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June 17, 2011

The toy was a man too—the toy-image of a man—very little, with narrow jeans a red plaid shirt, and a little helmet of hair. He stood—little-like—on the shelf and looked up at a blonde boy towering over him.

For a moment, the pair of them—the toy man and the blonde boy—watched each other.

It was silly to call one ‘toy,’ and the other ‘boy.’ Only a letter’s difference.

Then the toy man repeated himself: “where am I from?”

“I don’t know,” said the boy. But they both knew he was trying to buy time.

“How did I come to be? How?”

The boy did what little boys do well: he made a squinty-faced giggle. But the giggle did not live once it left his mouth, as most giggles do. It died. It was consumed. It was smothered into the dust which floated in the air. The clock ticked a little. There can be nothing more quiet than the ticking of a clock.

“How? How, I ask you!”

The boy looked around the room. The sun, low in the sky, was shining in. It was painted everywhere—on the window, on the dust that had smothered his giggle.

“Look,” said the boy, pointing at the window. “Mr. Sun is going to sleep.”

The man took a nervous step and was still. The smile faded from the boy’s face. He said, “You’re my friend. Why do you ask me that? Why do you ask me ‘where am I from?’”

“You gave me a name—is that it? Is that all? You called me your friend and named me, and that’s how I started?”

The little boy looked very seriously down at the toy man and his face was different than before. His mouth parted slightly, as a very old man’s mouth might part. His brow furrowed, as old men’s brows often do. They skin around his eyes was tired.

And the plastic man suddenly became very alarmed. “I’ve asked too many questions. Don’t mind them. Just forget I asked them.” After a moment he put his hands up next to his face, his thumbs in his ears, and waggled his fingers at the boy.

But the boy’s chin wilted into a crying-chin.

Outside, Mr. Sun was painting his light all over the landscape, all over the sleepy air, all over a world of little children and their plastic friends, all over.

© Trent R. Leinenbach, Ashen Apples, 2011

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 17, 2011 7:31 pm

    Great narrator. (:

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