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When Supertoys Become Real

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When SuperToys become Real

BY JAMES GERALD KOCH

Christmas Eve had arrived. The boy’s mother and father were putting the last “Santa Gift's” around the tree before going to bed. The Christmas tree was beautiful and a rare novelty in these times for a real tree was a real expense. His wife had only shook her head over his excitement when they had gotten it and the work included in putting it up. The expense was not an issue anymore for she understood this was a yearly indulgence he insisted on.

“Smell that?” He said drawing her close to observe the twinkling lights.

“Smells like a tree “she said giggling.

“That” the man spoke softly “is a door to childhood.”

The Christmas tree was indeed beautiful and the hand wrapped gifts the man and his wife made looked rather Victorian under the tree - so different in a time when people had longed stopped wrapping gifts. They stopped a moment simply regarding their handiwork.

There were quiet a few presents under the tree but the best gift sat unwrapped in the man’s chair in the den. In the chair was Teddy, A toy most kids could only dream of having for Teddy was a late year Production of the Cybertronics toy line. Teddy was the latest of child companion SuperToy. Teddy was fat and cuddly as a bear should be; his fur was soft, brown and curly and Teddy wore an expression of knowing. When the father and mother stood back and looked at the bear wearing a large Christmas bow around his neck and a large candy cane between his paws, the effect was charming.

There were other gifts to be sure - a float ball, clothes, candys, vidbooks and many other things a boy would love, but the Bear was quite the best of all, For hours after Teddy had been turned on Christmas morning the boy loved him. Then, Aunts and Uncles came to dinner and there was the great moment of unwrapping of gifts, eating and drinking to the extent Teddy could only sit and watch mostly forgotten on the floor.

“Hello” said a strange man who lifted the bear a bit too forcefully from the ground and held him up looking over at the boy's father.

“They sure didn’t make toys like this when I was a boy” the man said as the bear gave a small growl and responded loudly.

“I AM NOT A TOY."

Causing brief chuckles in the room before the boy’s father carefully took the bear and sat him in the den’s chair.

For many weeks the bear was a novelty in the boy’s room but certainly no one thought a great deal about him. There had been after all, SuperToys from Christmas’s before and being naturally shy and of no great size the other toys ignored him. Some of the toys from seasons before thought them self's quiet superior. The universal soldier from the year before never missed an opportunity to point out the fact Teddy was fat.

‘I AM NOT A TOY!’

Teddy tried to point out but the soldier looked at him at eye level and thrust a finger into his chest. “You are a machine, we are all machines”.

The other toys watched this confrontation and advised Teddy he should keep his place - all but a worn donkey who simply watched from a distance.

Now, the donkey had been in the boy’s room longer than any of the others. He was so old that the boy’s father had played with him himself when the first SuperToys had been four legged models and showed seams underneath. His fur was bald in places and most of the hair in his tail had been pulled out. He was wise for he had known the boys father and had seen the succession of SuperToys arrive and boast and some to break and few to be turned off and to be packed away. They were just toys the donkey knew and would never be anything else.

“What is Real?” asked the Bear one day, when only the Donkey and him were alone in the room.

The Donkey had cocked his head and in a knowing way had told the Bear “Real isn’t how you are made, “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you as the boy’s father has loved me and as the boy Kris has, then your not just to play with, when a child truly loves you, than you become real.”

Teddy didn’t understand. “Does it hurt” asked the bear.

“Well, sometimes, I suppose it does, Teddy, but when your real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen at the factory or bit by bit?” asked the bear.

The Donkey paced slowly around the bear on his small hooves. “It doesn’t happen all at once" said the donkey, “you become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen easily. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your fur has been loved off, your joints get loose and people don’t pay you much attention. The thing is Teddy, once you become real you can’t be ugly, except to those who are not.”

“You see that?” said the donkey.

Teddy had to rise to the edge of the windowsill to look over it to see the boy and his father as the donkey continued.

“Kris’s father made me real when he was Kris’s age. That was many years ago but I know I am real because of him. If you look at me you can see I am real to him as he keeps me around. Even Kris’s mother doesn’t know the secret but ever once and a while when we are alone and he has had a hard day we talk like we use too.”

