Toys of Terror
We are finally settling down again, returning to Pensacola, FL after 12 years in Illinois and two additional years spent searching for a few bricks and some grass to call our own. Unpacking after a major move is unimaginable. We parted with many items to avoid the expense of storing and moving them. No matter how well I thought we thinned things out, there were still many boxes and items that should have stayed behind. And then came the toys.
The girls are now in college or graduated. Thoughts of future grandchildren and wonderful memories of playtime keep SEVERAL boxes in my midst. But can't some of these items go to the person to whom they belonged? Granted, many of the toys were played with by all three girls, and those will stay together and wait for actual grandchildren to arrive, but there are some items that were particularly their own.
Enter the creepy voodoo doll without a name.
I don't know what I was thinking when we made these. Was I teaching the girls to sew? Maybe we had read one book too many describing the life and times of Laura Ingalls Wilder. At any rate, we made two dolls. The girls made outfits for the dolls and drew the faces themselves. They chose yarn to mimic their own hair color and wallah, creepy doll completed, times two.
Years ago the dolls were packed away. With the move they finally resurfaced. I pulled this one aside for Madeline, to return to her among many other items. The doll had barely cleared the flaps of the cardboard box that held her when I heard, "Oh heavens, well I think we can throw that out."
"You most certainly cannot throw her out," I exclaimed. "Do you know how many years I've held onto this doll for you? The least you can do is take her home and throw her out in the peace of your own garbage can." Honestly, inside I was thrilled because I knew that Steven, her husband, would never let her part with this doll. She had tried to throw away countless paintings and other art that she had completed over the years, and Steven always hauled it right back in before the garbage man arrived. Several boxes traveled back home with her, freeing up some cherished storage space of my own.
Early one morning, a few days after Madeline had returned home, I received a phone call. Madeline was pissed.
The doll had appeared as she and Steven emptied her last box. In perfect Madeline fashion, she grabbed the voodoo empress by the neck and chucked her into the trash. Steven inquired, "What was that?" She then explained that it was this horribly ugly, actually creepy doll that she had made when she was young. Madeline told him of how she had tried to throw it away when she was in Florida but that I would not let her. It may have taken a 16 hour drive home to Maryland, but the doll was going into the trash where she belonged. What a sense of accomplishment she must have had in that triumphant moment as the doll hit her final resting place.
That night, as Madeline prepped for bed, Steven offered to tuck her in as he wasn't quite ready to turn in himself. She found it odd. Though they haven't been married for much over a year, this was not something that Steven traditionally did for her. Actually, it was something that he had never done before. She simply attributed it to the fact that he had missed her while she was away. Madeline settled into bed, rolled over to get perfectly set and comfortable, with her one true love leaning over her expressing feelings of tenderness and care.
Two important things had gone unnoticed, Steven's phone camera set to video and the voodoo creeper who shared her pillow in the dark.
How she recovered and actually fell asleep afterwards is beyond me. How long it took her to do so is also unknown. It isn't the first prank that he's pulled on her, though it was a very good one. Note to reader: I love a good prank!
The purpose of the phone call was to tell me all about the event. It was a video call so I was able to enjoy her facial responses to each and every part of the story. But it did not end there. Steven took the doll out of their bedroom, a smart decision I would say. The reason for Madeline's call was that he had stuffed the doll down into the bag of dog food. Madi always feeds their dog Pepper at 6:00 in the morning. Suffice it to say that the anger of the previous night had tripled with the reappearance of the creepy doll of wonder in the early morning hours.
Madi was desperate to throw the doll away immediately, but there were leftovers in the garbage and she was sure that Steven would only dig her out again. She was waiting for garbage day and the security that the doll would be gone for good. I told her that instead of disposing of the beloved toy, she should hide it in his car.
Her faced morphed into the happiest, most evil plotting mad scientist that I've ever seen or imagined. She was absolutely giddy. Down the stairs, without wasting a moment, she found the keys to his car. Racing to the garage she opened it. As I waited and chuckled in the background, Madi seat belted the 12 inch terror into the center back seat.
Thanks to Covid we had a while to wait. Steven goes to the office one week and then works from home the next. Of course this was Monday of his week at home. The doll sat, the full week, in the car while we anxiously waited. The following week finally arrived. Steven went to work, returned for lunch and went to work again. Back home at 5:00 and NOTHING! He did not say a single word. Tuesday went to Wednesday, then Thursday. The voodoo wonder doll made every trip and went completely unnoticed.
Over the weekend Steven cleaned out his car and Madeline was sure that the doll had been found. Steven tried hard to pass it off as if he had seen her immediately and that he just left the doll in place to drive Madeline crazy. He could not admit to her that she had pranked him back, and good. She did not need video evidence, she simply needed the knowledge that the doll had driven back and forth to work with Steven for a week!
As I sit here, I wonder. Where is the doll now? We now refer to her as Bessie Boo, which is another story in and of itself. A whole new tradition has begun. I wish I could see into the future and see how soiled and foul smelling this doll is after years of pranks between these two. If she returns here, we'll certainly have words, and there had better NOT be any video evidence!
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Kristen Alger is an author whose goal is to help you find the fun side of life. Everybody needs a little laughter or sometimes, a little sage advice!