When children are young, they dream up all sorts of magnificent beasts and creatures, some odious and evil, some valiant and brave. The horrible live under the bed, in the closet, and in the mind. The fantastic live on the shelves, next to the pillow, and in the heart. As always happens in stories, and only much too occasionally in real life, once upon a time, one of these creatures awoke. He was very stiff, having never before moved, except when thrown around the room or smashed onto little brothers’ heads. Also, due to a factory error, his arm was sewed on just so, just a tad too far to the left, which made every swing hurt him terribly. Alas, ‘t is the plight of the fabricated to be ever dependent on others for their existence. Teddy was also missing most of one ear, by the way, but he lost this so early on in his life – in a heroic battle with the family’s now long-deceased hound – that it hardly made him feel incomplete. His hearing was a bit worse for the wear, but then it had never been very good to begin with, what with all the stuffing there to block it.
Anyway. When Teddy woke up, he had dreams, too. Most of them weren’t his own, of course. Stuffed animals don’t dream; they’re physically incapable of it, since they don’t have a brain. At least, most of them don’t… Teddy, however, he was special. For a long time, he’d known that. And he also knew how to show the world he was more than just a toy bear quite reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh, (but not too much, for fear of legal action). No, he was different. He was a firefighter.
Now, like Teddy, you may know no more of firefighting than the average seven-year-old, (Teddy’s owner being seven), and frankly, neither do I. However, one of the most important things to do when fighting fire is to wear protective clothes, gloves, a mask, etc. The kind of things that keep you from being grilled and/or roasted. Teddy was blissfully unaware of this fact, just as he was blissfully unaware of the fact that contrary to regulations, his fur was made of highly flammable material that really shouldn’t be used for kids’ toys. Teddy had never, but if he did come too close to open fire, he would start melting, latching onto the unfortunate hands of whomever happened to be holding him. Most likely an innocent youngster who would from then on forever be reminded by the black goo sunk into his skin that bears were abysmally abhorrent abominations, cruel to no end, gleefully striking terror into the very core of those they met.
As I was saying, though, Teddy didn’t know this. Not yet. He had no such intentions. Not until he went to the fire station to sign up as a volunteer and was laughed at and turned away. He wasn’t cruel, but they were! These men and women who refused to take him seriously. Who couldn’t understand that the dreams of children are so strong they seep into the souls of their toys, alighting them with the kind of zeal that only few adults even remember. Teddy would have made the best, most courageous firefighter ever, if only he could have been given the chance. But no. Fate had no such thing in store for the Pooh-r bear.
Instead, fate made it so that the fabric of Teddy’s brain started to unravel at the horror of being mocked and made fun of. Stuffed animals are meant to be loved, to (seemingly) protect and serve their owners. Never. Ever. Laugh at a teddy. If he’s one of the few who have been blessed and cursed with faux fur grey matter, he might just turn around, light a match and a cigarette, and set fire to the gas slowly diffusing from the confines of the tank he’s just knocked over and rolled into the heart of the fire station. A smile might just be seen, ever so fleetingly, playing on his lips. Many of the firefighters might get caught unawares, like Mufasa, trapped in their safe house, as the heat and the smoke and the death burns its way up. And in the midst of the flames may stand Teddy, laughing like a loony now.
The poor firefighter who last laid eyes upon the beast would forever be haunted by the crazy gleam in Teddy’s beady eyes, the sound of sheer madness slowly fading to nought as the dragon’s breath scorched, then obliterated the formerly friendly furry. The only salvation to the man’s perpetual nightmare was to kill every stuffed animal he came across, particularly the teddy bears, on sight. It almost landed him in jail a couple of times – would have, except his job proved he must be sane. No matter, at least he could rest assured, knowing that he was leaving the world a better place.
Spread the word.
Do not mock the Teddy.