by Sunny Rajpal
Children's story about a toaster on a voyage of self discovery.
Timmy was a toaster, more than that he was a terrible toaster. He was lazy and lacked focus. He would get halfway through toasting the bread and he would get bored of it. The toast would come out partly toasted, partly undone but mostly burned. Timmy did not mean to do it but he just was not very good at his job. Timmy was fired many times from his job of being a toaster. He was sad because no one wanted him for very long. One day Timmy burned the bread so badly it caught fire. The fire department had to come out and put the fire out. That night Timmy was not only fired but he was sent to the junkyard.
Timmy awoke the next morning on a pile of junk, most of the junk was broken stuff that nobody could fix. Timmy was not broken so why did he have to go to the junkyard. Timmy hopped around the junkyard with his extension cord trailing behind him. Timmy was very sad and awfully confused. "I tried to do my best", Timmy cried, "but it was not good enough." Timmy had decided to give up and lay down in a junk pile and rust away. He plopped down on a big pile with a loud crunching sound. "Ouch", came a muffled cry from beneath him. Timmy was shocked but he jumped up and looked around to see who had made the sound. The pile of junk he was recently laying on moved around and out came a shiny metal peeler.
"I.. I'm sorry, I did not mean to hurt you", burst out Timmy apologetically. The shiny peeler gave a shake to get rid of junk all over her and said, "Oh that is okay I guess, as long as it was an accident I can't be mad at you." The lady peeler gave a final wiggle and looked at Timmy and said, "Ohhh, you're a toaster. Wow. What are you doing here?" Timmy did not answer right away. After a moment of him looking at her with fear he mumbled, "I am... I am Timmy. Timmy the toaster. I was sent, I mean I came here because..." Timmy could not bring himself to admit why he had been sent to the junkyard. Timmy looked away and could not answer the peeler. How could he tell a stranger he was a terrible toaster and that is why he was sent here?
The peeler smiled a knowing smile and said softly, "I think I know why you are here but you can tell me all about it when you are ready. If it helps I can tell you my story." The peeler hopped to a small cup sitting askew on the ground and made herself comfortable. "Well first I guess I should tell you my name. Peggy. Peggy the Peeler. My friends call me, Peggy the Perfect Peeler. But, Hun, you can call me Peggy." Peggy grinned and said, "Where are my manners? Timmy, was it? Well Timmy it is mighty nice to meet you." Then peggy did a little bow to Timmy and sat smartly back on the slanting cup. Timmy was very excited to meet such a nice and warm peeler. He hopped up and down and tried to sloppily copy the bow. He then burst out, "Oh it is so very nice to meet you too Peggy. I am ever so glad to meet such a wonderfully kind peeler here, here... well here in in this junkyard. How did you get here? You look in such fine shape and as you say you are perfect right?" Timmy then blushed for he thought he had asked too personal a question. "If you could please tell me," He added hastily to try and not make her feel bad.
"Oh shucks, Hun, 'course I am gonna tell you that." Peggy asked Timmy to get comfortable as well so she could tell him her story. Timmy hurried to find a spot for himself so Peggy could continue. Peggy began after an almost inaudible sigh, "I was a peeler. A perfect peeler mind you. I don't say that to gloat I say that 'cause I was awarded that title. Well more on that later." Peggy gave a knowing wink to Timmy and went on, "I was made in Peeler, Texas. That is where the best peelers come from. My whole family was from there and we were a well know family back there. I was made to stay sharp for as long as I could peel. My mother was a peeler late into her life and even after she retired she could peel with the best of them. I was so proud of her..." Peggy had to stop then as an unwanted tear gave too much of a sad part of her story away. She took a minute to compose herself and went on, "Well anyway lets not linger on that too long. You see I took over in the kitchen after my mother retired, and I was good. I could peel faster than anybody had seen before. Potatoes, carrots, mango and papaya. Shoot I could even peel squash and pomegranates. I was quick and I was sharp."
There was a glint on Peggy that told Timmy she looked back at her abilities with pride. Peggy continued, "There came a day that I, the winner of the county fair, was a contestant in the state fair. And you know what, I won. I won the state fair and i was awarded the top prize which included the title, 'The Perfect Peeler.' From that day everyone called me Peggy the Perfect Peeler or Perfect Peggy. I was so happy that day. More than me though, my mother was the happiest person in the state. She was so proud of me. I am glad she was able to see me win that title. It was not long after that, that she.. that she passed." Peggy again had to stop telling her story and Timmy could tell how sad she was at the loss of her mother. He tried a few words of comfort but Peggy told him it was fine and shortly she continued with her story.
"Oh, what a time for me. I was on top of the world. People would come from miles around to see me work. I worked hard and I worked hard. I gave them quite a show. It was quite gratifying to see the look in their eyes, especially the young ones. I would hear them say as they left, 'Mom, I want to be a peeler when I grow up.' This went on for a while but slowly less and less people would come. Until one day there was no one to see me work. I was not daunted though I kept on working just as hard. You see I was not working to show people how hard I was working, I wanted to do the best job I could. Soon though the work started to pile up, there was so much to peel and I started to fall behind. I doubled, then tripled my efforts but I kept falling further and further behind. One day I woke up and came into work and saw a terrible sight. I had been replaced by an electric peeler."
