I was in the kitchen, dicing red peppers for my chili, when it happened. My wife was at work, both children were at school, and I was alone in the house, save for the dog curled up and snoring on the couch. Suddenly, the eerie silence was broken by the rev of a small motor. I turned from my cutting board to see a small yellow car drive into the kitchen.
My son had received this remote controlled car as a Christmas gift, but it had never driven anywhere on its own before. The car stopped in the middle of the floor, right in front of me, and then gave a few more short starts, inching forward with each jerk. Was someone here? My first thought was that I was clearly not alone. Wouldn’t that be a great start for a horror movie? Person alone in kitchen, psychopath drives remote control car into kitchen, person stoops down to look at car, person looks up to see terrifying knife-wielding maniac. This seemed, for a moment, to be the most plausible explanation of what was happening.
Tiny dicing knife in hand, I slowly stepped widely around the corner and into full view of the living room. There was nobody there. “Hello…?” I called out warily, because if I was a bad guy hiding somewhere in hopes of jumping out and killing someone, I would definitely answer back to anyone who said “hello.” There was no answer. I looked down the stairs to the front door. No killers. And then the car moved again.
I looked over at the dog on the couch and concluded that, obviously, she was sitting on the remote control, which would explain why the car was starting and stopping in random and frightening ways. I lifted the annoyed puppy off of the couch, but found no remote. She was not sleeping on it. Then I saw it. The remote control was sitting in the middle of the living room floor. I picked it up and inspected it. It had to have been a ghost.
Clearly a ghost had been operating the controls from the living room while I was in the kitchen. It was probably trying to communicate with me. Did it need something? Was there a task that needed to be completed from its former life before it could pass on to the next world? Probably. But how did one communicate back to an invisible spirit that only spoke via haunted toys? Remote in one hand, I used the other hand to pick the car up off of the kitchen floor where it had come to rest. And then, in my hand, the car wheels started spinning in the air. And the remote was in my hand. No ghost was operating the controls. It had to be magic, then.
Normally when magical things happen around here it is Bear’s fault, but this didn’t seem like his sort of magic. He was more apt to be found at home holding the car’s remote control with a naughty look on his face. Spinning car wheels from afar wasn’t really his style. Was there a powerful wizard nearby who was just messing with me? Or was there some sort of magical battle going on and this was just residual magic that had escaped the fray? Impossible to tell.
As the car wheels continued to spin, I flipped the toy over and found the power switch. I flipped it to “off” and the wheels stopped. Wizard, ghost, intruder, or not, if there’s one thing that movies have taught me it’s that nobody can defeat the off switch. I placed the car, now safely powerless, onto the table with the remote. And it never moved again.