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How Elmo Ruined My Life
From an incident in early childhood, I obtained a fear of balls. This fear was probably irrational, and as I grew I began to realize this. Surely my all-consuming hatred couldn’t be placed on a simple geometric shape? As time went on, more and more I felt the need to place it on something else. Something real to hate. An actual creature to demonize. This is where Elmo came in.
I was five or six when it happened. It wasn't too long after my family had moved to Lawrence so my parents could work as group home parents. Among their charges was Renee.
It was Renee’s twelfth birthday. Among her presents she had received the Tickle-Me-Toss-Me Elmo doll. As soon as she tore off its neon paper disguise, envy grew within me. My mind was set on this simple toy. Through cake, ice cream, piñatas and all the other festivities, all I could think about was Elmo and how much fun I would have tickling and tossing about the tiny red fuzz ball. It was absolutely vital I play with it. If I did not I would die, that much was sure.
Not a minute before the party had ended, I rushed up to her and asked permission. Had she said no, I’m not quite sure what I would have done. There was still a cake knife lying out, and I’m sure I could have used that to steal Elmo then make a dash for it. I could have started up a new life as a transient, Elmo and I working together to survive. It’s what any rational tyke in my position would have done.
Fortunately, perhaps because she saw me eyeing the knife, she handed me her doll, and with that my life was complete. I would never need anything else, just Elmo and I would live out our lives in a peaceful harmony. So I had thought, at first. As time went on, however, it would become apparent that I was alone in this view of the future.
At first, things seemed normal enough. I would tickle Elmo, he’d go into a fit of laughter, limbs flailing about wildly, begging me to stop. This series seemed to repeat itself like a busted up record. There were, however, two words within Elmo’s title that I hadn’t planned on. Toss-Me. Before long, Elmo had grown bored of my caresses and begged for more. He demanded a true endorphin rush.
“Toss me!” the tiny monster screamed. “Toss me, toss me!”
Not wishing to ruin the relationship we had built, I caved in. I grabbed him by the torso and tossed him up like a bad burrito. It was the hardest I had heard him laugh yet. Even this, however, was not enough for the demented adrenaline junkie.
“Higher!” he would scream. I couldn’t deny his requests. I was some sort of puppet, and he was pulling my strings with a reckless abandon. Any request he made, I was required to fulfill. If he asked for my possessions, I would have given them. Had he needed me to knock over a bank, I’d have been obliged. Had he demanded a blood sacrifice, I would have complied.
He kept demanding more and more height until his plush rump met the ceiling. Even this wouldn’t stop his unreasonable demands. I couldn’t toss him higher had I wished to. Fury overtook his beady, plastic eyes and his demands for height grew louder and louder.
Having had enough with my insolence, on his final coming down he would make sure it was the last. The menacing crimson grin flew straight toward my own naive grin. After his skull met mine, we were both sent flying to opposite sides of the floor.
The only other thing I remember is the sound of my own wailing being drowned out by Elmo’s sick laughter. My mother rushed in to investigate the commotion, finding me clutching my profusely bleeding forehead on the floor. Being frugal enough, she treated the gash on my head with bandaging and gave me an ice-pack.
I don’t remember seeing the Elmo doll after that. I never really bothered to think about where it went as a kid, so long as it was away from me. Perhaps Renee took it back. Maybe it was all some elaborate conspiracy by her against me. Some failed assassination. Perhaps Elmo wandered off, not wanting to stick around the crime scene. He could have walked back to whatever ring of hell he had come from.
One thing I do know is that my vantage point of Elmo had changed. No longer could I view his televised shenanigans with youthful naivety. While his actions brought simple-minded youngsters to hysterics, I could finally see the truth behind Elmo.
His evil insanity was so strong that it twisted reality. An apartment made of crayon, sentient inanimate objects, the pedophile goldfish; horrifying visuals of the inner-depths of Elmo’s satanic mind, all disguised as some perverted form of education, and I was alone in my beliefs. No one saw the evil glare he gave the camera, the blood-thirsty look that took over his face when he saw a child, and worst of all was Mr. Noodle.
Who knows how long Mr. Noodle had been trapped in Elmo’s apartment. The poor man-child’s simple mind was still underdeveloped. It should have been obvious to anyone this man had severe mental retardation. Even the simplest of tasks escaped his mind, yet Elmo, the bastard he was, would daily taunt him, requiring tasks that he knew Mr. Noodle would struggle with, only to laugh at his failure. Only a complete monster could not only torture a simple man like Mr. Noodle but broadcast his acts into the homes of children.
The other monsters I was never sure about. Certainly they knew something about Elmo’s unspeakable acts. They must have seen something. Did they keep quiet for some sense of monsterly brotherhood? Were they merely pawns in Elmo’s sick game? Did they keep quiet under constant threat that Elmo could do away with them at a moments notice? Or were they every bit as evil as the crimson hell-spawn himself?
Further investigation turned up countless other situations like mine. Helpless children who had also uncovered this conspiracy. Elmo cash registers screaming sexual innuendo and potty training books spouting gun threats were just the tip of the iceberg. “Defective toys” the news pundits called it. I knew otherwise.
My childhood fear of the menace still lingers. I live in constant terror that one or two Elmo's are hidden amongst the toy chests buried in my basement. One day, I fear, they will sneak out to finish me off. With me out of the picture, he will be free to do as he pleases. I know it will happen, but nobody believes me.
I am alone in a world of Elmo.