Once upon a time, a well-meaning school held a charity bring and buy sale. The teachers embraced the enthusiasm of the school council and with gay abandon (and clearly no disease control) left them to their own devices.
On the day of the sale, our offspring sprang into school, pound coins clutched in their sweaty, questionably clean hands and the parental contingent wandered off to work, blissfully unaware of what was about to unfold.
Around lunchtime, working parents across the town innocently popped onto social media whilst enjoying a quiet, childfree sandwich and what greeted them created a wave of horror so great it was tangible.
Piles of pre-infected, crumb-infested kiddie-crack, disguised as soft toys adorned table after table. Sure, there were anti-bacable books, dvds and plastic shit too; but you know your kleptomaniac, germ-magnet isn’t going to choose something that can disappear into the ether after a couple of weeks. No, all we could do was wait and hope it wasn’t our sprog who picked the gargantuan cave-headed teddy (someone, somewhere was cackling into a flat white, safe in the knowledge that this humongous ball of polyester was no longer their charge).
As 3:10pm approached, the school yard was amass with the frisson of parental nerves. As the first babes bounded out, sighs of relief were palpable when across the playground as exonerated families headed home, leaving the rest of us to cope with the rising fear. It’s a numbers game, you see; the more that leave unscathed, the higher the chances it could be you.
Having two small humans to collect, I took a chance and opted for the younger. The General’s penchants tended more towards plastic crap so I considered him a safer bet. As the top of his head appeared over the classroom fence, his gait was unhindered by a feck-off huge teddy and I began to breathe easy for the first time in hours…that is until I saw the Monster. Clutched to his heart like a lost sibling was a lump of matted blue fluff with gangly limbs and a face that taunted me from afar. The smile on the General’s face was like nothing I’d seen before and it took all I had to muster up any form of positive adjective.
Throngs of parents stifled their sniggers and smugly guided their little ones away, as I went through the motions of collecting man cub #1 and his innocuous fluffy duck purchase. The walk home was a blur and once we were safely ensconced in the camp (boys snacked up in front of the TV) I surveyed the damage.
Would booze help?
Could I clean it?
Should I burn it?
It is kinder to just end it all?
No. I did the only thing I could when faced with such a dilemma. I boiled him (almost!)
The fact the matted fur looked slightly brighter and he smelt of laundry rather than abandonment began to calm me. The monster was now allowed out of quarantine and into the inner sanctum of our home – the bedroom.
UPDATE: I’d planned to post this several weeks ago but ironically a real life infestation has taken up much of my brain space of late. It’s been a few months since this all happened and I happy to report the Monster is now a fully fledged member of our family and still the best thing to happen to the General in recent times.
Stay home, stay safe peeps.