“You’re just going to keep walking by aren’t you, Jackass?”
Thomas Shaw turned around to see who had just said that to him. His first reaction was anger, followed up by surprise when he saw that no one was standing there. He stood there in the toy aisle at the local ‘MEGA-MART’ completely alone. He shrugged, chalked it up to the exhaustion of his late overworked hours and turned back around to continue his walk through the aisle towards the next department over, which was office supplies.
“Yea..go ahead. Keep moving, I don’t need ya anyway. I’ll just get someone else to do it”.
This time, Shaw spun around even faster this time definitely knowing for sure he heard someone. Again, he stood alone in the aisle.
“Hey Genius, look over here. Up and towards your right”.
Shaw looked over to his right at a display of inexpensive rack toys. Various different clear bags of plastic army men and jungle animals hung there alongside bags of marbles, pretend money, eggs of sculpting putty. Hanging right in the middle towards the top was one ‘Wooly Willy’ magic magnetic drawing pad. Shaw remembered having one of these as a kid. He would play with it on rainy summer days or in the back of his parent’s station wagon on long trips. Seeing it hanging there brought back these innocent memories from youth and he gave a slight smile. Then, Wooly Willy looked directly into Shaw’s eyes and began to talk.
“What are you smiling for?” His once still-drawn mouth was now moving and his eyes now changed into a look of anger.
Shaw gasped as he stumbled back in the aisle. Wooly Willy looked at him and blinked a few times. This is a joke or some YouTube gag, Shaw thought. He then looked around his surroundings for any type of sign that he was being pranked. He was still alone, standing quietly in the aisle.
“Yea, I know. You think you’re going nuts or someone is messing with ya.” Willy continued to talk. The absurdity of the situation had immobilized Shaw.
“Well, it’s neither. I’m talking to you and ya better listen”.
An old man who worked at the store shuffled past the aisle, not even looking down at Shaw.
“I need ya to do me a favor” Willie’s voice continued on “I need you to tell whatever bunch of idiots that are still making me…that they need to STOP.”
A woman and her toddler daughter walked past the aisle. The daughter muttering something about “Minecraft”. Shaw glanced at them in a moment of fear, then looked back at Willy. This moment for Shaw had now gone way beyond surreal.
“The thing is pal, no one is buying me anymore. I’ve been around since 1955. In your new super fancy, world of hi- tech gizmos no one wants to put a bunch of magnetic sand on me for fun, ya get it?”
Shaw for whatever reason, found himself nodding in agreement to this inanimate yet well spoken toy.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love to have a kid putting that stuff on my face”. Willie’s eyes glanced down at the pile of magnetic sand that was at the bottom of the plastic container. “Me personally, I’m a fan of the top hat and goatee wardrobe combo. No one has dressed me in that for years. Why would any kid want to? Given the choice between me or some digital crap that could amuse them faster and easier with no thought, I’m gonna get my ass kicked in that grudge-match every time”.
Willie’s expression changed to mild sadness after he said that, then it changed back to one of determination.
” Contact this toy company, the one that makes ALL OF ME. Do some research, Google it or whatever the Hell you people do nowadays. Tell this company to stop wasting their time and life in making me. My time has passed and I’m just done”.
Shaw watched as Willie’s face morphed back into its original still face. The conversation was now over.
A family of four walked down the adjoining aisle and made a left towards right before Shaw’s aisle started. He knew that the aisle that they were heading too had all the gift cards for online app purchases.
Shaw reached up and pulled the Wooly Willy off the hook. He looked at its face, which was still not moving.
“You know, Willie. I could use you around my office”. Shaw said quietly to himself. “Nothing like a little childhood doodling to take care of some stress”.
Shaw started to walk away from the display holding Willy. Shaw looked down at him once again.
“Hey thanks for buying me, I appreciate it and all” Willy said with a slight smile. “But, I still think they ought a stop making me. What amusement could I give anybody?”
Shaw knew the answer to this but, kept it to himself. He knew that a little toy from a simpler time would bring him a small bit of joy to his constant, stressful world of adulthood.
Shaw checked-out with his purchase, got in his car and headed back to the office.
Wooly Willy would be dressed in that top-hat and goatee ensemble once again much to his delight.