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 browsing in an area store when a "50% off" sign caught my eye.
The discount section contained mostly leftover Christmas toys. There was a stuffed Rottweiler, which I immediately was attracted to, mainly because I have a real one. 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 so many times a day, she probably 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 he was called "Hello Teddy," and if you squeezed his paw and talked to him, he would answer you because he actually could hear and understand what you were saying.
I was intrigued, mainly because he simply was a battery-operated toy – no computer hookup or app – just a normal-looking teddy bear with a couple batteries in him. I really wanted to try him out, but 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, so 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, nasal, 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 much-too-loud reply from the teddy bear, causing the aforementioned people to look at me as if they thought I’d eaten too many bean burritos for lunch.
"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. The problem was, he didn’t have any price listed on or near him. I knew he was 50-percent off, but off what? With his talent, I figured he'd probably cost an arm and a leg, as well as other assorted body parts. 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.
When I got home, with no one around to stare at me, I eagerly put Teddy through his paces.
"I love you," I said to him.
"Don't get all mushy on me!" Teddy answered.
"I love you!" I repeated.
"You’re so sweet," he said, his voice softening.
Then, although I said nothing else, Teddy blurted out, “Let’s do it!”
My eyebrows rose. Was “Hello Teddy” some kind of furry little pervert?
I hadn’t even realized I’d called Teddy a pervert out loud until he responded with, “OK, but leave the light on!”
“Behave yourself!” I said to him, which actually was one of the questions on his list.
“I’ve been baaaaad,” he said.
For the first time, my two dogs, who love to shred stuffed animals, noticed Teddy. When I made him speak to them, the look of total surprise on the pups' faces made me start to laugh.
Suddenly Teddy also started to laugh and said, “You crack me up!"
I just stared at the bear, wide-eyed. I was beginning to get the feeling it really could hear me – and I mean really.
Well, my Rottweiler, decided she wanted Teddy…and she wanted him bad.
No place I tried to hide the bear worked. My dog sniffed him out and whined at the cabinet door, the closet door, the bureau drawer – wherever he was, she was there, whining.
"Maybe she senses something weird about the bear,” one of my friends said when I told her about my dog’s obsession.
Several episodes of the Twilight Zone about dolls and toys coming to life and attacking people in their sleep immediately came to mind.
So Teddy is on the top shelf in the guest-room closet right now. If I look for him tomorrow morning and he's not there, I'm calling an exorcist.
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(If you want to hear Teddy talking to me, just play the above video!)
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