7 of 13 people found this review helpful
28 June, 2014
Imagine this scenario. You're a new parent in the throes of sleepless nights, followed by jittery caffeine rushes between feedings, interspersed with trips to the baby store for that ONE THING you forgot (forty-five trips later); sorting through baby shower gifts and thoughtful notes, when lo! You discover among a landfill's worth of wrapping paper and half-opened boxes, the Go Baby Go! 1-2-3 Crawl Along Snail. You didn't remember receiving it at the shower or in the mail before the birth. Perhaps someone dropped it off while you were trying desperately to sleep for three minutes in the middle of the kitchen floor while sterilizing bottles with the microwave steamer? No. No one BOUGHT you this toy. No one GAVE it to you. It appeared. You acquired it, mysteriously, like all of those twist ties that multiply in your junk drawer. You pick it up and turn it over in your hand. 'Who gave this to us?' you wonder vaguely, but are too exhausted to think of further. It's what the Snail wants. It's been WAITING. Bright and colorful, and in the light of day, the songs sound cheerful; the yellow flashing light in the face of the Snail perfect for drawing a baby's attention; the music fun and light. You turn it on, and thus have made a mistake. You have given Snail life.
A month goes by. Maybe two. At first your child isn't interested in Snail at all, so you shove it in the closet for the time being. But the snail is patient. Snail waits. One day, you are celebrating your first born's attempt at rolling over. Your child sees Snail. Snail sees child. You, Parent, do not even remember taking Snail out of the closet. Maybe Partner did. But, no. Snail knows the time has come, and has brought itself from the closet. The tiny, pure, innocent infant hand reaches out and gives Snail a hearty smack! Snail flashes. Snail giggles. Snail sings. Child startles and cries in fear. Snail enjoys the tears.
You turn the switch off and comfort your child as any parent would do, and remove Snail from the room. But Snail isn't interested in your child. No, not anymore. Snail has fed on the salty tears of your baby, and now it wants to ruin YOU. It is now 3am and your child is sleeping better than you could have imagined. It is the first night you've been able to complete a REM cycle. But you won't because Snail is there. In the hallway outside your door, perhaps. Or maybe on the floor at the foot of your bed. Sometimes Snail is in the room across the hall. Just as true peace and rest descend upon your home for the first time in months, Snail acts. The cheerful yellow light flashes with an acidic pallor in the darkness. The laughter is that of ghostly children from the horror movies of old. The songs are a sinister promise. You wake from your sleep, heart pounding and a scream stuck in your throat. How did Snail get here?! It was put away! It was switched off!
Over the next few weeks, Snail takes his pleasure in your suffering because Snail knows its time in your home is short. But Snail makes the most of it. It scares you awake several times a week. Whenever you put Snail out of sight, Snail returns. Snail always returns. You stub your toes on Snail at all hours of the day and night. Your child kicks it down the hall and runs away to play with less frightening things, like spiders and clowns. Until one day, Snail's time has come. Snail is no longer "age appropriate." You tie Snail up tightly in a garbage bag, you do not have the heart to donate it. And with great relief, comes Trash Day. You watch from your living room window with a steaming cup of coffee as sanitation workers take Snail away, the sun rising and spilling into your home for the first time in many months. Your heart becomes immeasurably lighter thinking that Snail is finally gone forever. But Snail is still out there, somewhere. Drinking the tears of babies and making parents question their disbelief in hauntings.