Timmy was shocked. He was shocked and he showed it. He was also mad, "How could they replace you? You were working so hard." Peggy calmed him down and sighed again as she went on, "Timmy, don't be upset. It was not their fault, there was just too much for a little peeler like me to do. It's just, that I wish they would have kept me." Timmy jumped up and slammed his base hard into the ground, "WHAT??? They.. they got rid of you. Oh, Peggy how could they?" A tear rolled down Timmy and Peggy came close and wiped it away. She comforted Timmy and said, "There, there Timmy. It's okay. I have accepted it. I am okay. I really am. You see they did not need me anymore so they sent me here to live out the rest of my days. To rust in peace."
Timmy cried and cried. He could not control himself. How could the world be so cruel? Peggy was a hard working peeler and she was thrown aside when something new came along. Timmy was sad for Peggy. He wanted to say something that would make everything alright for her again. He started thinking about the problem. He was trying to think of a solution for Peggy but he kept thinking about his own situation. He started thinking hard about it and he became more sad. Here was a perfectly working peeler that had been thrown aside even though she had worked hard every day of her life and here he was a working toaster who had not worked hard at all. He realized that if he had just worked a little harder and concentrated in his job he could have made perfect toast and he would never had been thrown out. How could he have been so dumb? Oh why, oh why had he not worked harder. This was a very important moment for Timmy. Though he had a shameful past he decided he would work hard from this day forward to be the best toaster in the world.
Timmy stood tall and he looked meaningfully at Peggy. It was time to come clean. Timmy unabashedly told Peggy what a terrible toaster he had been and vowed to her he would be better. He told her she had inspired him and he would be the best not only for himself but also for her. Peggy was so happy to hear this, she was overjoyed and told Timmy she would help him achieve his goal whatever it took. "Well Peggy, there is no reason for us to stand here one more minute and weep in our sorrows. Let's get going, there is an entire world out there waiting for us. Whether they are ready for us or not here we come." Timmy grabbed Peggy and off they went to prove themselves.
The world was not happy to see Timmy. Every job he went to he was told, "NO." He was thrown out with a, "NO WAY! We have heard of you and you are terrible." He was shown the door with a resounding, "Thanks, but no thanks!" This would have deterred the earlier Timmy, but with Peggy at his side encouraging him he continued on resound in his belief that if he got a job he could prove himself. Timmy tried and tried and tried and was rejected until one day he happened on a small cafe owned by a kind old lady.
The place was a little run down, the chairs and booths were a little dirty and ripped but the nice lady owner welcomed them in with kind words, "My name is Caitlin and i own this little restaurant, Caitlin's Cafe." Timmy was depressed from all the past failure but he looked over to Peggy and saw strength in her and took a deep breath. "My name is Timmy the Toaster and this is my friend Peggy the Peeler." He saw recognition in Caitlin's eyes as he mentioned Peggy. "Oh my, is that Peggy the Perfect Peeler. Wow I can't believe it. I saw you peel when I was a little girl. It made me get into cooking and I started this restaurant because I saw how hard you worked and how much you loved it." Caitlin said this very fast without taking a breath. She seemed to grow 10 years younger as she looked at Peggy. She had a smile from one side of her face to the other.
Caitlin made tea for everybody and they sat in a booth talking. There were no customers in the cafe at the time so they talked for a while. After a bit Timmy brought the conversation back to reason for their visit. "Caitlin, this is a lovely cafe and I was wondering if you are looking to hire a toaster and peeler?" Caitlin looked sad when she heard those words. She was quiet for a bit and then said, "I am so sorry, Timmy. I would love nothing more than to hire a toaster and peeler, I have need for both. But you see... I can't afford it." Her eyes glistened with a tear as she went on. "You see, business is not very good for me. There just are not a lot of customers right now and I could not afford to pay you. Sorry." Caitlin was about to apologize again when Timmy looked over at Peggy and saw the same resolve he was feeling. He said, "Wait. We will work for free. Well at first anyway. You see I want to prove to you and everybody that I am a good toaster, not a terrible one." Caitlin looked anxious, she did not want to have work done and not pay fairly for it. "Look, its temporary. Let us work and if sales go up you can pay us." Timmy begged Caitlin. Caitlin looked to Timmy and then she looked to Peggy and both looked resolved not to take no for an answer. Caitlin was joyed at how wonderful the two were and how they wanted to help her out and agreed to let them work for free, but she promised she would pay them as soon as she could.
Timmy and Peggy began work the next day. Timmy worked hard and he helped around the kitchen where ever he could when he was not toasting bread. When it did come time to toast some bread he made sure it was perfect. He even put smiley faces into each piece which made the customers happy. Peggy worked just as hard and she made Caitlin's job ever so much easier. Soon customers began to notice the change in the restaurant, the food was better and the atmosphere was vibrant. Word of mouth spread from customer to customer, slowly at first but faster as time went on. People would come from miles around to get the terrific toast with the smiley faces and kids would line up to see Peggy peel like a perfect pro. Caitlin was very happy and it was not long until she could afford to pay Peggy and Timmy a very good wage. She even bought a new sign for her restaurant, "Caitlin's Cafe. Home of Peggy the Perfect Peeler and Timmy the Terrific Toaster."
Timmy worked hard everyday and he gave all of himself into his work. He had learned a very important lesson and he was not going to forget it anytime soon. He was a Terrific Toaster for the rest of his life and he never let Caitlin and Peggy down.