"Mama! I can't find Monkey Baby," said my teary little boy, his grip on my slacks threatening embarrassment.
"He must be here," I soothed, uncurling his little vice grips from my legs and hiking up my pants. "You just had him a minute ago. I just saw him."
But lo … Monkey Baby — a recent purchase and identical to a Monkey Baby his sister adopted the week prior — was nowhere to behold.
Three weeks of sifting through garbage, moving furniture and scuttling through toy boxes proved fruitless.
It's a little more than creepy if you ask me.
The phenomenon of the sock missing from the dryer is nothing compared to the mystery of the black hole that has apparently formed somewhere in our home. It absconds with toys.
And not just broken playthings, or old, unused or annoying things that some nefarious parent-like person might store away in a cardboard box in the garage for a two-week trial period.
Typically, in such toy abductions, if the disappearance goes unnoticed, the plastic hostages are sent on vacation to the lovely and exciting lands of Salvation and Goodwill.
Ahem. Not that I would know anything about such things. …
This toy black hole sucks in some of our new and more expensive toys, never to be seen nor heard from again. Like Monkey Baby, whose replacement was engineered by a special shopping expedition.
I mentioned the plight to our babysitter, and her eyes widened.
"You're KIDDING me!" she exclaims in a way that made the hair on my neck stand up. "Buzz Lightyear and the Batman Cape have disappeared from my house, too. They were there and then they were gone. I've even moved the furniture. Poof, gone."
I didn't know what to say. My mind was spinning out of control. "Is there a hole in the universe that takes toys? Because, really, this stuff is just GONE. It would totally explain why the Toy Story trilogy is so compelling: it's partly based in fact …"
I'd gone over the edge of Reality into the chasm of Just Plain Silly.
"It must be here," she said in a calm, measured voice. "Eventually this stuff will turn up."
She's right, I tell myself. Our houses are warrens of nooks and crannies. There are any number of places toys might be deposited and overlooked. …
But I don't really believe. …
The phone rings. It is Ittybit asking if I will bring "Amy," the expensive dolly her Amah gave her. She forgot it and Amah has splurged on new clothes.
I think nothing of the request until after I search her bedroom, the toy bins and even my closet where Ittybit has been known to play with her plastic doppelganger.
I ask my husband to check the house … he comes up with nothing either.
I call the babysitter, it's a long shot but I have to try.
"Have you seen Amy, Ittybit's super-expensive-grandma-doll? I can't find it anywhere. She didn't take it to your house, did she?"
"Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen that doll," she replied.
And then there was that eerie silence.
"There has to be a simple explanation," she says, hopefully.
"Yeah. I'm sure you're right. I bet Amy's just off some place playing Super Heroes with Monkey Baby and Buzz."