Some of you may remember the Chuck E Cheese tale of horror, involving my stepdaughter Erin. Well, for the first time since Erin was nine (she’s 23 now), I set foot in Chuck E Cheese again…this time with Erin, Ann, son Jason, and Mr. R (Riley, our grandson).
Would it be as horrific an experience as the first time?
We approached cautiously. Note the exhausted employee leaning dejectedly against a column, unable to summon the energy to even go to her car.
Ominous sans serif block letters, reminiscent of Soviet-era architecture.
Inside: the horror show as I remember it. Crowded. Sweaty. Lots of weird little people running around who can’t fully control their own motor functions.
Clearly, Erin was also beginning to have flashbacks…
Mr. R, oddly, since he’s usually rather observant, seemed oblivious to any potential strangeness.
The weird-ass poster didn’t bother Mr. R at all.
No, Mr. R just went right on phoning his friends.
Oblivious to the Mao/Rat Warhol/Soviet mural propaganda posters on the walls.
Mr. R happily smashed small dinosaurs with his bare hands.
Looming over all, the fascist who had created this petty little kingdom of flashing lights, ticket dispensers, and cacophony, the dictator himself.
Still, Mr. R had a point when he told me that this might be the only place that this guy…
…and this guy would be caught dead almost hanging out together.
Mr. R also pointed out that we’d had a good day. We’d gone to Erin’s for her garage sale.
Brought Mr. R his grilled cheese sandwich.
Rummaged through Erin’s books.
Found a few we’d bought. (Although I pointed out to Mr. R these were mainly books we’d given Erin!)
Found also a night-stealth knife, an Apollo Sunshine button, a weird commemorative coin, and, er, some kind of police person’s outfit.
Then found a good pub while Mr. R took his nap.
And found an interesting juxtaposition.
Although Mr. R told me that while he didn’t particularly care for the mosquito-infested park I’d suggested after his nap, the tree was cool.
…especially the face in the trunk.
…and he didn’t mind being tall, either.
But much as Mr. R liked the kingdom of hell on earth known as Chuck E Cheese, he much preferred being home and riding his dinosaur in front of hippies while we all partook of the magic berries at Erin’s party. “Sweet is sour. Sour is sweet. Fascists are Socialists. Brooms are dirty floors. Wombats are winter grasses. Up is down and a yoke is a white. You get the picture, but it’s inside-out.”
….and running around until he was dizzy…
…and, finally, trashing his play area…
As Mr. R pointed out sagely to me before we left for the evening, sometimes a rat in a costume isn’t all that scary after all. Yes, Mr. R, I replied, but that doesn’t mean I’m going back any time soon….