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When I was a child my father owned a janitorial company that worked almost every night at our local Showbiz Pizza Place/Chuck E. Cheese’s. He would often bring me to work with him so I could play all of the arcade games without having to wait in line. He’d even spark up the towering animatronics and let me watch them play their “Happy Birthday” songs and other quaint jingles. It was so much fun…until the curtains closed and it went dark.
A part of me hated not being able to see the fake animals, especially the wolf and big gorilla playing the keyboard. It would get so dark once all of those circus lights stopped undulating, but knowing they were hiding behind the curtains severely spooked me. Another part of me was glad I couldn’t see them, with their large plastic grins, bulging eyes and blink-less stares that trapped the false joy of their act. Anything that can remain that happy in the dark, imprisoned by crimson drapes, and frozen in time until the puppeteer presses “go” is just sinister in nature. Even the empty arcade, full of fantastic memories of the day past, sits dark, quiet and abandoned. There is something very unsettling about a place that can bequeath equal parts joy and dread when the sun sets and the doors are locked.
I’ve long since taken over my father’s company and we still hold the contract for this haunted place. Tonight is the first time I’ve brought my young son with me to work so he can enjoy the arcade like I once did. My hope is that when my son finally builds up the courage to pull back the curtain to view those plastic beasts, he isn’t greeted with the same malevolent stare that looked down unnaturally upon me.
Credit To – StupidDialUp (Story)/DeadJosey (Narration)