Let's skip past New Zealand and Kyoto and Tokyo and Houston and Austin and bring you up to Dallas for a brief story.
Today, regrettably, was our last day in Texas before we head off to the adventures of New York City. Unfortunately, rain was forecast, and oh yeah, rain it did. While driving to lunch, we saw about 6 lightening bolts at once across the horizon... something these Californians just don't see, ever.
So our plans to hike and explore were cancelled and we decided to....
Go to Chuck E Cheese's?
Sigh. Yes. We did. That just happened.
Our family had never been to C.E.C. before today, not all together anyway. It was with glee that we found that each ride/game/money suck only took one token to operate, not 4 like most arcades do (not that I would know....). Tyler and I abandoned the kids and ran around dropping tokens into "Deal or no Deal", Skeeball, Guitar Hero, Wheel of Fortune, and the like. We challenged each other to a sporty basketball type game. You know, the one where you get all sweaty shooting baskets repeatedly and get like 2 tickets at the end.
Well, we played this against each other about 5 times when I looked down and saw that about 50 tickets had spewed forth out of the game. 50 tickets! The kids would go nuts over that. Imagine the prizes they could pick!
So we played again. This time, my side of the basketball console spit out about 30 tickets. Victory! This was getting intense. Suddenly Tyler and I weren't parents who came to play games with their kids. We were savage animals on a vicious hunt for tickets. Chuck E. Cheese meets Lord of the Flies.
I played by myself this time, under the assumption that if my console was spitting out tickets like crazy, were just wasting tokens on the other one. Sure enough, another game brought me a huge string of tickets.
So from then on, Tyler and I switched turns playing. By now we had well over 400 tickets, I'd guess, and I was studying the machines patterns to see when/why it spit out the most tickets. Like I said, I was a savage, yay, even showing tendencies of a seasoned CARNIE, if you will. My watchful eye noticed that when Tyler got to about 11 points, the machine started just going crazy with the ticket spewing. Tyler shot one more 3 pointer and one more two pointer- bringing his total to 15.
"Look at it!" I shouted. "Look at the machine!" It was absolutely possessed now- purging threads of tickets all over the place. We giggled, laughed, covering our mouths trying to remain low key and not draw attention to our extreme fortune. Time ran out in the game and Tyler and I looked in the coin hopper.
One token left.
We ro-sham-bo'd who got to use it. Me! What fortune I had today! I played well and quickly got to 11 points, when the tickets started coming out. Then, to 15 points. "Stop!" Tyler said, "Let's just see what happens if we wait."
And that, friends, is when the gaming planets aligned. That machine, it was the machine sent straight from heaven. That machine malfunctioned in a way that was so beautiful I almost teared up. Hundreds of tickets were being ejected from the ticket slot. Hundreds... it just wouldn't stop. The timer had stuck at 20 seconds and the tickets were flowing.
I looked up at Tyler. People, I cannot express to you adequately how Tyler's face looked, but I will try. It looked as if he was gazing upon a beautiful (red-headed, of course) woman riding a floating unicorn while blowing bubbles and throwing Reeses Peanut Butter Cups to the munchkins below. His face was joyful, gleeful, dreamy. His jaw was agape, his hands on his cheeks, his brows raised high.
We made eye contact.
And then rolled guffawing on the floor, all the while the tickets were still gushing out, by the hundreds. Our laughing attracted Isaac and Isabelle, who also acted as if life was over and Heaven was at their fingertips. We all laughed, the kids squealed with joy. Oh, the tickets! The glorious tickets!
After 3 minutes, this went from utter triumph to extreme shame.
Had we cheated? Or are we just freaking genius smarter than a machine?
This is what happened next:
I grabbed a gigantic heap of tickets and ran to a corner to quickly fold them up and shove them in my pockets.
The kids grabbed a gigantic heap of tickets and threw them in the air, dancing about like wildebeests.
Tyler quickly ran to get an employee and tell them about the broken machine.
In the end, we decided to keep only the tickets we earned before completely OWNING that machine.
Total ticket count: 1,087.
BLUE LILY | Lifestyle Photographer | Salt Lake City, Utah