Don't Let Totoro Die, We Can Wash Him

To: Crecente
From: Bash
RE: Heart to Heart

Geez dude, no need to get that stressed out. Nothing is worthing getting that physically worked up over. Relax, deep breaths. I've found it helpful to assume everything is going to be fine. So whatever is eating at the back of your brain will be a-ok. Trust me. What you missed last night right below. A (hopefully) heartwarming story after the jump!

What you missed last night
Pikmin in SSBB
New Mint Green PSP
Peggle coming!
Capcom makes promise with us
Winner

Story from Christmas vacation: When we were leaving Japan, somewhere between our apartment and the airport, we forgot Mini-Bash's favorite stuffed doll. It's an Ultraman stuffed doll, but not like a regular Ultraman, a cute one you want to huge and squeeze. Mini-Bash was kinda down that we forgot, so we bought him a Totoro doll at the airport. He carried that doll from Osaka to Tokyo to Dallas to San Antonio.

Flash forward to the last morning of our San Antonio trip. We're outside La Mansion hotel, getting in the car, and Mini-Bash tosses the stuffed Totoro on the seat, causing it to bounce back out of the car, land in the gutter and slowly roll into a small opening in the storm drain. A one in a million shoot, really.

I get down on my hands and knees and peer into the drain. Can't make it out and image that it's rat food.

"Sorry kiddo, it's gone," I say.
His face scrunches up in a ball and big, fat tears pour out. The kid's crying.
"We can't leave Totoro. We can't. He'll die."

Mrs. Bashcraft points out the vague outline of Totoro's belly. We can't reach it. It's too far, but maybe we can if we had a stick. I make a beeline to the hotel, tell them what happened and ask for something to get it out. They give me some coat hangers, which I untwine and scratch at Totoro with. No dice.

Mini-Bash stands there, wiping his face, eyes red.

A hotel attendant I spoke with ambles over, carrying a broom. We wrap duct tape around the end and stick it in the storm drain. It's too short and won't reach. The hotel custodian passes by, asks: "Something fall down the gutter?"
"Yeah," I say. "My kid's stuffed animal."

The custodian drops the trash bag he's carrying and leaves, saying nothing.

Another guy, a guest at the hotel I presume, peaks over asking what we're doing. "Saving that kid's stuffed animal," another says. The rescue party has grown to 3 or 4. Smiling, the guest sips his coffee and watches. The custodian returns, carrying a long pole he's fashioned out of two shorter ones. They are bound by masking tape. There are hooks on the end.

The custodian sticks the contraption in the storm drain, but he can't get Totoro. He tells me that they need to get a crowbar, pry open the manhole cover.

A man in a suit appears. He's also sipping coffee, and one of the hotel attendants introduces him to me as the hotel manager. "Don't worry," he tells us, "we'll get it out." He goes back into the hotel or gets into a car, I forget. The hotel clerk now has a crow bar and is trying to get it under the manhole. He can't, so he gives it to another hotel attendant, who is able to get it under the manhole cover.

Mini-Bash stands there still, silent.

"Don stick your hands under there," the custodian tells an attendant. "We need gloves." He's hollering at a sanitation worker across the street, asking for a pair of gloves. He gets them and flips over the manhole covering. Water fleas fly up in our faces, and we bat them away. Peering in to the open manhole, we see Totoro directly below us.

The custodian takes his dustpan and lowers it down slowly. Using his contraption, he pushes Totoro into the dustpan and raises it back to street leave. Totoro is wet and brown and covered with water fleas. Mini-Bash runs over, arms open. Someone tells him not to touch it, that it's dirty.

"It's okay," he replies. "We can wash it." Agreed. Our plan: Three times with the yard hose and antibacterial soap and three times in the washing machine.

Mini-Bash thanks all the men who helped, shaking their hands. Likewise, I do the same. Totoro is dropped in two plastic bags which are sealed tightly and thrown in the trunk. It's a long ride back to Dallas.

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