This Warning Must Be Posted At All Exits

Dearest children: I welcome you to my modest trailer, and I thank you for your participation in my child’s birthday celebration. I know that Stumper thanks you as well, and I must say that never in his eight years on this earth has he seemed more jocund than at this time, surrounded by his closest well-wishers. In a few moments, we will conclude this wonderful gathering my motoring across town to Faceburger, where I hope we can all share a warm and nutritious luncheon. But I think it only fair to warn you of the possible consequences of misbehaving in a public restaurant. I’m certain that you, my son’s fine playfellows, would never dream of such behavior--but as I say, there are things that must be spoken of.

It all happened on my child’s seventh birthday, just one year ago today. That day was as bright and cubulent as any I have ever known. On that day, too, my wife and myself took Stumper and the children in the Pacer to Faceburger, a favorite bistro of my son’s and I know one of yours. All was going well when we ordered our nutriment and sat down with the nine priceless tots around the table. It seemed to be the end to a perfect day.

But then, all went nightmarishly wrong. I blame myself, of course! Had I only warned those children of the dangers of rambunctious deportment in a public custom house, perhaps some of them might have been saved. As it was, we all got halfway through our meals when a small boy of nine named Bip began to argue with his pal Frankie about the median length of each other’s french fried potatoes. I admonished the children and beseeched them to be silent! But they would not listen. Soon the shenanigans increased twofold, spreading from child to child. Hair was pulled....yes, meat was thrown. Several of the children began to run in meaningless concentric circles. And this miscreantic horseplay is what prompted the attack of the most fearsome creature known to childkind: The Great Purple Snagdurple.

The Snagdurple, a Lovecraftian dybbuk with the body of Winnie the Pooh and the head of a Cloverfield, burst without caveat through a side wall of Faceburger, catching us all unawares, sending the restaurant staff fleeing for cover. Instantly the carnage began. Bip, the child who had seemingly started it all, was scooped off the floor and decapitated with one snapping of the creature’s lusty jaws. Dark blood spouted in a pulpy river from the stump of his neck, while inside the Snagdurple’s cavernous mouth, his saliva-slicked head begged for forgiveness. Two young twin brothers--Emo and Zeb I believe were their names--were trampled into stinking ichor by the Snagdurple’s barbed feet. Their teeth were scattered like shrapnel. Little Emo, who just days before had been the happiest of boys, having found on the street an autographed photo of the first lady of the American Theater, Miss Helen Hayes, was also one of my son’s closest confidantes. There was nothing left of him to identify but a spleen torn messily in half, its severed veins having nowhere to pump their gushing bounty. Darling Trishy was next! Trishy whose pigtails had been captured in many an adorable photograph! I last remember seeing her brain sucked from her skull like a rancid prune and inhaled through one of the monster’s steaming nostrils.

Oh, foul Abaddon! But what could I do? I had thought the children might understand what were the consequences of tomfoolery! I took my wife and Stumper in my arms and made for daylight while all around me unfolded a hellish spectacle of bloody violence--the shouts, the shrieks, the cubulent sound of eyes and tongues slapping wetly off the weeping walls. I don’t know how I managed to regain my senses long enough to call for an air strike which transformed the building--and some of the slower customers--into a seething mass of fire and ash.

Where is the Snagdurple today? No one knows. Perhaps he lies in wait around the corner of the nearest hamburger foodery, waiting for one child to call another a boogerhead, to order lots of food and then not eat it, to raise his or her voice just one tiny decibel too high. Dear children, I know that you are of a maturity far beyond your years, and that I have nothing to fear. Still I beg you: let the killing stop. Let us go now to the vehicle and begin the last phase of this day. If you gawky little bastards are all good, perhaps the afternoon will begin a new, safer era, and perhaps there will later be an hour of Transformer time for all.