Halloween Scenes – Bundle Of Joy

America is weird.  Only in America could you swap out one bad thing for another in the name of salvation.  In this case, Steve was approaching surrender on the idea that Halloween should not be about sugar and should instead be about gifts.  Easter had been a trial run of this concept this year and his daughter, Hannah, hadn’t protested at all.  A well-raised consumerist baby, Hannah was.

Steve broached the idea one night with Hannah and asked what gift she would be interested in.  “BabyGoo!” Hannah had enthusiastically replied.  Steve hadn’t even heard of such a thing.  Was it like Slime, which came in an appropriate garbage can?

“Dad, geez.  It’s the best doll ever.  The most realistic baby doll ever made!”  The well-raised consumerist baby was well-versed in the marketing language put forth for the BabyGoo.  Steve said he would look into it, and later that night after Hannah was asleep, he did just that.

Steve learned that BabyGoo might be the most realistic doll ever, but was probably the most expensive doll ever, as well.  But he couldn’t argue with the customer reviews.  They were pretty much unanimous in their praise.  Most everyone commented on the realism, some saying the doll was almost too real.  There was a close-to-even split between people who said the weight of the doll was too heavy and those that said the weight was the most realistic part.  Some reviewers said the doll was too floppy, while some people refuted them by saying their dolls were stiff.  Someone was trying to organize the data and determine who had floppy dolls and who had firm dolls.  Maybe there was a pattern.

The doll itself was being touted by its maker as the greatest thing ever.  “The most realistic baby doll ever!”  He’d heard that somewhere before.  “Anatomically correct”  Steve rolled his eyes.  “Made with the most realistic materials available”  There’s that word again, realistic.  This company needs better writers.  Regardless, Steve was swayed by the excellent reviews and committed to buy one for Hannah.

At work the next day, Steve showed his coworker, Shawn, the BabyGoo product page.  Shawn didn’t have kids and as you would expect, wasn’t particularly interested in the idea of creepy, realistic dolls.  “Crap,” Steve lamented, “they discontinued the baby girl model.  It was there just last night.  That’s the one I was going to get for Hannah.”  Steve half-turned to Shawn.  “I wonder why it was discontinued.”

“Pedophiles.” Shawn replied flatly.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Shawn!”

“Just sayin’.  I mean, they say right there, anatomically-“  Steve furiously threw up his hand, demanding Shawn to shut the hell up.  Shawn shrugged and took his leave while Steve took a few moments to flush that entire conversation out of his mind.  When Steve had finally calmed down enough to remember that this is something Hannah wanted, he placed his order for a boy doll and returned to work.

Two-day shipping delivered the BabyGoo quickly (in two days, in fact).  Steve opened up the package and startled back from the box.  Inside was the BabyGoo, the most realistic doll ever.  Steve did not disagree with that hyperbole at all.  The BabyGoo was real AF.  Steve felt himself falling down into the Uncanny Valley as the perfectly proportioned face of the BabyGoo stared blankly up at him, not suffocating in its plastic bag.

“Hannah!  It’s here!”  Steve called out uneasily.  Hannah came running and squealed with joy when she saw the lifeless doll sealed in plastic.  Steve didn’t understand this reaction at all.  But Steve wasn’t a young girl, either.  Hannah thanked her father with a huge hug and ran off to her room with BabyGoo.

“Well, good timing anyway since tomorrow’s Halloween,” he thought as he went back to his computer and tried to put those dead, shiny eyes out of his mind.

The next evening, Halloween, Steve and Hannah left their porch light off and settled down to watch classic horror movies.  BabyGoo was Hannah’s guest of honor at the screening.  Not paying a lot of attention to the movies, Hannah talked non-stop about how awesome her doll was.  It turned out to be the floppy version, Steve noticed.  Hannah had to support the doll’s head constantly.  Just like a real baby, Steve thought.  What a teaching aid that could be.

Hannah talked about how real the doll was.  The skin wasn’t like skin, it was a bit more rubbery.  His toes were actual toes, not just a molded foot.  He had a pee-pee.  Hannah thought that was hilarious.  You could move the doll’s eyelids, but they tended to open on their own and stayed open.  Hannah was demonstrating how to close the eyes and was getting slightly frustrated.

“Easy on the doll, Hannah,” Steve coached her. “It wasn’t cheap.”  Hannah paused for a moment, then gave the eyelids one more sharp closing.  Her flingers slipped and her fingernail cut the doll just under the right eye.

“Oh no!”  Hannah cried.  She looked at the damage she’d caused to the dolls face.  It was a significant gash, and a thick liquid was oozing out from it.  “BabyGoo,” thought Steve, absently.

Hannah thrust the floppy doll at Steve, who reluctantly took it.  It was the first time he’d touched a BabyGoo.  It was soft.  It was also surprisingly heavy.  He could imagine the whole doll body filled with the goo that was slowly leaking from Hannah’s inflicted damage.  His mind thought quickly.  Crazy glue and makeup.  BabyGoo was going to have to live with a facial scar.  He took the doll to the kitchen table and inspected the damage.  He pushed on the cut and felt the structure beneath the skin.  A realistic structure, he considered.  Very realistic.  He pulled back the cut and saw the white frame inside.

With a rising feeling of nausea and lightheadedness, his brain quickly identified the secret to the BabyGoo’s realism.  That… is bone.  No doubt.  It is real.  Or it used to be real and it’s just sealed up?  Plasticized?  And the internal goo?  Was it…

Steve ran to the kitchen sink and emptied his guts.  Hannah started screaming and crying.  BabyGoo remained motionless on the counter, leaking thick fluid from its facial wound.

Steve wasted no time bagging, double-bagging, triple-bagging the BabyGoo and threw the abomination in the trash.  Then he reconsidered and threw it in the outdoor trash.  Even that wasn’t enough.  It had to go.  Tomorrow morning, he would take the BabyGoo trash bundle to a random dumpster and get rid of it for good.  But now he had to console Hannah.

After a difficult conversation of obfuscating the truth, Hannah calmed down enough to go to bed.  Steve was still wired up though.  He jumped back on his computer and went immediately to the BabyGoo website.  Unsurprisingly, both girl and boy models were discontinued now.  The reviews had been updated.  Almost unanimously one-star.  The BabyGoo’s product description was also updated with a bold disclaimer at the end: “No product returns will be accepted.”

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