Fear The Chuck E. Cheese
Chuck E. Cheese is actually the place your worst nightmares are terrified to enter. Underneath that ball pit lies a murky darkness waiting to chew you up and spit you out. When Charlie, the hero of this tale, entered the building, a piercing chill ran up his spine. He didn’t know why, but with every step he took, a tight, unrelenting panic began to form in his chest. He couldn’t cry out, for no noise was able to escape his person. Goosebumps ran up and down his exposed arms, warning him of imminent danger. From where? He would find that out far too soon. Luckily, Charlie wore his brown pants that day, for he was going to need them.
What else could he do? He brought a tentative, begrudging smile to his weary face, because he worked as the manager (despite making barely more than his employees), and he had to greet the customers today. There’s no amount of money in the world that Charlie would have accepted if he knew the venom and fury that was about to walk through that small entrance with her two grand kids.
Charlie Quaked With Fear
Let’s backtrack a bit. Charlie actually did enjoy his job. The pay wasn’t great, and the prices fluctuated seemingly without warning (as much as he tried to explain to grouchy customers), but it was a stable job, which Charlie desperately needed. It began like any other ordinary day, the property full of children going berserk, with their desperate parents and relatives struggling to follow them throughout the play areas and video games. Charlie felt an instinctive fear that day, for that day would be burned into his memory for decades to come. As Charlie puts it, “This is where we met the most stubborn, evil, old hag I’ve ever thought one could meet. And working where I work, I’ve met a lot.”
While Charlie returned from replacing the ticket machines, he saw one of his poor staff members being annihilated but an irate woman. Jamal was an affable, soft-spoken employee, often using a skillful levelheadedness that his peers envied him for. He was one of the few other African-American employees at this place, so Charlie felt the need to support him however he could. Today, Jamal was on the verge of bursting with tears. Charlie had never seen one of his, frankly, coolest employees be reduced to a child-like sense of fear.
The woman, who certainly could have been a practicing witch based on her attire, stood in front of Jamal while steadily increasing her noise level. The two meek children sheepishly looked over at Charlie, possessing a wizened sense of awareness about the whole situation. They didn’t want to be in this ensuing mess, but they had no say; they were just young children. This witch, who loudly let it known her name was Agatha, and she was an excellent grandmother, was quickly morphing into something unruly and dangerous. Charlie quickly grabbed Jamal in order to support his tried and true employee. Charlie could clearly see that Jamal wasn’t going to make it. Charlie had handled his fair share of angry parents. But when he stepped in, the fear residing in his chest only became more pronounced in front of this evil woman. Agatha must have anticipated Charlie’s capability, because she seemed to resist Charlie’s efforts at every turn with more and more vitriol.
Wicked, Dastardly Agatha
Agatha clearly didn’t know the process for checking children in and out of the facility. Each kid and their guardian would receive a matching stamp in invisible ink, so the employees could make sure that each kid left with their specific adult. Agatha didn’t give two farts about how the building kept track of people, because her grand kids were apparently above it all. She turned her nose up at Charlie after Charlie plainly asked what was the matter.
“Why are you stamping us?! We don’t need a STAMP.”
Charlie sighed, though he tried not to let too much of his frustration out. “Ma’am, the stamps are so that no one leaves with any of your kids. They’re only supposed to leave with y’all.”
Agatha probably would have had the same reaction if Charlie had spat in her face, so it’s not like there was a point to his desperate attempt at niceties. Nevertheless, Charlie maintained a broken smile while being completely derailed by this woman.
“Well, my Mortimer and Minerva are too little to get a stamp!” Agatha exclaimed, gesturing towards her shy grandchildren. Mortimer looked up at Charlie, his eyes begging the manager to make this torture end before it became violent.
Charlie and Jamal both gulped with fear. Charlie often thinks back to how, “This woman is glaring at us in a way I thought only possible by demons, and perhaps very, very irate cats.”
Agatha would shift her glare and a wicked snarl between the two employees, bracing herself as if she was about to pounce on her next delicious meal.
Layers Upon Layers of Terrifying Hatred
Agatha knew what would get under their skin. She knew exactly how to traumatize these poor, defenseless African-American men. She planted her feet, looked at both men, and she said, “Oh good. Another one. Y’all must breed like roaches.”
