Until today, I hated Chuck-E-Cheese. It is loud. It is sticky. I generally do not enjoy pizza. I hate video games. Nothing in there offers me any sort of entertainment. And? I find most of the people in there intolerable. Maybe it is just the Chuck-E-Cheese near us, but it seems to attract a very low class crowd. I don't mean financially. I mean actual lack of class. Adults who go out of their way to cut in front of children who have patiently been waiting in line. Multitudes of people stealing tickets and tokens to redeem them on God knows what. Seriously. What on earth do you really need a pink plastic ring so badly for that you would steal tickets from a six-year-old? I just typically can't tolerate it. But today? Today brought a new form of entertainment.
Jill was bribed. Her talking in school had become such a problem, I resorted to drastic measures. I. Was. Willing. To. Go. To...... Chuck-E-Cheese. Earn all "S's" in conduct, go to Chuck-E-Cheese with a friend on Saturday. For the first time all year, she brought home a perfect conduct report. Damn. Oh, I mean, "Way to go JILL!" So to CEC, we went. At least this time Emmi didn't come, so we could sit back in a booth while Jill and her friend ran around and played. I brought a book. Kenny played some games. It was somewhat tolerable.
"I just can't believe how many little kids will try to steal tickets from you," Kenny said, as he slid back into the booth. "Some little girls were trying to take my tickets a few minutes ago."
"Yeah, I just had to shoo two girls away from Jill. She just sets her cup down with all of her tokens. I saw them eyeing it."
In the middle of this conversation, as if the gods are watching and laughing, the two girls run past and see a token Jill abandoned on our table. One of them reaches for it, her finger tips touch the token before she realizes the table is not empty. Kenny and I stare in shock, then choke out laughter.
"Did she really just try to steal that right off of our table? Those were the girls I was talking about!"
Kenny looks at me laughing. "No! Those were the two trying to steal my tickets."
Little thieves! They can't be more than 11 or 12.
Kenny starts laughing. He has a mischievous look in his eye.
"I'm going to put a token on the floor by foot, and see how long it take them to try to steal it."
It takes them less than two minutes. I timed it. Kenny and I laugh hysterically. They don't seem to notice. They are concentrating too hard on their strategy for how to steal it.
They make one pass. Then another. They stop, stand to the side, whisper, pointing directions. They walk past slower. Just as one of the girls bends down, Kenny stretches, moving his foot over the token. The girl's disappointment in palpable. They, however, are not deterred.
They choose the game closest to us, one playing, the other standing off to the side near our table. She shuffles around a bit. She eyes us. Kenny and I pretend to watch Jill play a game nearby. The girl scoots closer. She looks at her shoes. She starts to bed over. And? Kenny turns toward me, moving his foot over the token again. The girl looks close to tears. Me? I am also close to tears. Tears of joy!
Yet still, the girls are not willing to give up. They discuss their plan, not bothering to lower their voices. "Just take it," one of the girls pressures the other! The go in for yet another pass. This time, Jill walks up, oblivious to our game. She stands directly on top of the token. I think, perhaps, the two girls might fall over from all of the squirming they are doing. It is almost too much for them. For what must seem to them like twenty minutes, Jill counts her tickets, all while standing on their pot of gold. They scoot closer to our table. They are practically standing on top of Jill.
Kenny and I are laughing so hard there are tears in our eyes. We can no longer hide that we are watching them. The girls retreat. But they do not give up on that token. They watch. They wait. They see us packing up the table. They watch us get up. What they have missed is Kenny smoothly scooping up the token. It is snugly in the palm of his hand. Yet they wait. They watch us walk all the way to the prize counter. When they think we are no longer looking, they run, knocking over younger children along the way. The skid to a stop at our empty table. They look at each other confused. They take turns looking under the table. They check the seat. They both turn small circles. They don't get it. Slowly they look back towards us, where I am doubled over laughing and Kenny stands, holding the token up for them to see.
Next time, we are bringing a camera and some fishing line. We figure we can make this game way more interested with a little help.