sky with clouds again,
Someone to raise the barley high;
Someone to turn the fruit trees green again;
Someone to bring us back the rye.

So seven boys and girls were chosen,
By lots, according to our law,
And my youngest girl – my Abigail – she drew the seventh straw.

And then it happened, and was over:
Seven small graves in the fields.
And we watched the signs and wondered what their sacrifice would yield.

Now there is water in the wells again,
And there are rain clouds in the sky.
There are blossoms on the trees again,
But there are faces in the rye.

We sowed the seeds in sadness; they sprouted as we grieved
We hear our children’s laughter in the rustling of the leaves
Walking through the fields, we feel them catching at our sleeves,
But when we turn to catch them, they fade back into the green.

For three years now, our crops have flourished,
And the wounds have slowly healed;
We lie awake at night and listen to the singing in the fields.

And when we go with scythes to cut them,
We see the bargain we have made –
The stalks cry murder, and bleed drops of blood, that beads upon our blades.

My older children sprout like barley stalks.
My kitchen table’s piled high.
We break our bread and think of Abigail,
Among the faces in the rye.

Now seven years have come and vanished,
And our fields are dry once more.
The clouds are thinner every morning, and the drought is at our door.

Today the fields are full of families
Long lines of farmers and their wives:
I lead my children through the silent farms,
My new-born daughter cradled in my arms,
Toward where the elders weep and mutter dirges while they’re sharpening their knives.

The Pharaoh’s Croon

In the cold tomb, with the musty dust
Where the caskets rot and their hinges rust,
I recline in style and think I must
be crazy.

For a pharaoh’s life I’ve chosen me;
A life of gold and filigree
On a carved divan of ivory –
I’m lazy.

I’m dead and liking it
In my great palatial pit
Cooped up with my toys from yesterday…

I got riches and rags, both in goodly measure
Got amethyst cats crafted for my pleasure
And I count all my coins in my ample leisure
As I gobble dusty goodies from a sapphire spoon
But when you’re dead, all your toys have no application;
You’re left all bereft of your inspiration
And you while time with the reverberation
Of your melancholy pharaoh’s croon.

I remember my golden queen
Whose nose was high and eyes were green,
And who left one day on a barge as lean
As bone.

I’ve her picture on my carven wall,
My sarcophagus, my entry hall,
And her busty bust ‘bout nine feet tall
In stone.

And though I’ve passed away,
I live with her every day,
As my memories gather cobwebs in the gloom…

But with some luck and finesse and a bit of groomin’
I could get a second party to my exhumin’
Though she best like the odor of my bitumen,
‘Cause with resinous finesse, it’s hard to make girls swoon.
She’ll shine a light and my eyes will become dilated,
And I’ll sing hallelu as I’m excavated
And thank all my stars I was not cremated;
Rather, left to sing the pharaoh’s croon.

The pharaoh’s croon’s a tune that began long ago
It’s a ditty that some of you probably know
It’s sung in a round with yourself as your singing
Rebounds from walls of stone.

It’s not an anthem, a dirge or lament for all the things you knew before;
A life that you know you won’t know the like of anymore;
It’s more of a quiet duet
With the time to go – alone.

But in the desert, where the sun is bright,
And the air is hot, I’ll admit I might
Feel a pang of loss for the endless night
I knew.

But the feeling of being free
Will slowly bubble up in me,
Although being free is harder than being

And they won’t like me much in town:
The way I look might get them down.
So, I’ll be left with the girl who dug me from my tomb…

And if she don’t think my mummified face too vile,
We’ll emerge from my little state of da nile,
And live quite content, being necrophile
Under sun that makes you whimper for the cooling moon;
When I’ve been cured of my perpetual state of stasis,
In the palm-dotted shade of a nice oasis,
We’ll renew our amour on a nightly basis,
Never more to be a pharaoh –
Buried in my barrow –
Free then from the pharaoh’s croon.

Stay with Me Tonight

The wind is wild, the rain is falling
Stay with me tonight
The air is cold the crows are calling
Stay with me tonight
Outside are goblins and their kindred
Let them lurk out there unhindered
Do not be afraid to linger
Stay with me tonight

The moon is dark, the wolves are howling
Stay with me tonight
The storm is high, the bears are prowling
Stay with me tonight
Outside the hunting hounds are roaming
Awful jaws agape and foaming
Stay, my dear, my one, my only
Stay with me tonight

The night is long, the sky is clouded
Stay with me tonight
You way is blocked, the stars are shrouded
Stay with me tonight
The door is strong, my arms are stronger
They can hold a while longer
Do not venture, do not wander
Stay with me tonight

Stay with me tonight