ra ra ra!
The sounds of those blasted toys on the shelves kept chatting while I was in the storage room. Cutting edge, technologically advanced, motion sensors inside little statuesque chipmunks, all 1500 of them, were activating at once, red eyes blinking all at once to make the room so illuminated with red light that I didn’t need to turn the light on. I did anyway. All I needed was garbage bags. There they are. Someone had set the box of garbage bags in the dead center of the room on the ground. What kind of sick joke was this?!
Hey, nice tie, Lucy! Did your mommy dress you again?
“I told you for the last time, my name is Gabriel!” I said to the nearby jerk of a toy. I called that one Randal. All the Randals I knew growing up had been jerks, and this one was no different. I picked up the box of garbage bags, wishing I could put the toys in them and just go to town bashing them against the concrete floor.
The three shelves where the toys had been placed took up most of the room. Past the shelves was a desk large enough for a computer and printer. I moved past the shelves carefully and moved to the desk. Of the three drawers, the third one was the largest which contained myriads of files of various types. One file of which was the invoice for having ordered 1501 “Noisy Lemongrass Chipmunk” dolls.
It was advertised that one could download from their manufacturer’s website programming to make them do all sorts of tricks, sing songs, catchphrases, and respond to simple questions. My boss had ordered them last month, but not one of them had sold because of one, I say one, defect. We didn’t know when we were ordering them that a single wire malfunction had caused the downloaded material to make them act and sound malevolent. It was reported that some of them had attacked small children. Naturally the parents sued, but the company who made Noisy Lemongrass Chipmunk denied all claims. They simply fired a few people and assured the public things would be fine. But we still had to remove from the store shelves all1501 of them.
So now I had to pass by them everyday at work. There was no way to turn them off. Lately they had gotten worse. Now they flashed red eyes instead of blue. Now they would respond with wicked cursing and threats if I asked them questions. And worst of all, if I made moves to dismantle them, they would jump at me. I’m not kidding, I have to scars to prove it. A design flaw left their paws and feet with pointed claws.
They ran on battery power, thank God, but could also recharge via staying online. Our staff kept waiting for them to burn out, but after weeks of being online they just kept going. Number one was the biggest and meanest of all of them. I had long suspected it had turned on the computer in the storage room. We had to keep the wi-fi on in the store.
I rejoiced when it was reported number one was reportedly stolen. Then we found him outside the storage room in the sporting goods section next to a baseball bat. I still shudder when I remember his screaming threats of rage when we put the thick blanket over him. It was the only way to handle him without getting hurt. Seriously, who would steal a toy so annoying? Then it hit me. Our store wasn’t the only one that had ordered a shipment of Noisy Lemongrass Chipmunks. What were they doing with the faulty toys?
Excerpt from “Noisy Lemongrass” from the curiously long book of short stories, I am lettuce, who are you?