This story startÂ came from seeing one of Lily the Little Black Dog’s many chew toys. Like many of her toys, past and present, theyÂ seem to lose eyes, limbs, stuffing, and other parts. It’s also one of my few attempts of writing in the first person. The usual disclaimer: no editing was done to this article, so expect typos and such.
The bunny, one of Roxy’s chew toys, was on my desk to my left, near the edge. I hadn’t noticed, nor did I think I heard something. But it did seem odd, not the talking, the bunny being on my desk. Well, the talking was weird too.
â€œI need my eye, Horace, my other eye.â€
I stared at the bunny. Then at my coffee. It was early. It was only on my first cup, so it wasn’t the caffeine. What did I eat last night? Had some Sugar Pops and Cheetos while watching reruns of Lost, but that never caused any problems before.
I looked at the bunny. It was in a sitting position, hunched back. It’s disproportionately long ears standing straight up. A talking rabbit. Why not? Weirder things have happened in my life.
â€œAre you talking to me?â€
â€œSo you are listening,â€ said the bunny.
â€œI’m not sure. Doesn’t seem the thing to do: have a conversation with a stuffed animal.â€
â€œWe prefer plush toys. A stuffed animal is what you humans do to dead animals.â€
â€œDo I look dead?â€ said the bunny.
â€œYou look stuffed,â€ I said, then paused. â€œAnd why am I talking to slobbered over dog toy with one eye?â€
â€œIt’s about time you got on point, Horace. I need my other eye. You need to find it.â€
â€œWhy would I do that?â€
â€œI’m tired of having to turn my head left all the time to get the full picture. I need two eyes, not just one. You need to find my other eye.â€
â€œOkay, I’ll get right on that.â€
Just as I thought. My imagination. Wait. â€œHow do you know my name?â€
â€œSeriously. You have to ask that question? If we can speak and respond to you, it means we can hear you, what other people call you when they visit. Duh.â€
Great. Not only do I have a slobbered over dog chew toy with one eye, but one with a large measure of sarcasm. I was beginning to like him. Then I asked, â€œWho’s we?â€ I regretted the question immediately.
â€œAll the plush toys and not just the dog toys either.â€
â€œYou all can talk?â€
â€œYeah. Well, some better than others.â€
Out of the corner of my eye my computer monitor went into screen saver mode. Waves in colors of the rainbow slid across the screen.
â€œSo this is like Toy Story?â€
â€œWhat’s Toy Story,â€ the bunny replied.
â€œYou know, the movie. The one with the boy who has toys that actually come to life and speak when he’s not around.â€
â€œWhat’s a movie?â€
â€œA movie is short for motion picture, a film …â€ I stopped myself and looked at the swirls on the computer screen. Cripes. I was beginning to have an in-depth conversation with a stuffed animal. Not speaking to him or anything directly, I said, â€œYou know what? I’m going downstairs for a refill of coffee. I suspect, when I get back, you and this whole little scenario can be tossed into the realm of the Twilight Zone.â€
â€œCould you look for my eye while you’re up.â€
That was enough. I rose with my cup and left the room.
When I returned the bunny was gone. I resisted the urge to scan the room for his presence, thinking that only perpetuate this madness. I jostled my mouse, sending the colored waves fleeing, and began to check my e-mail. I put my coffee to my lips.
â€œDid you find my eye.â€
I jerked, spilling coffee over my fingers and on to the desk. â€œShit.â€
â€œI’m over here, Horace.â€
It was sitting atop the turntable on my stereo stand, left and behind me. I grabbed for some tissues, wiping my hands, and mopping up the desk. I must have used twenty tissues, now all brown and soggy.
â€œHow did …â€
â€œIf I said Roxy came in and moved me, would that stretch your credulity too much.â€
It’s possible, I thought. Yeah, sure. That dogs always messing with her toys. Wait a minute. The dog’s downstairs napping. I began to react when the bunny said, â€œShe prefers Dame Lady Abigail Anne, you know.â€
â€œRoxy. It’s her real name. Dame Lady Abigail Anne. I think it’s a nice name. We all have names, including your living pets.â€
I was listening, but comprehension was nearly out the door now. I wanted to replace the lost coffee with some of the single malt Scotch in my desk’s drawer. Talking stuffed rabbits had to be a good reason to start an all day bender at nine in the morning. But I thought better of it. Get hold of yourself, man. I drank the little remaining coffee and sat back down. Calm. Be calm.
â€œSo, I’m guessing you have a name?â€
â€œOf course. It’s Rufus. It’s not bunny, and it doesn’t come with a stupid theme song from Veggie Tales either.â€
Calm starting to follow reason out the door. â€œWait. You know about Veggie Tales, the video series for kids, but you don’t know Toy Story. What’s up with that?â€
â€œYou know about Veggie Tales. You said the song was from Veggie Tales, I heard you say it, so now I know it’s from Veggie Tales. Anything after that is speculation on my part until you explain it to me.â€
â€œOkay, the depth of your knowledge of me comes from empirical observation.â€
â€œIf you mean by what I see and hear, yeah.â€
â€œMakes perfect sense,â€ I said. â€œExcept for the fact that you’re a stuffed animal without a brain, which means you can’t comprehend anything I say or function with any kind of reason.â€
â€œWhat’s a brain? Could I be missing that and my eye too.â€
â€œThis is whacked,â€ I said slapping my thighs and wringing my hands.
â€œI’m just messing with you, Horace. Well, except for the eye part. Everybody knows plush toys don’t have brains. It would still be nice if you found my lost eye.â€
â€œIf I find your eye and glue it back on, does that mean you’ll stop talking.â€
â€œProbably. Maybe. I like talking to you.â€
â€œYes would have been the better answer.â€ I stood to leave, search for the lost eye, and consider abandoning all hope of sanity in the near future. But I stopped. And turned back into my office. â€œYou know, almost every one of Roxy’s chew toys is in need of some repair, at least a spin the washing machine to be cleaned. But you’re the one says something. Care to explain that?â€
â€œShy? That’s it? Or are you the only one who can speak or I can hear.â€
â€œWell. We kind of decided that if we all started talking to you at once, you’d probably, like, go crazy.â€
â€œAnd one talking plush toy wouldn’t do it?â€ I interrupted.
As if ignoring me, Rufus continued, â€œWe opted for a spokesperson. That would be me.â€
â€œWell, there’s a new wrinkle: a plush toy democracy.â€
â€œYou don’t have to be belittling Just find the eye is all we ask.â€
I wanted to say, â€œOr what?â€ But with all reasonable explanation for the current situation dissolving into ridiculousness, I said, â€œAlright,â€ and started again. This time with coffee cup in hand.
â€œAlfonse needs more stuffing,â€ the bunny called out before I could take the stairs.
Did I want to ask?
â€œYou call him Mr. Pig, the hand puppet, but his name is Alfonse.â€
â€œAnd he needs more stuffing?â€
â€œAnyone else’s physical predicament you care to inform me about at this time, or should I just stay on the search for the lost eye for now,â€ I said concealing no sarcasm whatsoever.
â€œThe eye’s fine for now. No hurry. Thanks.â€
No hurry, my ass. â€œDumb bunny,â€ I muttered.
â€œI heard that.â€