Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Shut Up, Iron Man
Sometimes you have to face the uncomfortable truth that your children’s toys can become possessed by demons. While toys are generally the fun and harmless, non-demonic kind, you can’t deny that a few are downright creepy. Take “Clownie” for example. Clownie was Scott’s favorite stuffed animal as a child. How my husband grew up normal with that thing in his bed throughout childhood is beyond me. He has since passed it down to Katie, who also keeps it on her bed. I am terrified of that clown. During the school year when I am alone in the house during most of the day, I can feel him watching me as I put away Katie’s clothes or clean her room. I usually just put him in the closet, but then I listen for the eerie creak of her closet door opening for the rest of the day. (And yes, my over-active imagination is not helped by my morning coffee intake.)
Clownie, however, is not my current problem. Davis received an Iron Man action figure for this birthday in June. It lights up, speaks, and is capable of defending a four-year-old boy from the forces of evil. OR SO HE WANTS US TO THINK. Davis is obsessed with Iron Man. He wears his Iron Man shirt for days and days in a row. He attempts to read his Iron Man books. We have let him watch the kid-appropriate cartoon and I have allowed him to watch exactly 4.6 minutes of the movie. (I edited out the other two hours. I’ve had worse mornings than pre-viewing a Robert Downey, Jr. film, but I digress.) Davis has several Iron Man action figures, but this one is his favorite. So much so that he snuck it into the bathtub with him one evening. The water, obviously, shorted out the lights and the voice and rendered I.M. mute and lightless. I called it a win, dried the toy off, and told Davis that Iron Man would continue to fight evil, but he would just be quieter about it. I didn’t think of it again.
In the middle of the night several weeks ago, Scott shot out of bed, standing by the door to our bedroom. “There’s someone in the house,” he hissed at me. Immediately the ancient fight or flight instinct took over and I had adrenaline oozing out of my pores. I heard a freaky, other-worldly voice booming through the upstairs: “I AM IRON MAN.” “Well, at least we know who it is,” was my vain attempt at humor while my blood pressure came down from the stratosphere. Scott shot me a death look and stalked off to find the culprit. There, in Davis’s room, was Iron Man, voice and lights magically healed. Scott didn’t appreciate this miracle and tried to turn him off. However, since technically the toy was already off, there wasn’t much he could do. He finally shoved I.M. into some luggage in my closet and we returned to sleep, only occasionally hearing his muffled cries.
On the nights my husband’s snoring requires me to sleep in ear plugs, I am not awakened by Scott’s and Iron Man’s battles. I don’t always know when Iron Man has had an active evening until I find him stashed away somewhere bizarre. The morning I reached out of the shower, blinded by shampoo, into the linen closet for a towel only to grab Iron Man and have him roar at me was not a good day. Keep in mind that when Davis wants to play with Iron Man, he is completely quiet. Iron Man has been to church with us (we considered asking for an exorcism while he was there), the grocery, and over most of Knoxville, quiet as a mouse for all of these outings. It freaks me completely out that he only comes to life at night, when we are trying to sleep.
Iron Man has settled down for the last couple of weeks and again, I had forgotten all about him until I woke up last night with the hair on the back of my neck standing up, sensing that something was frighteningly strange in the house. Again, it was Iron Man, railing against the world from Davis’s room. There was no way I was going in there. Stephen King has left enough scar tissue in my brain that I began imagining I.M. standing in the middle of the room, eyes blazing, an army of possessed, mutant toys behind him. Despite the paralyzing fear, I did manage to kick Scott (sort-of gently) and once he woke up enough to realize I.M. was back on the warpath, he got up to deal with it. From my bed, I could hear “I AM IRON MAN” and then I began to wonder what would happen if I heard “PUT ME DOWN SCOTT.” Then I heard the sound of Scott smacking I.M. around and shaking him furiously. “Don’t make him mad!!” I yelled, from the safety of my bed. Scott later reported that he tried to stomp on Iron Man and then attempted to pry his legs off, to no avail. Needless to say, Iron Man spent the night somewhere else strange, his screams muffled for the good of the sleeping family. If he and Clownie ever discover each other, we may be in trouble…