HUMOR/Frank Lingo

Cuddly Conspirator

NEWS BRIEF: The National Security Agency has deemed the child's toy, Furby, to be a security risk, due to its recording and playback capability. The doll is banned from NSA facilities.

In my extinguished career as a cracked investigative reporter for the Washington Whitewasher, I've had to meet highly placed, reliable, anonymous and unimpeachable sources at a lot of shadowy clandestine places, but Toys 'R Us was a new one.

Yet there I was, strolling among the trolls and teddy bears, waiting for the word from an informant. There were many talking toys chattering from the shelves with standard messages, like "I love you" and "Take me home, kid, or I'll kill your parents," but the utterance from one cuddly critter who said, "John Foster Dulles, 1947," convinced me it was my mark.

"What's all this I hear about you being a threat to national security?" I asked.

"Sshhhh," said the fuzzbudget Furby. "There's some big ears and blabbermouths around here. Take me somewhere we can be alone."

I carried the doll over to the toy blocks aisle and set it down. Then it starting sneezing. "Awfully dusty here," it whined.

"You want privacy or not?" I snapped.

"Yeah, yeah. You got great people skills, you know that? No wonder you're a washed up reporter."

"I heard you got something for me, something big," I said.

"I got something huge! This is gonna shake the nation to its core. Here's the biggest scoop since Monica. Why, the shock is--

"Right, I'm sure," I interrupted. "Would you mind just telling me what it is?"

"Okay, when I was being made back at Hasbro, I heard about a corporate conspiracy conducted with Congress' complicity."

"Well those are a dime a dozen but go ahead," I sighed.

"Anyway, I overheard several toy company executives plotting to brainwash America's children into becoming mindless materialistic machine manipulators, even to the point of losing all touch with nature and human childhood itself."

"Yeah. so what?" I replied. "Barbie told me all about that plot back in the fifties when I was a cub reporter. It's been going on for generations."

"Oh, well, never mind then," said my "reliable" source. "Uh, there is one other thing but I don't suppose it's newsworthy."

I put on an air of authority. "Let me be the judge of that."

"It seems we're programmed to speak in Furbish, an unbreakable code that only 4-year-olds can understand."

"Big deal." said I.

"You're right, it's really no biggie. Except for the chips."

"What chips?"

"Uh, this is only on deep background, right? I mean, you didn't hear any of this from me," said the little hairbag.

"Fine, fine," I said. "Tell me about these chips."

"We've got microprocessors that Bill Gates hasn't dreamed of. Talk about your mind control. Our chips connect us to your kid's brain through his computer. The computer's on the Internet, which just happens to have been developed by the U.S. military, long before the net went berserk and became the planet's posterboard."

"Okay, but I still don't see the problem," I said.

"Do I have to draw you a picture?" said fluff face. "The Company programs childrens' minds to serve the corporate takeover of the world, using kids' superior cyber skills to sidestep security codes of the government, including The Agency."

"What agency? The Central Intelligence Agency?" I whispered. "The National Security Agency?"

"I wuv you," said the doll, glancing down the aisle where a store clerk was walking our way.

I waited for the clerk to pass by but he grabbed the little fur ball and hurried toward the front of the store.

"Ma'am, ma'am, I found one!" the clerk called.

"Hey, that one is spoken to, uh, for," I protested.

"Sorry, sir, not unless the item's in the customer's possession."

"It's mine, I tell you." I grabbed the doll from the clerk but then a beefy fist landed square on my jaw, knocking me flat.

As I came to a moment later, a big strong woman bent over and snatched my shaggy source.

A gentleman nearby helped me to my feet. "Brother, that little toy's gonna take over the world," he said.

I replied like someone else were talking through me. "It already has, bro.... Has, bro.... Has, bro...."

Frank Lingo is a writer and radio commentator in Lawrence, Kansas.

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