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Stories, Poems and Humor
Left Book Haunted Toy Shop
by Unknown
Right Book

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When my mom went back to work, she started her own business, which was a small toyshop in a small shopping center just off Braddock road in Virginia. She called it The MusicBox Toystore, because the owner kept a beautiful carved musicbox next to the old cash register on the counter, which seemed to play a new tune every time you opened it. But all the other toys were practically antiques - old Atari games, He-man toys, ancient transformers. "We'll unload all this at a sale," my mom said, "and then take the money and buy better toys." She knew a lot of toymakers around the state, too, who would let her sell their toys on commission, where she paid them just if she sold something. So we had some new toys bought from factories, and new toys brought by the toymakers from down in the mountains, and folks began coming into the store with Christmas only a month away, and even Dad stopped looking worried all the time, when the haunting began.

At first, we thought it was burglars. I rode my bike over to the store, after school, only to find Mom putting up shelves that had fallen the night before, and trying to fix packages of toys that had been opened. "The police can't find any sign of a break-in," she said. But the next night, it happened again. And then again, the night after that - with all the windows nailed shut, and the door triple-locked with a deadbolt. So the fourth night, the whole family decided to camp out in the shop to see what was happening - Mom, Dad, me, and Rufus our dog who is mostly Labrador. We hid behind the counter, where the old cash register was, and just waited. I fell asleep, but right before midnight, Dad woke me to see what was going on.

Three of the ugliest, slimiest, wartiest, hairiest, just plain nastiest looking ghosts were running all over the shop, pulling toys out of packages, throwing them across the room, and dumping them helter-skelter all over the floor. Mom finally had enough of watching, and strode out into the room. "See here, you ghosts," she said. "This is my toyshop, and who are you to behave in this outrageous fashion?"

"I'm the ghost of the lost toy assembling instructions," said the one who was pulling the toys out of packages, and tearing up all the assembly booklets.

"I'm the ghost of toys that break the same day you get them," said the one who was throwing the toys across the room and crunching them underfoot.

"And I'm the ghost of toys which lose pieces which are extremely small but very important," said the third ghost, who was dumping every box in sight on the floor and mixing all the parts together. "And I also am a substitute for the ghost of no-batteries included, because he's off on vacation."

Mom strode squarely into their midst, and Dad, Rufus and I followed. "Go somewhere else," said Mom. "There are a lot bigger toy stores at bigger shopping malls. Go haunt them."

"Yeah, sure," said the ghost of toys that break the same day you get them, and stepped deliberately on a china figurine, crushing it

"This is home," explained the ghost of toys which lose pieces, "and you bought us such nice new toys to ruin."

Mom was really steamed, plus she saw several hundred dollars worth of inventory getting trashed by the ghosts, so she thought fast. "Fine," she said. "Take it all. I don't care. Just don't go into the music box on the counter."

"We wouldn't fit," said the ghost of lost assembly instructions, tearing a manual in half with his teeth.

"Of course you won't fit," said Mom. "I never saw three sorrier-looking, less powerful ghosts."

"Says you," said the ghost of lost pieces. "Just watch me," and he shrank to no bigger than a thimble, and went inside the music box.

"Clearly a ghost superior to the other two," said Mom. And then the ghost of toys which break the day you get them, just to prove her wrong, shrank to no bigger than a lima bean, and went inside the music box.

"Who's small now?" he taunted Mom.

"Guess you're just no good as a ghost," she said to the ghost of lost assembly instructions, who stuck out his tongue at her, and shrank to no bigger than a green pea, and went inside the music box.

"Guess that proved you wrong," said the third ghost.

"Guess so," said Mom, and she slammed the musicbox lid shut on all three ghosts. So Mom, Dad, Rufus and I drove out that night to the county dump, where she released the ghosts.

"You can break, tear, dump, kick, throw and generally raise a ruckus here all you want," Dad said, "and no one will care." The ghosts looked around, and kicked a few tires, and threw a few old cars across the dump, and decided that it was far nicer than the toyshop.

The next day, we cleaned up the toyshop one last time, and from then on, everything stayed where it belonged, with no packages broken into and no pieces scattered, and people began coming to the store, and buying toys for Christmas, and we never heard from the ghosts again. Except the ghost of no batteries included, who returned to the shop one week later from his vacation. He said he'd never liked the other ghosts anyway, but instead of moving back into the toyshop, he moved into a computer store and took up residence inside a laptop computer, where he still lives today, happily ever after.



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