Do you remember that show, Dora the Explorer? Well, obviously, I, a man in his 30’s wasn’t a viewer. I have a four year old latina daughter and I was perusing some VHS tapes to watch over the break. I, being a good parent, monitor what my daughter does to ensure that nothing terrible happens to her. Well, I know you probably think forcing your daughter to watch old VHS tapes is child abuse, in a way, and maybe it is, but millions of parents in America hit their children and personally I think that’s worse.
I purchased the VHS tape online. I had heard a lot about those “creepy stories” that have hundreds of thousands or millions of hits on Google, and I assumed they were all fake, but what happened completely shattered the thin frame of what I thought was reality and potentially destroyed my family.
For those who haven’t watched Dora the Explorer, it’s a show about a young Hispanic girl who goes on various adventures. To be honest, I couldn’t give two fucks about any of that. I was snapchatting pictures of delicious lobsters I had illegally smuggled to a buddy of mine in Cleveland while my daughter sat there watching the tape. We suddenly heard loud screaming, and someone saying he’s been stabbed in the neck. “He’ll take your eyes!” A voice murmured. “He’ll take your eyes!” Strange, I assumed maybe this was a prank being played by the VCR repairman, who fixed this VCR just fifteen years ago today.
Maybe it was just my imagination. We old people do have a tendency to imagine things that aren’t there…places, even people… I’m getting old. Too old for this. I’m just not feeling it anymore. And that is why. The episode played as normal, or what I would assume is normal because I Have never seen this show before. I mean after all the screaming about being stabbed and having one’s eyes stolen. I suddenly noticed there was a man in the other room sitting on my couch. I mean I guess it was a man, whoever it was, he was turned the other way and not moving.
Well, this show was just about teaching kids to read, right? All of a sudden uncle Jesus (Hay-zeus) came in with his nostrils flaring. “VAMANOS!” He screamed. Evidently the jig was up. I had smuggled my daughter into the country three years ago from Mexico, disguising her as a bag of oranges and a box of vanilla mint cigarillos. “VAMANOS! El zorro se acerca y no tengo pantalones!” He screamed. I now realized he wasn’t wearing pants.
I offered him a shirt and a sewing kit and he tried quickly to sew some makeshift pants, but it was too late. He tripped and smashed his head into the side of the sink (We live in an efficiency) and fell, bleeding from the head. I would’ve taken him to the hospital, but I didn’t own a car or a phone, and besides, he was already dead.
I would bury him later, as I didn’t want to interrupt this fine VHS program. It was hard to tell what was going on, to be honest. It just looked like a wolf was fighting with a latin girl while a map talked to her. This was disturbing. I shut the tape off and sent my daughter to her room, a straw mat in the corner.
That was when the police kicked the door down and opened fire. They were…shooting at a four year old. The cops pumped 116 rounds of live ammunition into the straw mat that my daughter was sitting on. They called in a swat team and helicopters began to circle around the house. I was detained, but then released, but the border police were monitoring my every move for three weeks.
My daughter was missing. Gone. I have no idea what happened to her. Part of me vaguely remembered sending her to live with her Uncle Sans in Puerto Vallarta, so I wrote letters there in the hope that my memory wasn’t fading. As I sifted through bill after bill on a daily basis, I wondered strongly about what had happened to her.
A letter…a postcard…anything. I didn’t ever need to see her again, to be honest. I just wanted to know that she was ok.
Part of me wondered…if maybe that VHS tape was haunted. I put it back in and started watching it again, noticing that there was something sad about it. The characters were going through the motions, engaging in the usual routines, but their hearts weren’t in it. The actors weren’t emoting, the backdrops looked dead, and there was almost no animation whatsoever. Dora’s movements were literally two frames while what sounded like an intern gave a deadpan delivery of the lines…
…Wait. No, I thought it was my daughter. Never mind. That wouldn’t make any sense, we were watching the tape together. The tape gets really weird around the ten minute mark. You see Dora’s umbilical cord hasn’t been severed, and she’s attached to some large demonic brain machine. It’s a brain with red eyes and horns, and a snarling horse nose. Its eyes are yellowed and filled with every color imaginable as well. It seems to be carrying a fire, or the fire is within it. It whispered something in Spanish, with subtitles. The subtitle read “your eyes are the outside world and it is looking in.” Strange thing to say in a children’s show, to say the least.
I picked up the phone and decided to file a missing person’s report. But someone had severed the cord. That was when I heard the whispering. It was a low whispering at first, but then it grew louder, to medium and then high level whispering. “Pssst.” What in God’s name was that? “PSSSSST.” It whispered.
I picked up the VHS slipcase. A small square of paper fell onto the floor. It looked like…some sort of topographic map of a national park. But it had eyes that looked almost holographic, and a smile. I know you’d never believe me in a million years if I told you the truth, but the truth is…it started to sing. “If there’s a place you gotta go, I’m the one you need to know, I’m the map- I’m the map. I’m the map…I’m the map…I’m the map I’m the map-“ “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” I screamed and picked up my lighter, igniting the strange map. It screamed in pain and began to cry and bleed, and the tears and blood put the fire out. “You burned me!” The map screamed. “You fucking burned me!”
I picked the map up and squeezed the life out of it, strangling it to death. There’s no need for a map to talk, to be honest. The instructions are clearly written on the map. I didn’t need this shit. I put the coordinates into my GPS and climbed into my brand new Ford Explorer.
