"Grrr..." I gritted my teeth and clicked my left mouse button like mad. "Arr!
Come on, you stupid chickens!" I was playing a computer game. The goal was to
get as many chickens across the road as possible before the cars turned them
into chicken dinners. Really! If a car ran over your chicken, you'd have a plate
with a drumstick, mashed potatoes, and some unknown green vegetable sitting in
its place. And then the monster would eat it. The more chicken dinners he ate,
the bigger he got until he was big enough to destroy your city!
I gritted my teeth again. Click, click, click! Those chickens were my only defense! Click, click, click!
From somewhere in the room, my subconscious picked up the sound of my name.
"...Becky. On the computer, again." My mother was talking about me. "I don't know what to do with her."
Splat! I turned my attention back to the game. Click, click, click, click, click...
"She'd be on day and night if she could!"
"I have an idea." That was my aunt. "Maybe you could..."
Ouch! That monster was getting bigger by the moment!
Click, click, click...
A hand touched my shoulder. I jumped. "It's the monster!" I yelled. I turned to see my mom looking at me.
"Becky, there's something I'd like to talk to you about."
"No way!" I pulled away and started clicking again. "I have to save my city!"
A second later, the screen went black. My aunt stood beside the desk, her finger on the powerstrip button. She'd switched it off!
"Nooooo!" I screamed. "My chickens!"
"Sweetheart," said my mother. "I think you spend too much time on the computer. You're addicted!"
I stared longingly at the blank screen. "No, I'm not." My finger reached for the power button. "Can I play now?"
While my aunt went into the kitchen, my mom took my hand and led me to the couch. "Sit down, dear. You spend entirely too much time playing computer games. I've even caught you sneaking on in the middle of the night! You need to do something more constructive with your time. Like sleep."
I couldn't tear my eyes away from the computer screen. "I'm saving a city!"
"You're playing a game," my mother said firmly. "Now, your aunt and I have come up with a solution."
My aunt came back from the kitchen carrying what looked like an empty Cool-Whip® container.
"Now, this won't hurt a bit," said my aunt.
She placed the bowl upside down on my head. I couldn't see a thing except white plastic. The smell of Cool-Whip® made me hungry. "Can I have some ice-cream when we're done?" I asked.
"Maybe," said my mother.
What was that?
Whatever it was, it was lulling. I began to feel sleepy.
My eyes dropped closed.
From far away, a voice spoke. "Can you hear me, Becky?" It was my aunt.
"Do you think it'll work?" my mother asked. She sounded worried.
"My Doll Reprogrammer never fails," said my aunt. "Sometimes, a doll gets wrong ideas and falls into bad habits and needs to be redirected. I've used it dozens of times, and it's always worked."
"I guess it's worth a try," said my mom.
"Becky," said my aunt, "you no longer like to play computer games."
"No longer...computer games," I mumbled.
"You'd rather go outside in the fresh air and play games."
"You love to read and draw and write. And learn!"
"You love to try new things."
"No more computer games," said my aunt.
"No more computer games," I repeated.
The buzzing stopped. The white bowl lifted. I blinked and looked at my mother, who was watching me expectantly.
"Hi, Mom!" I said. "Boy, I feel great! I can't wait to go outside and try something new today! But first..." My eyes moved to the computer screen. "Can I get back to my game? Me and the chickens have a city to save!"
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