It’s not hard for me to explain exactly why I am suspicious of Giggles N’ Hugs. Take that name. It seems to want to convey a sense of delight and familial closeness (though I have to wonder who, exactly, supplies the hugs the children unlucky enough to toddle in), but I say it’s overcompensating. Hell, I’m even suspicious of that N’ in the middle. (Watch: the apostrophe will turn out to be a blood splatter. You just wait.) It’s Just the sound of it: Giggles N’ Hugs. Giggles N’ Hugs. Giggles N’ Hugs. Say it out loud. Now don’t you sound like a murderer? You do. Your neighbors heard you saying that, and they’ve already called the cops.
Recently, while discussing with coworkers how creepy we find this place, I ended up calling up the Giggles N’ Hugs website. What I saw floored me. Lookit:
Pirate ship, dragon, unicorn, dancing candy, the biplane (kids love biplanes, I’ve heard) — all of it adds up to something that is just trying too hard to lure in the children, not unlike a child-eating witch living in a gingerbread house. I mean, pretend you lived in Hansel-and-Gretel times — you know, yore — and you heard that children who went into the forest, in the general vicinity of the gingerbread house, had vanished. Wouldn’t you and the other townspeople at some point become suspicious of the building designed specifically to appeal to children? Of course you would. And you’d tell the surviving children, “Look at this objectively. You’re being tricked. No one builds a house made out of gingerbread without an ulterior motive; the upkeep on pastry walls and a frosting roof is just awful.” Modern example: If a man in your neighborhood did not have kids of his own but did have yard littered with toys and a sign reading “ALL CHILDREN WELCOME” tacked to the front door, wouldn’t you caution the children to run away from the house? Possibly even compel the scary man to leave? Or at least ask him to scale back the child bait? This excessively cheerful Giggles N’ Hugs aesthetic just has to be covering up something far more sinister.
That’s not to say that the building in my neighborhood looks entirely pleasant. No, having seen it so many times, I’ve noticed a few telltale signs of evil. For example, on one wall of the building is a mural of children mindlessly walking, single file, toward the entrance. (There’s also this baby in diapers who is either tripping and falling or getting pulled up into the air, rapture-style. Very odd.) If you look closely, however, you’ll see the paint is chipping away, so the mural children have gradually taken on a monster-like quality, as if they’re some ungodly combination of child and stucco-creature. It’s like the true nature of this awful place has begun to rot through the once-cheerful exterior. Oh. Oh! And the worst part: The windows are all blacked out. I know, I know. You’re saying, “Drew, that’s obviously so that children can giggle and hug to their hearts’ extent without having weirdoes leer at them, but I’m not convinced. What are you trying to hide from the world, Giggles N’ Hugs?
Truthfully, I can’t say for sure what goes down behind the candy-striped walls of Giggles N’ Hugs. Maybe it’s nothing. Maybe it only seems inappropriate. Or maybe — just maybe — they’re cooking and eating children, in classic fairytale fashion. (There, I said it.) In the end, this is a matter for God and the FBI to sort out. In the meantime, I’ll suggest that someone ballsier than I should write an exposé. I’ve got the title ready for you: “Giggles N’ Hugs — What the Fuck?”
A final note: One image from the Giggles N’ Hugs website seems to hint at the place’s true nature.
That girl in the middle? Little Susie Birthday Cake? She’s not giggling or hugging. She’s screaming in terror, because her young eyes have seen through the facade of Giggles N’ Hugs. I can only hope that she was able to warn the others.