I lifted up the lid of the recycling container and threw the heavy, over-stuffed garbage bag in.
I looked down at it, for just a moment. Then I slammed it shut and walked away.
Six months ago, I had been sitting at my computer, drinking a beer and perusing Craigslist for free stuff. That’s when I saw it.
“Free to a good home: One Barney the Dinosaur (like) costume”
I called the number. Surely, it was already gone.
Nope. Against all odds, it was still available and to be my disbelief, would fit my 6’5″ frame. At least according to the guy on the phone, Jim.
I drove out to his house, about 45 minutes away, at the tip of Orange County.
Jim was a few inches shorter than me, I tried to push away the pangs of doubt in my mind. I would make it fit.
“You’re not one of them, plushies, right?” I assured him I wasn’t. “I’m not giving this thing to some weirdo who’s gonna get his jack off sauce all over it.”
I told him it was for some comedy videos I was going to shoot. He seemed OK with that.
It was truly spectacular. He confided in me that it was from the actual show. His buddy was a crewmember on it and had gotten drunk one night and swiped it. He said it was a backup, so nobody noticed for a while. Sure enough, it had electronics in the head to make the mouth and eyes move, but without the cables and batteries and stuff, they just stayed in place.
All in all, it was quite a find.
I didn’t ask him why he was getting rid of it. He seemed like he was going to second-guess his decision at any moment. When he finally handed it over, he gazed at it with a wistful look. Then he turned his back and shut the door, without a word.
The drive home seemed to take forever. I pulled into my driveway, yanked it out of the trunk and proceeded to lug it upstairs. It was heavy as shit. I took that as a sign of quality workmanship.
It took me a few tries to figure out the proper order to put it all on, but once I did and managed to lumber myself in front of a mirror, I was amazed.
It was Barney the fucking Dinosaur, looking back at me!
I pulled the head off and grabbed my cell phone. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends. As my buddy’s number started to ring, I hung up the phone.
A weird feeling had come over me. I didn’t want to share this. Those assholes would probably want to wear it too.
I didn’t want anyone else in here. I didn’t want their BO stinking it up.
That was a realistic concern as this thing was hot as balls.
Plus, who knows what they’d want to do with it? What if they ripped it or broke it in some way? Got it wet?
My mind reeled at all the awful possibilities.
I would definitely have to limit its use to only when I was around and I should probably be the one in the suit.
I could see that getting old though. I knew, at some point, my laziness would get the best of me. I would say, “You know what, I don’t want to drive out to Malibu, you just take the suit. Just be careful with it!” But they wouldn’t.
It would come back stained, or missing a glove. How the hell do you replace a glove from a Barney costume? I couldn’t just call up the TV studio and ask them, they’d know I had their stolen costume…
Stolen. That’s what this was. I couldn’t go around showing people! What an idiot! It was obvious this suit was the real thing, it didn’t look like any cheap knockoff. It probably cost them thousands of dollars. I would guess 7. Seven thousand dollars.
Someone would see me in a video on YouTube and think, “hey, that’s our fucking suit!” Then I’d be in jail.
No, it was becoming clear that this was going to have to be my secret.
And that’s what it became. Each day, I would take it up to the attic and hide it behind the air conditioning pump. Then, every morning when my girlfriend and my roommates would leave for work, I would climb up there, bring it down and put it on.
At first, it was just fun to caper about, chasing the dog around. Moving those stubby purple arms around made me laugh every time.
But then it became something more. It was comforting. I began to feel at home inside my purple suit of fuzzy armor.
I started taking naps in it. One time, I woke up to the sound of the garage door opening. I had just moments to take it off and quickly shove it into the closet before my girlfriend arrived.
“Why are you sweating?” She asked me, alarmed.
“Umm, I was masturbating,” was the best I could do.
“To what??” She asked.
“To this,” I answered, grabbing under the bed for the closest thing available.
Unfortunately for me, it was the photo book of her as a baby.
“Right…” She slowly backed out of the room.
My roommates had also begun to ask questions, like why it was always so cold in the house when they got home. The utilities had gone up almost 600% in the past few months and it wasn’t even summer.
I felt as if the walls were closing in around me. It was only a matter of time before someone would come home early or stay home sick without telling me and walk out into the hallway to find me in my room, singing along to songs on the radio in my costume.
It had begun to consume my whole life. I was turning down invitations to have lunch with my friends, because I felt my time in the suit was too precious to waste on the likes of them. I dreaded the arrival of weekends.
I became withdrawn and would snap at my girlfriend for what I would consider slights against the suit. The one whose existence she didn’t even know of!
All of this was too much for me. I couldn’t help but think back, knowingly, to the look on Jim’s face as he handed over his most prized possession.
Surely, there was some lesson here about getting something you really like but not being able to use it. Like a myth, or something? That sounds really familiar.
Anyway, I can see why he questioned me about the plushie thing. As I began to contemplate ditching my beloved Barney suit, I would think about it falling into the hands of some sick scumbag who might use it for his own perverted kicks. It almost made me throw up inside the head. Come to think of it, that might not have been a terrible solution.
Instead, I decided that it needed to be destroyed.
I laid it out on the bed, one last time. It deserved to spend its last day on earth in freedom, not cooped up in the attic.
I got in my car and drove off to Home Depot. I purchased a medium-quality chainsaw and returned home.
To my horror, my girlfriend’s car was in the driveway. I had left the suit out on the bed. My horrible secret had been discovered.
I tried to collect myself, as I got out of the car. I went to the trunk and I looked down at the chainsaw. I knew what I had to do.
I quietly tip-toed up the stairs, holding the chainsaw out in front of me. One hand on the bar and one on the pull cord. I figured that I could swing it at her to knock her off balance. That would give me enough time to start it up and begin my terrible deed.
I poked my head around the corner, there was nobody in the room, just the suit, still splayed out on the bed.
“What are you doing?” She asked, from behind me.
I turned around, holding the chainsaw, looking guilty.
“Um, nothing. Hey.”
“Where’d you get that suit? It’s awesome! Hey, you weren’t going to cut it up or something, were you?” She asked, looking down at the chainsaw.
“What? Um, no. Of course not. You like it?”
“Yeah, it’s awesome,” she said, “It’s too cool to show anybody though, you should just wear it around the house after everyone’s left, or when it’s just the two of us.”
I was in shock. This is everything I had always wanted to hear!
“Since you’ve got that chainsaw, do you mind cutting up the armoire and taking it to the recycling center?” she asked.
“Aww, but that’s the one you got from your boss! You love that thing!”
“I know, but it’s just too big, there isn’t enough room,” she seemed sad, but I knew she’d get over it.
I gave her a hug and did as she requested.
As I hoisted the bag containing the cut-up contents of the armoire into the recycling bin, I paused for a moment to consider what a great girlfriend I had and how I had almost murdered her for no reason!