When reviewing these events in his minds, Charlie was always struck by how Agatha said that, “In what is such a casual tone, she might have been talking about the weather.”
Charlie and Jamal sputtered. Did she just say what they thought she was saying? What?! The two men stared at her. Charlie tentatively raises his hands in a desperate effort to find some sort of peace. “Ma’am. If your kids cannot be stamped, we have stickers for them. But we cannot let you in otherwise.” Charlie was trying so hard not to shake, but the steely glare of this woman was so hateful. It took all the effort he had to not run out of the building and leave his job right there.
Minerva, the older of the two small grand kids tries to interject with a faint “Gammy-“, but Agatha didn’t care. Charlie will always remember how, “This hellspawn of a human turned and immediately hissed at her.”
“Shush! Gammy. Is Talking.” Agatha’s intensity frightened the little girl. Her eyes widened even more, and she held onto her brother as if he was a life preserver. Agatha returned to the two doomed Chuck E. Cheese employees. She wants the manager. Now. She will not accept anything else. She screeches over Charlie’s shoulder. “Can I speak to a manager please?! Hello?! I need some help!”
Charlie, who clearly had a ‘MANAGER’ label on his front pocket, didn’t know how to react. This malicious woman clearly cared more about the gum on her show than the two employees simply due to their skin color, was there any possible way to mediate this? The answer was an emphatic no; we haven’t even seen how devious Agatha truly is yet.
Agatha’s Going To Throw Her In The Trash!
Charlie sputtered, trying to hold up his label and indicate that he was, in fact, the manager. Agatha drew a wicked sneer and soldiered on with her verbal massacre. “Well someone like you ain’t no help to someone like me.”
“Ma’am. I am a manager, and any other manager will tell-“
Agatha silenced him with her booming voice, shouting to another nearby employee. “HELLO! AH, YOU! HEY! SWEETIE! CAN YOU GO GET YOUR MANAGER FOR ME?”
Agatha frantically waved her arms at the other employee manning the register. This employee, who had no idea of the horror unfolding by the entrance, merely gave a confused look to Charlie. “He’s … right there ma’am?” she indicates towards Agatha and Charlie.
Well Agatha certainly didn’t appreciate being taken for a fool. She had to unleash her next stage of hysterics. This time, she would get physical. She jabbed a bony, claw-like finger into Charlie and shrieked, “Where is YOUR manager then? I want to speak to YOUR boss! Why won’t you just let me and my babies go in?!”
Minerva and Mortimer, seeming to shrink down in fear with every piercing word their grandmother uttered, tried to speak up once again. Minerva replied tentatively with, “Gammy, Mommy and Da-“
Agatha turned onto her own grand kids too. No one would be allowed to talk back to her, regardless of familial relations. “Shush, before Gammy throws you in the trash like Daddy should have!”
The two kids’ faces went completely white. Charlie noticed that Minerva was hiding a small cellphone in her partially obscured hand. It looked like she was alreayd on a call with someone.
That was the final straw for Charlie and Jamal. Not only was she genuinely evil and racist, now she involved her poor, innocent grandchildren? Was this how she always talked to them? What happened amongst these three people behind closed doors? Charlie and Jamal were at a loss. Obviously they were dealing with crazy. No amount of rational discussion was going to do anything for this monstrous woman. Was violence really going to be the answer?
Agatha Reveals Her True Horrors
Well according to Jamal, violence was definitely going to have to be the answer. Charlie noticed the subtle movements: Jamal pulled his shoulders back and straightened his figure, sucking in a breath, about the completely go off on this heinous woman. Charlie quickly nudged him, trying to defuse the tension. Jamal wasn’t going to be any help, so Charlie hushed him and sent him back to get the other manager on duty that day. Jamal was glad to be able to exit this war-zone. At this point, Minerva was sniffling, while Mortimer was outright bawling his eyes out in fear.
Agatha wouldn’t let anyone stand in her way. She continues to rave about finding another manager and how it was clearly all Charlie’s fault for how horribly things had escalated in this brief yet devastating window of time. Thank goodness the other manager, Seth, was alerted and came rushing over to the scene. Right as he arrived, Agatha delivered her final, horrifying blow. She plainly stated, “This is why you people shouldn’t be getting jobs like this.”
