I have a Furby (batteries removed, of’c) sitting on the box I put my accumulated loose change in. When I first started doing so, I joked that the Furby was guarding a box of treasure, and that the money inside was its hoard. (Oh, innocence!) Everytime I put money in the box, I’d pat the Furby on the head and tell it what a great job it was doing guarding the hand sized box. Whenever I needed loose change for something, I would apologize to the Furby about raiding its stash.
Silly me, right?
One fine day, my mother decided to take up all the loose change in the house and convert it into something easily spendable. She raided the Furby’s box and took every last coin.
What could possibly go wrong?
I discovered the theft when I came home, long after anything could be done about it. The first clue something was wrong was listening to my mother explode about “that demonic toy” in my room and how it was staring at her with “evil hate” and she had a mind to take a hammer to it but then that would unleash the evil spirit hiding in it and she has had nothing but trouble since taking the coins it was sitting on and…
"Did you apologize to it for taking its money? And did you give some money back? You always said it was an evil thing to take someone’s last dime. If you emptied the box, then you’re the one doing evil here."
"I didn’t say…"
"You’re the one describing the toy like it’s a sentient thing. If you’re feeling guilty about taking the money, then perhaps you should give it back, or at least put some coins in there so it’s not completely empty.” I swear, I should take up professional poker playing. That my family still thinks I’m hostile to anything spiritual or woo is hilarious. “Isn’t there some family story about house spirits guarding caches of treasure or something? If anything, I have a right to be upset with you because I need loose change for vending machines and shit. So, yea, you owe me some money, if nothing else.”
My mother would give up all her gold to the Devil himself before she admits she has done wrong by me. She harrumphed loudly and dug into her purse for four coins. A quarter, a dime, a nickel, and a penny. She slammed them on the table beside me. “Here! Give that devil its due! And I won’t ever touch your shit again! I’ve had nothing but problems all day since I turned in that change!” She started going on a rant about how the coin counting machine reset twice on her and how the ticket was printed bad so the cashier wouldn’t accept it at first and how careless I am about leaving loose change out and several more hundred words that I wasn’t paying attention to because I was trying not to laugh out loud.
I scooped up the coins and went to the Furby. I had left the eyes open because a good guard is always aware, right? Someone had forced the eyes closed and turned it towards the wall. I couldn’t hold it any longer. I let all my mirth escape. Loudly. That only set off another round of expletives from my mother about demon toys and various urban legends she has heard about Furbies. I opened the eyes, kissed it on the head and made many gestures that would soothe even a anxious Chihuahua, told it that it did nothing wrong, and all the consolations you tell a person when they have been overwhelmed by the circumstances.
"Look what she gave back. A quarter, a dime, a nickel, and a penny. It’s not the loot, I know, but it’s something. I promise I’ll never take all of your coins, even if I desperately need them. I’ll always make sure you have at least one of each kind." If I knew then, what I know now…
I emptied my wallet and purse of loose change and added to the Furby’s miniscule hoard. It barely covered the bottom of the box and made for a very sad sight. I set the Furby back on its box and patted it once more because this Furby is a good Furby.
A few days later, I had more change to add. The box was a third full. I started to ask my mother about it, but at the mention of the word “Furby”, she flew off into a rage denying that she had taken anything out of that box and that the toy was demonic and all sorts of predictable but entertaining phrases. Everyone else in the house claimed ignorance of the additional change.
A week later, the box was half full.
Some time after that, I needed quarters. All the quarters. (Saving someone’s ass from their mistakes again.) I apologized to the Furby as I sorted through the stash coin by coin removing the required denomination. But as I remembered my promise, though I still needed quarters, I made sure that two (one for the promise, and one for good luck) quarters went back into the stash and that they went to the bottom of the box away from casual glances. As I placed the guardian back on the box and patted it in another apology, I got the feeling that it was cross with me for raiding it, but not really angry. It understood.
A week later, I went to add some change and the box was two thirds full. The new additions were mostly quarters.
What. The. Hell.
No one else in the house confessed to adding the change. My mother and my daughter each had their own loose change container, and my father dumps his in a water bottle for future turn-in.
When the box becomes full, and if I feel the Furby is okay with the plan, I’ll take two thirds of the box and convert them to cash for various purposes. But no matter why I’m raiding the box, I will not take the last quarter, dime, nickel, or penny. If I have to raid the box for a particular denomination, within a week, the count of that type of coin will have multiplied in the box.
Maybe it’s just me not noticing what coins I put in there, as I do try to keep a light wallet. Maybe it’s my mother trying to buy a clean conscious behind my back. I dunno.
But that box and its contents belongs to the Furby sitting on top of it.
The box is currently so full, the lid barely fits. The extra coins are piled up in front of the box as a spillover.
The Furby looks so happy. So filled with glee. There is a sense that it knows I will have to do something about the growing pool of coins eventually, that its dominion is limited to the box it sits on. But for now, its cup runs over, and there is a sense of joy about it.
It reminds me of a dragon. A very happy and content dragon.
Would that I could be that happy.