997 words about plushies coming to life
|"Spontaneity repulses me," I explain to Alvis. I lift a small white teacup trimmed in gold to his fluffy beak. |
Co-managing an accounting firm has been my life for years, and it isn't what I would call stress-free. The only thing that has helped me survive is routine. "Stay on task, track my investments daily, don't take unnecessary risks." I repeat this mantra several times a day.
"Bryan simply has no respect for the boundaries I've set in place!" I complain to Alvis, "He tells me of this pointless company party yesterday, and he expects me to act as host? He knows I'll be working from home this weekend! But what can I do? My harebrained colleague has already invited our subordinates." Alvis, 'the Wise One' peers at me with unblinking eyes.
Alvis is perhaps the true reason I resent hosting a party at my own home. A plump stuffed owl, he is just one of my many private fixations. Plushies are my guilty pleasure. I find myself thinking about sharing my deepest secrets to Alvis, or cuddling with Candy, the cat cutie, or giggling with Funko Fox. They're really the only 'people' I have to talk to. When I get out my plushies, all the tension I hold throughout the day evaporates from my burdened shoulders.
Of course, no one would ever take me seriously! So while I can't fight the lure of my teddy Sparkles, I can keep him, and the others, on a tight leash. Exactly one hour a day, I allow myself to play discreetly with my assortment of enduring characters.
I gather all my beloveds, place them in an old ugly chest I found in the attic, and lock it.
I have the living areas set up neatly when the first guest arrives.
"Good afternoon, Ms. Hawn." My voice is well-controlled.
"Hi Rick!" my secretary squeaks, her eyes anxiously darting around the room. I stare intently at my phone to prevent further small talk.
Ten minutes later, my living room is overcrowded with unwanted guests. I sit in the corner and watch everyone speak quietly as if to avoid provoking Grendel.
"Heya, Rick!" Bryan's notorious shoulder punch yanks me back to reality. "Love the place! It's so....uhhhh tidy."
"Hello." One word responses work well in situations like this. That is, unless your speaking to Bryan.
"We need some music in this joint, don't you think?
I drag myself to my feet and turn on some Mozart. "You got no jams, Rick. Hey, you gotta place to smoke?"
Outside, Bryan pulls out a joint. "Are you serious?" I look at Brian with accusing eyes.
"Of course I'm not serious, Rick, that's the point. Here take a hit."
"No, I'm not-" My words are cut short as Bryan stuffs the burning joint in my mouth. I gasp, breathing in the thick combustion by accident, and I proceed to cough up my lungs.
The world slows down. An animal cackles in the distance. Brian is laughing like a hyena.
I cautiously walk back in my house. I just need to sit down.
"Ahhhh, how cute," I hear my secretary's voice and look up, "I didn't know you liked plushies, Rick!"
My heart stops. "That's not mine!" I snatch my cat cutie from her hands and run out of the room. How did I forget to put her away? I throw my plush back in my bedroom with the locked chest. I walk back to the party in a daze.
"Rick," Brian laughs, "your plushing!"
"Excuse me?" I frantically look back at my bedroom.
"I said your blushing."
Before I can respond, the music screeches to a stop. I turn around, and there is Funko Fox sitting on the speakers. As I run to snatch him up, I think I see his arm twitch.
Techno blasts out of the speakers. I hide Funko behind my back and stand against the wall. My heart is beating louder than the music. "I'm going crazy!" Did I say that out loud?
"Let's all go crazy," Brian enthuses. "The beer is here!" Everyone yells in joy.
"Wait," I start, "I didn't agree to any-"
"What's that noise?" someone asks. The room quiets down, and underneath the techno, sounds of children laughing seep through the door of my bedroom.
How is this possible? The only thing in there are my plushies. I sneak a peek at Funko. He winks at me. I drop him and scream.
"Everything alright, bud?" It's Brian again.
"No, everything is not alright. I did not want any of you people here!" My voice is shaking, but it feels so good to let it out that I start to yell. "I did not want this! I have better things to do than to waste my time with you..."
I start to trail off as I notice everyone quietly watching me nervously.
"What's that?" Ms. Hawn breaks the silence with her slurred words. I hear the sound of soft weeping in the middle of the room. The crowd forms a circle and looks at the floor. I rush over and push my co-workers aside. There is my chest, sitting in the middle of my leaving room. The lock is gone.
"What a hideous container!" someone says. The weeping turns into wails. I quickly sit on the chest.
"P-Please," I stammer, "just..." I have no words. I've never felt so out of control.
I hear the toilet flush, and out flies Alvis from the bathroom landing on my shoulder.
"It's cool, man," Brian says. "Who doesn't like plushies?"
"Yeah, I practically am a Plush!" Ms. Hawn laughs.
Suddenly, the weeping stops, and the chest starts vibrating fiercely, knocking me to the floor. Alvis flutters down and lifts up the chest lid with his beak. Out jumps Sparkles and all his friends.
Everyone cheers. I'm dumbstruck.
"Your plushies came to life today!" Brian says, "It's about time!"
For the first time in years, I can't stop laughing.