Okay guys. Last night's dream was amazing. It's screaming to be shared, to be a real thing, so I'm writing the whole story here for you.
It was a Sunday night. I know, because it was Best Friend Date Day and stores were all closing early. Chrissy, Kathryn, and I were wandering around Toys R Us, not really shopping, just browsing and playing with the toys. There was only one staff member on duty, a grizzled old man with white hair, an old-timey inventor's mustache, and a gray vest. He kept giving us the stink eye for touching the merchandise. He was making such angry grunts and looking at us so disgustedly, that I finally grabbed the least expensive item off the shelf next to us - $25 Rusty Monkey Shampoo - and headed to the register.
After taking my payment, the curmudgeon clerk told us to stay put, and hobbled with his hunched posture to lock the front door and turn the sign to closed. He then pulled out a map of the store and told us to follow this aisle to the back of the store, to Door Four where he would meet us. My purchase earned us a challenge. If I washed my hair here in the store, I could get a refund. And it didn't seem I had a choice but to accept.
We made our way as he had shown on the map to the giant Door Four. I don't know how we had missed this entire wall of gigantic orange warehouse doors, all with non-sensical numbers assigned. Next to Door Four was Door Twenty-Five. After glancing over our shoulders to make sure the clerk wasn't watching, Chrissy opened Door Twenty-Five and slipped inside, leaving the safety of the group. The clerk came up behind us the exact moment Chrissy pulled the door closed, but he didn't seem to notice anything was amiss. I couldn't understand why Chrissy would go off on her own, when this situation definitely didn't seem smart or safe.
The clerk pulled open Door Four and motioned Kathryn and I into the dark. He led us through the nighttime warehouse, through the stacks of toys and products, to the very back of the room. He stopped in front of a metal staircase whose entrance had been chained off. "Go all the way upstairs. You'll see the place. We stay here."
Now this really didn't feel safe or smart, but his angry manner didn't give me much choice but to leave Kathryn behind and ascend the rickety stairs. Up three flights of unstable, metal steps in the dark brought me to what seemed to be an open platform. I turned right off the last step towards it. As soon as I did, loud game-show-style music blared from unseen speakers and bright stage lights illuminated a small pond, edged by a lazy river, all supported by a stone wall. Rusty monkey statues sat poised on the corners, their smiles strangely inviting and creepy at the same time. I looked around to see Kathryn and the old man on the ground two stories below. Chrissy, having been somehow informed about all of this by the clerk in advance, was on a special tower at the far side of the pond holding a camera.
The old man's voice came louder than I thought possible, "You will wash your hair with the Rusty Monkey in an entertaining way. If you succeed, your purchase will be refunded. Failure could mean... certain death." Suddenly, the whole situation was impossibly hilarious, and I was cracking up! The best laugh I'd had in a long time. I bought a bottle of shampoo at Toys R Us, and suddenly I'm in this weird non-televised game show in the back room?? "On your mark, get set, GO!" I rushed into the pond, laughing the entire time, dipping my head into the lazy river, lathering with the Rusty Monkey Shampoo, doing my best to be entertaining about it, flipping my hair back and forth and doing a silly dance. Kathryn and Chrissy were hysterical laughing at me. I think I even saw the clerk crack a smile.
And then, I woke up. But I think I earned my refund.