So, we walked in and were instantly stopped by the fifteen-year-old security guard. She stamped the kids' and my hands with a special, super-secret code in invisible ink. What they should do, instead of stamping your hand, is spray you down with antibacterial gel.
We continued past the guardchild and headed into the bowels of the restaurant where I tried to avoid tripping over kids hopped up on sugar and the kind of excitement that comes from winning tickets that can be traded in for mind-blowing awesomeness like pencil erasers and plastic dinosaurs.
As I wound my way around the arcade games toward the table that was set up for the birthday boy, a kid sneezed on my arm. I was covered in sneeze juice from a kid who was undoubtedly incubating Ebola. I continued to walk toward the table, wiping my arm on the next kid to get too close to me.
I found the mom of the birthday boy and yelled over the cacophony that is Chuck E. Cheese's.
Hi! Do you have enough help? Do you want me to stay
I eventually came back to get the kids. I searched throughout the restaurant, but couldn't find Clay or Brooklyn anywhere. They weren't at the table. I didn't see them playing any video games. I searched the skeeball tables, the basketball games, inside the basketball hoops (What? Stranger things have happened!), on the merry-go-round, the motorcycles, cars, and boats. Could they have spontaneously combusted from the pure excitement of the place? Then Lexi pointed out the maze of tunnels running along the ceiling. Oh great, I thought to myself, they'll stay up in the tunnels until I crawl up there to drag them out. And there's probably be a weight limit in the tunnels and my butt will either get stuck in there or the whole ceiling tunnel transportation system will break free from the ceiling and crash to the floor, crushing the kids beneath it.
Thankfully, they weren't in the tunnel transportation system. I finally found them by the ticket redemption counter. They knelt on the ground, their little faces pressed against the glass as they inhaled the Cholera germs living on the surface. If you've ever been to one of these types of places, then you know what I did for the next half hour. That's right. I stood there waiting while Clayton and Brooklyn weighed the pros and cons of getting glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth or a Tootsie Pop or a plastic bracelet. I mean, these are very important, life-changing decisions here, people!
After four and a half hours, I finally dragged the kids toward the door. We were stopped by the security child so she could shine her magic light on the invisible ink tattoos on our hands. The numbers on our hands matched so she said we could leave.
I looked at Clay, jumping around like he was on a pogo stick and said, "Are you sure the numbers match? Because if they don't, I can leave him here. You know, just saying."
As I walked out, I saw this sign on the wall.
That's right. As much as you might be tempted to bring a gun into Chuck E. Cheese's (and I understand how one might get such an urge) it is not allowed.
Chuck E. Cheese's, where a kid can't be shot for being a kid.
Okay, now I'm going to gargle some Lysol before I come down with Typhoid.