Teddy frowned. It could be a long time before this magic called Real could happen to him. He tried to calculate a sum and counted before giving up.

When the boy had entered his room and was almost about to go to sleep that night he was changing his clothes when he looked up at Kris and asked.

“Is twenty years a long time?”

The boy’s eyes grew large as if to think and replied

“Why Teddy, that is a silly question! why, twenty years is almost forever?”

Now, there was a nanny who came often to baby-sit and tidy up. She took little notice of the Super Toys and when she did it was to complain that they were always underfoot and she was given to turning them off and putting them away. Teddy didn’t mind her much for he was usually quick not to get in her way though the others on this day were all switched off and packed up for she was tired of them and it had been a long day.

She had tucked the boy in his bed and had told him a story but the boy did not like to sleep alone least monsters should get him without his universal soldier. In her business she had forgotten where she had put the soldier but her eyes landed on Teddy in a near by chair and she reached for him.

“Here” she said “take Teddy” he’ll sleep with you and keep you safe” and she lifted Teddy by one ear into the boys outstretched arm’s.

That was the first night Teddy slept in the boy’s bed. At first Teddy didn’t like it very much for Kris hugged him very tight. Teddy many times wanted to growl but the donkey standing in the corner of the room just smiled and gave him a knowing look and Teddy didn’t growl - it wasn’t easy - sometimes the boy in sleep would roll over on him and Teddy wanted to call out “I’ll break” but soon he got to like it for the boy began to talk to him and always kissed him before going to sleep.

And four years thus went by and the Bear was very happy- so happy that he never noticed that his fur had became worn and his joints a bit loose.

And than came a day the donkey had warned him about. Teddy had gone into the playroom while Kris and his family were out and the small donkey did not answer when he entered. The donkey lay still as in sleep. Teddy looked to see if the nanny had turned him off but the switch was on and he could not rouse his friend. Kris’s father had come to collect the donkey and cradled it carefully as an old friend. Teddy looked up to see and asked
“What’s wrong with the Donkey?”

“Donkey was very old Teddy... SuperToys are like people Teddy, they get old and one day they cease to operate.”

Teddy stared at the limp donkey in the man’s hands.

“Perhaps the toy maker can fix him and make him new again” said Teddy with a small voice.

The man eased himself down slowly till he was sitting beside Teddy and cradled the donkey as if it were asleep. He was silent for a moment than began:

“The toy maker could make him new perhaps Teddy, but they could not bring Donkey back. There are some things Teddy that can be fixed and some things that can’t. If Donkey had broken a leg or some thing simple like that they could fix that, but you see Donkey was REAL Teddy, and no toy maker can bring that back.”

The man sat for a moment softly petting the donkey and said:

“I have expected this day would arrive and I prepared for it. Follow me” he said to Teddy as he got up.

The two went to the mans room where he went to a closet and from a high shelf he removed a hand made wooden box.

“I made this just for him Teddy, and the day has arrived.”

Teddy followed the man out to the garden outside where he dug a small hole near the raspberry canes beside the flower border. The man worked carefully and when he had finished digging the hole he put the box into it and using his hands covered it.

Teddy didn’t understand why the man stood there for a long time with his eyes closed but when he opened them he simply smiled at Teddy and then went inside. Teddy didn’t follow him but sat very still and remembered all the things Donkey had told him. He didn’t notice the time passing until he observed the May moon rising large in the sky and the coming chill of evening.

That night, the boy’s parents had gone out and the nanny had come over to stay with Kris. Bedtime had arrived and Teddy from the lawn looked up to the lit window of the boy’s room. As he looked up he could hear a conversation between the nanny and the boy.

“You must have that silly bear!” she said  “All that fuss for just a toy!”

“I must find Teddy!” Kris had said and continued:

“You mustn’t say that. He isn’t a toy - He’s Real!”

When Teddy heard those words he was suddenly happy, for he knew what Donkey had said was true at last. Teddy ran as fast as his legs would carry him and soon he was banging on the back door.

When the door opened it was not the nanny standing there but the boy who wore an expression of joy and carefully lifted him up and held him close while the nanny just shook her head.

Teddy knew it was as the Donkey and the man had said and he was a toy no longer. He was REAL.