Alien Al

I can recite the entire contents of a book called “Alien Al”.

On the last page of the book, there is a light sensor, and when the page is turned, “spacey disco” music pours forth, and a John Travolta lookalike alien stares back, grooving away with bell bottoms and silk shirt, one alien finger pointed to the sky. Sparkly inlaidpaper makes the picture. We have three such books. “Dizzy Dragon”, and “Charlie Monkey”, each with sounds on the last page, and equally corny illustrations to pique the interest of children.

My son loves them, and drags them over to us to read during play time. He leaves them open on the floor. The books are massive, and he can turn the cardboard pages himself, big smiles each time the “noise page” is reached. Also, the googly eyes on each character’s illustration get him giggling.

I am going to run screaming into the corner of the room and gibber the day he discovers the light sensor in the page and can manipulate it himself to play the sound over, and over, and over….

I awoke last night to the electronic beeping of the books “sounding off”. First the dragon book, then the alien book. The quieter buzz of the last page of “Charlie Monkey” puncutated between disco and a royal assent of trumpets. Our living room was possessed, or for some reason, all three books, left open from our son’s playtime that evening, were malfunctioning as one. My husband could likely sleep through bombs being dropped, so he continued to snore as I lay in the dark on our bed, cursing silently and debating on whether to leave the books to let the battery run down or go fix them.

A mental image of my son’s goofy, grinning face urged me out of bed and down the hall to quiet them.

I blearily entered the living room to close the books, wondering what in the name of all that was Holy would be making the books go off. My eyes were greeted with blazing light from outside, and I realized that someone was flashing their headlights on and off down the street, and the light change was just enough to set off the sensors in each of the books.

I made a mental note to box the ears of the neighbour’s teenage children, and to close the books before bed every night, to prevent errant triggers from headlights bouncing through the front bay windows into our living room.

As I put the books back on the shelf, closed and impervious to adolescent logic at 3 AM, I bumped one of the toy bins. A plaintive “Its work time!” muffled out from the bottom of the bin. My son’s play tool bag (complete with hammer, saw, screwdriver, and hex keys) was now thwarting my need for sleep. Upon rummaging, it continuing to go off with various phrases and silly, high-pitched laughter.

I turned off the toy, and cursed the inventor of the battery powered baby toy to all levels of torture as I went back to bed.


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