Except she didn’t say “you people”. She said a much uglier, grotesque slur that sliced through Charlie like a hot knife in butter.
Charlie felt like an ugly stain in the eyes of this woman. There would be no getting through to this malicious beast. If Charlie didn’t at least try to end things quickly, who knows what else would fall under Agatha’s rampage? How many other people would be stomped on in the name of a simple children’s stamp? With the most painful smile he had ever expressed in his life, Charlie uttered a quiet, “Ma’am. I’m going to have to ask you to leave. If you do not vacate the premises, I will be calling the police.”
“Are you threatening me?!” Agatha asked, her face contorted into both outrage and pure evil.
“No ma’am. I’m promising.”
Agatha launched another verbal assault, at this point sputtering beyond comprehension. Right at that exact moment, the hero that Charlie, Seth, Jamal, Minerva, and Mortimer desperately needed, opened the front doors to this toxic Chuck E. Cheese. As if it was a sign from high above, this man was about to right all of these terrifying wrongs.
Could The Nightmare Possibly Be Over?
Charlie was absolutely stunned. He remembered how, “In comes my hero, who storms through those doors like a hurricane given life.” He was broad shouldered, with tattoos ensnaring his arms from shoulders to wrists. He would have looked more at home in a wrestling ring than a children’s entertainment facility. He was Agatha’s son, and he did not like what he saw. “Mom. What are you doing here?”
Agatha turns around, staring up at her hulking son. “Oh Arthur!” she replies in a voice as sweet at candy. “Finally you’re here! Would you please tell this nice young man that he can let us in now! I was telling him we needed to wait for you and we were just chatting!”
Arthur gave a quick glance towards his trembling young children, and to a visibly shaken Charlie, who was doing his best to stave off a panic attack.
“Why are Minerva and Mortimer crying?”
“Oh they got scared of the stamps, the young man right here didn’t listen when I told him they don’t like stamps-“
Arthur cut his mother off with a booming, “Agatha stop. Just stop. Minerva called me and my wife already, I could hear you. I heard everything from when you started shrieking.” Arthur reached for his kids in a protective hug. The look of relief spread instantaneously across their faces.
Minerva’s plastic flip phone fell to the floor, the evidence finally presenting itself. Arthur turned to his mother, who was trying her best to appear as wizened and innocent as she could. “You’re done. My wife and I agreed this time. You don’t deserve to see these kids anymore, my kids, who you ‘love’ so much’. Get out. Go home.”
Agatha would never simply follow orders, even from her intimidating son. Crocodile tears poured form her face as she shrieked, “YOU CAN’T DO THAT TO YOUR MOTHER!”
Arthur turned around, veins pulsing in his face as he bent down towards his vile mother. With a breathtaking rumble, he uttered, “Leave, before I carry you out. I’ll throw you in the trash right here.”
Agatha was at a complete loss for words. She ran as fast as she could from the establishment, wailing and shrieking even when she got to the parking lot. Was Arthur victorious? Was it safe for the rest of them now?
Agatha Will Haunt His Nightmares Forever
Arthur, with his two small children wrapped up in each arm, makes his way over to a stunned and wide-eyed Charlie. “I’m sorry about that,” Arthur mutters, a bashful look spreading across his wide face.
Charlie, frightened and still reeling from such an unbelievable turn of events, stammered out, “No problem! Would your kids like to have something off our prize wall?” Minerva and Mortimer picked out two very large stuffed animals, hugging them as the broken family finally exited this building, seemingly removing the pressure that had been building up for quite some time.
Charlie and Seth simply stared at each other. Was this nightmare finally over? Neither of them could breathe a sigh of relief, the fear of Agatha still gripping their hearts. And that’s how it would be for quite some time. Charlie couldn’t speak for Seth or Jamal, but at least four times a week he would wake up in a fright, sweat dripping from his face, trying to catch his breath. His dreams were poisoned by the image and sound of Agatha, her racist tirade searing itself into Charlie’s skull. It would take years of therapy, meditation, and frankly, a lot of crying before Charlie would feel somewhat normal again. He kept the Chuck E. Cheese job for a little while longer, trying to focus on the dependability and the steady paycheck. But the place was like a haunted house to him, there was no way he could stay there forever. He looked forward to the next chapter in life, all while Agatha crept up in his subconscious, waiting for her next strike.