To me, Chuck E. Cheese's was nothing more than a happy and innocent place made for children. At least, that was what I thought until the day I decided I would actually find a way to find out for myself. I went to Chuck E. Cheese's and asked the employees about the rumors about Chuck E. Cheese's, and they said that there was a place known as "Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theater" (as said in the story, "Chuck E.'s Special", if you're not familiar), and it became a smash hit until they were in debt and had to let some of the animatronics go. I asked the employees where the place is, and they said that it was in San Jose California, and it's still there, but it's abandoned to this day.
I rode the plane to San Jose and drove up to the place (with the help of my trusty GPS). I tried to open the door, but it was locked. I peered inside, and the place was in shambles. Dust was everywhere, cobwebs covered the windows, and some arcade games, and the wooden walls was being eaten by termites. I went back to my car, and drove to a hotel to stay for a couple of days.
The next day came, and I noticed a middle aged man came knocking on my door. I let him in, and he introduced himself as Nolan Bushnell himself. I was floored when he came in, I had been in Chuck E. Cheese before as a kid, and now I had freakin' Nolan Bushnell, in the flesh, sitting in my hotel room chatting with me! I asked him about Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theater, and he told me Everything.
Nolan said that Pizza Time Theater was made in the 70's and it sometimes has its ups and downs. But ever since they first made Crusty the Cat, it became Chuck E.'s quote-unquote, "Cat's Meow". But one day when Crusty was long forgotten, there has been rumors going around that, the employees heard Crusty's own voice coming from the storage room. As they checked, nothing seemed off. Well, except in Munch's Cove, a few pieces of napkin seemed to be strewn about all over the floor, and a piece of paper was thumbtacked on the wall, with a badly written message stating; "Remember to have a ball".
The employees didn't know if it was a child playing a prank on them or what. They saw nothing was out of the ordinary. The kids were busy playing the games, eating pizza and drinking their beverages. They asked each other if they were pulling a prank, and they all said no. Now, they knew something wasn't right.
Suddenly, they heard one of the kids blurt out, "Crusty!" They ran out to see Crusty back in his usual spot in the portrait. They stood there, mouths agape and eyes wide in absolute shock. They thought they were dreaming, and Crusty said his usual lines during his impressions act. How that animatronic moved, no one knew. But what they did know, was that someone, or something, was trying to mislead them to the actual assailant.
Then Nolan told me that the employees took Crusty away, and the animatronic was never to be seen again. But, Crusty somehow managed to appear in Pizza Time Theater once again.
That night I drove up to the now abandoned Pizza Time Theater, picked the lock, and entered inside. The air was so tight I couldn't even breathe through my nose. It was so quiet that all I heard was my footsteps, and my own breathing. I entered the dining area, seeing the stage, and I looked over to the arcade area, like I said before, covered in cobwebs and dust. Then I noticed that on the stage wall, was something written in big bold letters. It read...
"REMEMBER TO HAVE A BALL!"
I wasn't fazed by it, but it did made me think twice about coming here after Nolan's story. I went through the back and down the hall to see a drawing on a piece of paper thumbtacked to the storage room door, and this, is what I saw...
I blinked. "What's going on here?" I asked myself. I opened the door... Nothing. Just then, I heard the lights on the stage flash on. One. By. One. And I heard the terrified voices telling me to help them, asking me what I was doing here. Then hearing Chuck E.'s own voice telling me to get out before "HE" gets me too, even though the voices were almost, Ghost-like. What the fuck was this madness? Was I dreaming? God, it felt like I was, but, I knew it was for real. I know you all might mistake me for insane or just making all of this up, but you should've seen the look on my face after finding out what happens next.
As I walked back down the hall and into the stage area, I found the lights on, and I heard the portrait open up and Crusty can be seen. He looked like an abandoned mess. A few wires stuck out of the animatronic that sparked a bit, making it twitch. His green, cat-like eyes almost looked as if they were about to pop out of its plastic sockets. His blue and gold "Wingers 13" shirt was torn and worn out. And its black and white fur looked old and dusty, as if the animatronic was locked in an attic for a Very long time.
I backed away slowly as he said his usual line in a distorted voice; "Hey Big C, you said you was gonna make me a star today! Can I do my act now?" He said this, while staring down at me.
It obviously saw me petrified, but I thought it never knew that I was genuinely afraid, as it continued: "Everybody guess if you can guess what real famous person this is! Mm-hmm! You dirty rat, you're a lousy copper who killed my brotha, mm-hmm, yeah, that's right, yeah."
I just stood there, frozen, as the nightmarish puppet performed. I remained glued on the stage as I saw him did his impressions. His performance was although genuinely harmless and cute, but the way he did this now, it was, to me, almost 'cringing' beyond belief.
"Okay, ladies and gentlemen," He continued, "who am I doing an impression- uh, uh, 'Expression', of now? Yes yes yes, every time I bite into one of Pascualli's pizzas, I know it's gonna be juicy, juicy, juicy!"
I didn't know what to do, I remained still throughout the entire show. I was supposed to make a run for it, but I was too scared to move.
By that time, he started to sing.
It was the 'Crusty Jukebox Skit', but without Chuck E. As he did this, I finally found my feet, and got the hell out of this demonic pizzeria. I drove back to my hotel room, got on the phone with Nolan, and told him everything about what happened.
He told me to never go back there, or next time, there wasn't going to BE a next time. He sounded concerned for me, glad I escaped a great danger. Even though, I didn't know what happened. I could still hear the pain filled voices of Chuck E. and his friends in my nightmares about the place, after what Crusty might've done to them, turning Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theater into, what I now call as a fortress for ghosts and goblins.
I felt like going back. I felt like going back to confront Crusty, or the Hellish ghoul that was possessing the animatronic, and end this nightmare once and for all. But, I don't know if I should. After all of the trauma I'd endured, I didn't know what was gonna happen if I go back. Maybe I'll actually die.
Matter of fact... I did go back...
I drove back up there the next morning, and expected Crusty to jump from around the corner and scare the holy fuck out of me. But, all I found was nothing. Just a vacant pizzeria.
If you still believe that Chuck E. Cheese has a dark secret, there's no doubt that what you just heard, is all the information you needed. Don't believe in what you hear on the internet, I tried that, and came up with nothing. But This, this is real. And Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theater is still there in San Jose, but it has been abandoned ever since it first closed.
And Crusty the Cat, is still out there. Waiting. Waiting for another guest to enter Pizza Time Theater's ruins. And once you enter, there's no chance of getting out alive.