I drove to the Western edge of California, but I hit a weird fence that had been erected on the way to my hometown of Mexico. It was disturbing, a massive metal fence that reached high into the sky. Certainly an unwelcoming message to those Hispanic immigrants seeking refuge not unlike those who sailed to America over a hundred years ago with the promise of the American dream. Maybe this was the American nightmare.
I followed the fence as far as I could, but it went on forever without a single break in the pattern. That was when the border police pulled me over. I looked over at the map, crumpled in the corner. If they saw it, I’d be certain to get arrested for attempted mapicide. “Do you have anything to declare?” They asked me. Wait a minute- they weren’t police officers.
They were aliens. And not the illegal kind, well, unless you think scaly glass-eyed cryptids with scales, fangs and ridged backs should be illegal. I certainly do. The strange creatures hissed at me. I looked beyond them to see a bloody goat with its throat slit laying next to the fence.
I quickly fumbled in my wallet for some Denny’s coupons. I told them that it was buy one get one free, and we could split the bill. I said that they have a Dwarves Turkey and Dressing Dinner that is vastly superior to whatever goat meat they were attempting to eat.
As we drove to Denny’s, I learned that they were the legendary Chupacabra aliens, the goat murdering aliens from Mexican folklore. One of the aliens got some baking soda out and began making cocaine, which he snorted through a ventricular nostril. He called it “cosmic dust,” but it was clearly cocaine. I just didn’t like the fact that he was lying to me.
The Denny’s waitress was very rude. She refused to serve aliens, which was at first understandable until I realized that she was referring to me and my Hispanic heritage. We had stopped at a Party City and gotten them satirical alien costumes. One was dressed as Chewbacca and the other was wearing a mask that resembled Ross Perot. We sat down, and it turned out that the Dwarves’ Turkey and Dressing Dinner was only available for a limited time, but it was just a retitled turkey menu item that I and Gorblick ordered. Rosp Erot (Ironically that was his name, but spelled differently) ordered a large cup of goat’s blood but settled on The Super Bird when he found out they didn’t serve goat products.
As we had our coffee and blood, the waitress came back with a spiky tendril cordicep that Gorblick had inserted into her spinal cord to make her subordinate. She was foaming from the mouth, but otherwise the service was good. I told them about how my daughter had gone missing, and took out the polaroid of her I kept in my wallet. They informed me that this couldn’t be my daughter, and even turned the picture over to point out that it’s the kind that comes with the frame when you buy a picture frame at Walmart.
Maybe I didn’t have a daughter. They weren’t aliens anyway, it was all a prank. Thank goodness, I thought I was going mad there for a second. They took the first costume off and then the second one, the alien one, revealing that they were actually the border police and this was a new technique that they were using to sniff out illegals who are thinking about smuggling children into the country and adding to our nation’s GDP with increased economic labor.
They assured me that I didn’t have a daughter, and that the VHS tape I saw was just some sort of nationalist propaganda made by Washington fat cats. I could’ve swore I had a little girl though. I remembered taking her to Chuck E. Cheese and buying her Hispanic barbie dolls. They assured me that I didn’t have a daughter, and to stop worrying, go home and watch some professional sports by eating a piping hot bowl of my favorite cheese and nacho dip. “Sounds like a good idea to me.” I said, and cleaned my hands of this whole situation. Part of me felt like they were sweeping all of this under the rug. I mean the strange VHS with the umbilical brain, the person being murdered, that man on my couch, my missing daughter, the bleeding, screaming map, the massive metal fence that looked like something out of a dystopic horror film. They confiscated the VHS and stomped on it like a Hispanic man would contempt at refried beans. I felt…confused. Lost…disheveled.
They explained to me that an intern at Nickelodean Studios named Eric Weiner had left the microphone on while playing with a Mr. Potatohead toy. That explained the whole “he’ll take your eyes” bit I heard earlier. He had also been stabbed with a pen, rather jokingly, by a cowriter who was aiming the pen at the paper but accidentally stabbed him. The whole umblical brain thing was supposed to be a tie-in for a new Taco Bell promotional item, the Brainlupa, a delicious 1/3 pound of cow brain in a delicious mole sauce with sour cream. It made sense… I guess. The map was also one of the toys that was going to come with the Brainlupa Kids Pack, which didn’t really make sense because the production costs would have to have been in the thousands, but they assured me that it was a prototype and the real one would’ve been a cheap knockoff assembled in a Chinese sweatshop.
As for my missing daughter and the man on my couch? They assured me that it was all just trapped swamp gas that has a tendency to “flare up” and create the illusion of light and motion. It all made sense then.
I got into my Ford Explorer and prepared to drive away, putting this whole fiasco behind me once and for all. As they turned on their motor vehicle, I suddenly paused. “Hey, wait a minute!” I yelled at them just as they were leaving. “What about the Dora the Explorer VHS? “ This didn’t make any sense. I mean it all added up, except for that. I knew what I saw on the tape. “The what?” They said. “Dora the explorer.” I repeated. “Dora the explorer.” They stopped. Frozen. “Oh, uh.” The two police officers smiled at me. “I think you got confused.” He pointed to the passenger door on my Ford explorer. “I think you meant Door of the Explorer.” “No.” I said. “Wait.” He said. “What?” I said. “Door of the explorer.” And then they got into their police vehicle and drove off into the sunset, leaving me without any gas or means of getting home.