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Caution! Pupaphobia

By H. Jason Schulz

Copyright © 2010 H. Jason Schulz

Published by H. Jason Schulz at Smashwords

Note to the reader. While this story is based on actual events, it is a work of fiction. Thanks DK!

It all started last year, on my daughter’s birthday. She wanted a battery powered, toy vacuum cleaner. You know the toy, when you pushed it, it would make a humming sound and say a few different phrases like, “Let’s get to work!” or “Time to clean house!” So we got her one.

She played with it constantly, especially after seeing an animated movie about toys that came to life after everyone was asleep. She even started talking to it - which I didn’t like by the way. I thought it was a little disturbing. She would drag the toy vacuum cleaner around everywhere; sit it on a chair next to her at dinner time and even tried to pull it into bed with her one night. I explained to her that the vacuum would be more comfortable in the closet with the other toys, and finally she agreed let it “sleep” there.

After about a week of watching my daughter treating this toy like an actual person, I felt we had to have a talk. I sat her down and explained to her that it was all right to pretend that the vacuum was alive, but really it’s not. (Here’s where it got really creepy for me.) As soon as I said that the toy was not really alive, my daughter started to say something but instead turned to look at the vacuum, as if it had interrupted her.

“Did you hear me?” I asked my daughter, who was silent, still looking at the toy as if she were listening to it. “Honey!” I said. Then she turned to me with a look of impatience.

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