I've always been a kid at heart, and the other day I proved that I'm an even bigger kid than I thought I was.
I was hanging around in Rite Aid, waiting for one of my husband's 9,000 prescriptions to be filled, when I wandered into the stuffed-animal aisle. A big "50% off" sign caught my eye.
There was a stuffed rottweiler, which I immediately was attracted to, mainly because I have two real ones. There was a puppy that wagged and barked, which was cute. And then there was another animal that sang songs. I stood there playing with each one, probably annoying the poor clerk at the nearby counter. I was certain she'd been subjected to a chorus of those animals singing, barking and talking a zillion times a day and was ready to stuff them into the trunk of her car and drive them over a cliff somewhere.
Suddenly this furry little teddy bear caught my eye. His tag said to squeeze his paw and then talk to him and he'd answer you because he actually could hear what you were saying.
I was intrigued. I also was a bit hesitant to stand in a crowded store and talk to a teddy bear. I mean, people already think I'm weird enough. I didn't need to add fuel to the fire.
But my curiosity finally got the better of me. I squeezed the teddy bear's paw. Immediately he said, "Oh, yeah!"
The instructions on his tag then said to greet him with, "Hello, Teddy." I did.
"What's up?" he answered, in a loud teddy-like voice.
There were 10 questions on his list that it said he answered, so I picked one at random. "Are you hungry?" I asked him.
"I'm starving!" he said. "When do we eat around here?"
I couldn't conceal my surprise. I searched for another question.
"Can you burp?" I asked.
By then, people were beginning to stare at me.
"Uuurrrrrrp!" came the reply from the teddy bear. "Now you try it!" he said.
I decided to forego the burping contest, even though I knew I could have outdone him.
"Sing for me!" I said. I was so fascinated at that point, I didn't care who was staring at me.
The teddy bear cleared his throat. " Mi, mi, mi (cough!) – maybe later."
"Sing for me!" I repeated.
"My throat is sore!" he shot back.
Teddy then burst into a chorus of "Old MacDonald."
That did it. I was hooked. I had to have him. With his talent, however, I figured he'd probably cost the national debt of a small country. I brought him up to the register.
"How much is he?" I asked the clerk, my expression as hopeful as a child's on Christmas morning.
She scanned his tag. "He's on sale for $9.99."
I couldn't believe my ears. I whipped out a $10 bill.
"Wait till you see the great toy I bought!" I fairly gushed to my husband the minute I got home.
When I pulled an ordinary-looking teddy bear out of the bag, he gave me a look that clearly said, "have you finally gone off the deep end?"
But then I put Teddy through his paces.
"I love you," I said to Teddy.
"Don't get all mushy on me!" Teddy answered.
"I love you!" I repeated.
"I love you, too," Teddy said.
My husband's eyebrows rose.
Unfortunately, so did both of my dogs'.
The look of total surprise on the pups' faces made me start to laugh.
"What's so funny?" Teddy suddenly asked.
My husband and I just stared at each other, wide-eyed. Teddy's comment wasn't even on the list! I was beginning to get the feeling that the toy really could hear us.
Sabre, my older rottweiler, decided she wanted Teddy…and she wanted him bad.
No place I tried to hide the bear worked. Sabre sniffed him out and whined at the cabinet door, closet door, bureau drawer – wherever he was, she was there...whining.
"Maybe she senses something about him that we don't," my husband said.
Several episodes of Twilight Zone about dolls and toys coming to life and attacking people immediately came to mind.
Teddy's on the top shelf of the guest-room closet right now. If I look for him tomorrow morning and he's not there, I'm calling an exorcist.