Unit 3 Vocabulary Story
Ripped from the Headlines (Philadelphia Inquirer, circa 1994)

Local Child Sees Elmo,
Awaits Further Instructions, Parents Rattled
SPRINGFIELD – Four year old Len DersBagels, a resident of Oreland, claims that he encountered beloved Sesame Street personality, Elmo, in the middle of his living room this past Saturday. Although careful to avoid specifics about Elmo’s message, Len intimated that the red-furred “friend” came with a heavy agenda.

“While I am unable to go into specifics, he’s quite urbane in person,” stated Len. “He definitely comes off as a lot more frenzied in his world, but in my living room, he totally respected the no crayons on the wall policy enacted by my parents after the Crayola Incident of 1993.”

Mr. DersBagels, a technician with Comcast, clarified his son’s reference to the Crayola Incident of 1993. “Len forced our hand. He set a dangerous precedent in motion and my wife and I needed an immediate and prompt response. For the record, you can put crayons in the garbage disposal.”
While Len has remained silent, eerily silent, about the conversation with Elmo, Temple University media professor, May Sweeps, has her own opinions about the content of the meeting.

“Most likely something outlining the demise of civilization. This is a bit too similar to the Caracas Cookie Monster Massacre of 1987.”
Albert Feinstein, history professor at the University of Pennsylvania, knows all too well about the Caracas Cookie Monster Massacre of 1987. In the early spring of that year, Mr. Feinstein was in Caracas on a family retreat when ‘it’ occurred.

“There are no words to describe that moment, except these: I was engaged in some culinary activity, chopping guavas, constructing chalupahs, normal, run-of-the-mill stuff. My son wanted no part, but I tried and tried to coerce him to help. After asking him five different ways, he suddenly had a craven look on his face. I attacked his manhood, but then he ran away. Now, the last thing I wanted to do was alienate my son, so being someone who always muses over things, I began to think. Then, I look down, and my left arm is gone, right up to the elbow. Blue fur covers what remains of my arm. In the distance, behind me, I hear a horrible, horrible voice, crackling, articulately mumbling, ‘Cooookie! Not Chalupah! D letter of the day! D for…DESTRUCTION!!!’ After that, I came home.”

Professor Sweeps, well-apprised of the Caracas Cookie Monster Massacre, is quick to point out some haunting similarities.
“In both the Elmo Incident and the Cookie Monster Massacre, both creatures appeared during inclement weather. Beyond that, both creatures seem to have been summoned after a parent harassed a child.”

Jen DersBagels, Len’s eleven year old sister, has her own theory about the alleged Elmo Incident.

“This is all just another artifice by a warped four year old with attention-deficit issues. Len’s surface is all puppets and animation, but he is our family’s greatest adversary. I don’t believe him for one second.”

Questioned about the accuracy of his sister’s comments, Len was quite outspoken.

“Jen social life is, even at the best of times, exceptionally fallow. Ask her if anyone has called or come over in the last six months. She alienates her peers like Oscar repels cleanliness. I’m not one for punitive comments, especially about family members, but you can only push a four year olds’ buttons so long before he’ll fight back with the vengeance of a scorned puppet trapped in a crayon-infested cell whose only visitor is some disproportionately dressed chap named Mr. Noodle; a person so out of touch with general social codes he isn’t even able to jump up and down without
serious intervention. It’s high time that I redress some of the ills infecting this household. Did Elmo program me to commit horrid, horrid deeds beyond the scope of all humanity? Maybe, but it’s high time for some Go-gurt.”

Springfield police captain, Ashton Kitchen, believes that the child speaks the truth and is actively seeking legal ways to remove the child from the DersBagels’ home.

“A short sojourn to an aunt’s house in New Jersey just might be the cure for not only Len, but the entire family. Clearly there are some unresolved issues, but I’m certain that they are, at best, negligible and can be sorted out with just a wee bit of space.”

In the meantime, the family appears to be staying in one place. For Len, the future seems clear, but his cryptic comments have all parties; family, educators, and law enforcement officials, baffled.

“I am no longer going to perpetuate the notion that small children are useless. In forty-eight hours, I will be heading up to Sesame Place. I suggest that you do not follow me. When I leave that sacred meeting place, um…theme park, you will most assuredly know what lies ahead.”

Upon hearing their son’s comments, the DersBagels pledged to delete all saved episodes of Sesame Street from their TiVo.