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In order to write this story, I have tried to remain as respectful as possible to the writing of the PilomotorReflex children's horror series. I've also been reading far too much Blogger Beware, so all my respect for this series has left the server.

Proceed with caution.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE VERY ITCHY

R. L. STINE

1


My name is Cookie Cutter Protagonist, and I just want to say that I have a rather out of place statement that I’ll put in the first line of this book to hook readers.

It was a Saturday afternoon and I was hanging out in my basement, which has been converted into a rec room because it’s the 90s and I’m a middle class privileged white 12-year-old, with my friend of the opposite gender with whom I have a platonic boy-girl relationship with. For some reason, people think we look alike because this is a Goosebumps book and exposition is always peppered in in this general format, but both I and my other cookie cutter character friend think that somehow we are unique examples of characters.

Oh, yes, and we were bored because we’re Goosebumps protagonists and boredom always drives kids to do something that might mildly frighten them.

We decided to walk around town to ease our boredom, and as we strode down the sidewalk, my friend noticed a figure sprawled out on the path ahead. She let out a scream/shriek/howl of horror/fear/dread.

“Oh my casually-censored-mild-profanity-because-no-characters-in-this-series-are-allowed-to-say-anything-mildly-threatening! Is that a child?”

“No, you moron, because all characters in this series have to be mildly rude to each other for some reason. It’s a ventriloquist dummy.”

“Ah yes,” my friend said, “because it’s a normal thing to do in these books to leave vastly expensive dolls on the side of the street.”

I picked up the dummy. It had a vague description of its appearance. “Cool! I’ve always wanted a dummy because R. L. Stine is hip with the kids and knows we’re all interested in ventriloquism.”

I brushed my hands down the dummy’s jacket and noticed what seemed like a lump in the jacket pocket. I reached inside and pulled out a small note.

“What does it say?” said Insert Common Name Here.

There were words on both sides of the paper. I began to read aloud.

“Hello. My name is Salppy the Dum, and I can be your friend. Just read the words written in a non-specific foreign language on the other side of this note, and I will come alive.”

I flipped the card over and read the words.

“NOSTALGIA DRIVEN CASH GRABIUS OVERUSEDIUM PLOTLINEICUS”

And as I spoke, the dummy’s hand shot up and slapped my face which is a realistic chapter cliff-hanger and certainly isn’t the work of my so-called “friend.”



2


“Gotcha!” my friend who still hasn’t been named cried. “I bet you didn’t expect that the dummy slapping your face wasn’t a realistic chapter ending cliff-hanger and was actually the work of your so-called “friend.”

“Oh, unnamed friend. Give me a break. There’s no way a ventriloquist dummy can come to life. I didn’t believe you for a second. Just like the readers of this book won’t believe for a second that this argument is necessary to the story and isn’t just padding.”

We decided that we’d take the ventriloquist dummy back to my house that requires zero description. A few hours later, my friend left, and I decided it would be a good idea to stay down in the basement alone with a ventriloquist dummy that had probably been brought to life.

I watched insert 90s reference here so this book stays relevant to its target audience on TV for a while, but quickly became bored because I’m a tween and my attention span has been corrupted by technology. I switched my attention to my obviously villainous ventriloquist dummy. Pale/silvery/golden light poured through the window and flooded the room.

“No way some dumb words could bring a dumb old block of dumb wood to dumb life, is there?” I said, jinxing my chances of making it out of this book alive, whilst remaining unaware that the scariest element of this novel is that R. L. Stine believes this is how children speak.

And then freezing cold hands, obviously belonging to my bratty sister/brother who had stuck their hands in a freezer because that’s a very normal thing to do, grabbed my neck.

3

“Gotcha!” my bratty brother/sister cried.

I expressed my dismay at the situation with the proper amount of maturity and sibling love required in these books.

“You’re such a jerk! Leave me alone!”

This prompted me to embark on an unnecessarily long tangent about how bratty my brother/sister is and how much I hate him/her.

“Ooh, a dummy. I bet that it will predictably come to life and terrorize you for vaguely threatening reasons.” my brother/sister claimed, as he/she left the basement.

“As if a dummy is going to come to life and terrorize me for vaguely threatening reasons,” I said, once again jeopardising my chances of making it out of this story alive.

And as I spoke those words, the dummy predictably sat up and turned to face me.

“Hey, kid. Listen to this excruciatingly unfunny insult I’m going to scream at you pointing out the fact that I think you’re ugly!” it rasped and began a very original joke that no one reading this book will have heard. “Is that your face, or–”

“Hold on a minute,” I interrupted. “Aren’t you just a blatant parody of that other Goosebumps villain, Slap–”

“Quiet! You wanna get sued?” The dummy barked.

“And hold on a minute. This story is called ‘The Good, the Bad and the Very Itchy.’ How can Stine fit a living dummy into this story?”

“Name one relatively new book in this series that doesn’t have any relation to living dummies.”

I paused.

“That’s what I thought. Anyway, back to being menacing.”

“I mean, shouldn’t this story have something to do with being itchy? It seems rather misleading to have a title that is irrelevant to the story.”

“You obviously haven’t read any Goosebumps books, have you,” the dummy responded.

“C’mon, man.”

The dummy sighed and rolled its eyes. “Fine.” He raised his hands and waved them around. “Yooouuu will beeecooommeee veeery iiiiitchyyy!!!”

“But–but…” I sputtered under the silvery moonlight. “I’m so itchy.”



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