Wasty Presents: 1001 Shocks For Nightmares

What's That Terrible Thing!?

He sat in his office in a leather chair, smoked a thick cigar and read a newspaper. He was well fed and made a satisfied impression since he had just put the latest hot item on the market: rubber critters; spiders, snakes, insects, lizards and so on, all made of rubber. His name was Alex Wilson, was the president of this company, had no competition and made good money. He called for his secretary, Pit Brown, through the intercom: "Hey, Pit, why don't you call the factory and tell them that they should manufacture a rubber spider that moves. It is understood that it should be as realistic as possible. Who knows how long this business is booming," he added. "Okay, Alex," Pit ended. Afterwards Alex Wilson browsed through the lists of his inventions in various price categories:

Carnival: Delivered 750 units, Backordered 300 units
Department store: Delivered 900 units, Backordered 200 units per week

A few more lines followed, then:

Total revenue: $6,800

Happily he petted the soft snake on his overcrowded desk.
Eddie Brown, the son of Pit Brown, a secretary at 'Alex Wilson', had the afternoon off school and just arrived on his bicycle at the department store that was a few blocks away from his home. His peers had made him jealous with their rubber animals and now he wanted to own one too. He stepped through the air-conditioned entrance of the department store. Everywhere there were posters advertising the rubber monsters. Therefore the shelves with them were not hard to find. All kinds of critter with all kinds of effects in all kinds of price ranges were available.
He decided on a rubber spider that could be put in motion by a small, attached air pump. It would be great fun to scare his Mom who had an almost allergic reaction to spiders. He paid and drove back home.
In his room his painted the eyes of his purchase with neon paint and made the rest even more life-like. What fun this was going to be. He spent the rest of the afternoon trying out his monster. Many an old man or woman could be frightened with it. That was the important thing after all.
A small correction was necessary: Eddie made the tube from the air pump to the spider longer.
When it got dark he snuck to the basement. He knew exactly that his Mom checked if the cellar door was closed before going to bed.
The eyes of the spider shimmered ghostly in the dark basement. Suddenly they were hit by a beam of light that was caused by the opening of the cellar door. His Mom was coming. She turned on the shallow light. There was a spider web on the lamp. She got goosebumps because she got frightened by the slightest hint of a spider.
Mrs. Brown climbed down the stairs and Eddie pressed himself into his hiding place. Only a thin tube extended out from the closet. His Mom came and stared at the rubber spider in disgust. She was grossed out and stood still. She wanted to overcome her fear of spiders for a long time and forced herself to continue on. Then suddenly the rubber spider leaped towards Mrs. Brown. She saw a movement in the corner of her eyes and turned around. A black spider with greenish glowing eyes jumped at her. She dropped with a loud scream. She didn't move and her eyes were dull and distorted. Eddie snuck out of his hiding place. He was congratulated himself to the successful prank and wanted to go to his room with his spider of rubber but he got the feeling that he had to look after his Mom. Who could know of her fatal fear of spiders?
"Hey, Ma, wake up. It's me. That was just a prank." She didn't move and he touched her cheek. "Ma, what's the matter? Ma!" He shook her. He got cold water and poured it on her face but she wouldn't move. Then he felt for her pulse but didn't notice any. "Ma, damn, wake up! Ma? You're not dead, are you?" "Pa! Come here, please?" "What's the matter?" Pit Brown asked, standing at the top of the stairs. As he saw his wife motionless on the floor he ran down the stairs and kneeled next to her, hitting the air pump of the spider which immediately performed a jump. "What is this all about?" Pit asked Eddie and threw the spider away. He knew those things well. "What happened to Ma? Did she fall?" Eddie didn't know how to respond. "Oh my god! Get a doctor, quick!" he said concerned. Eddie rushed to the phone and dialed the number.
All the doctor could do was confirm the death by heart attack. His guilt almost killed Eddie and Pit was shattered. "I think Pa knows how Ma died," Eddie thought.
If Eddie had read the paper lately, he could have read that a survey and report of a renowned psychologist had yielded the result that spiders were considered some of the most scary animals in recent months. They could cause anything from hysteria to heart attacks, in rare cases even death. The source of the hysteria was still undiscovered. Surely, Alex Wilson must have read that article too.
After a week Pit Brown was over a big chunk of his pain and reported back to work. Right away he went for the office of the director and slammed the death notice and two related newspaper articles on the desk. "Here! I hold you responsible! You knew of the spider hysteria and you had those spiders made anyway! You - I...!" "Why anyway? I would say 'just because'. Plus, I am not interested in your private affairs," Alex Wilson jeered calmly. "I am resigning!" "That's your problem."
The new secretary, Dan Hauser, a serious professional, unlike Pit according to Alex, brought the latest newspaper to Mr. Wilson. An article on the second page said that the fear of spiders was declining but a new snake hysteria was rampant. The hysteria was unbelievable. One would have to expect deaths. That was the crucial part of the message. Alex depressed the intercom button and called for his secretary: "Oh, Mr. Hauser, please get in touch with the factory real quick. Have them manufacture a rubber snake. Consider that it should be as realistic as possible and can be made to move."
Already four days later the teenagers flocked to the department stores en masse to buy the new rubber snakes with spring mechanisms. Who knew, maybe they could scare their Moms or some other people with it?


Copyright © October 1980, Wasty, What's That Terrible Thing!?
German title: Kinderspielzeug
100 lines
Reading time: approx. 5 1/2 minutes


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Last updated February 12, 2001 by Martin Mathis, e-mail lastbandit.com