Tall Guy short stories

Stories the whole family can read.

Worn Stitches.

The wrinkled woman guarding the money slowly gathered her things before making her way to the door. Buttoning her coat and preparing for the blast of the winter air, her hand quivered on the doorknob. A final look back into the rundown shop reaffirmed her suspicions; it would soon be bankrupt.
It wasn’t that she didn’t have any merchandise to sell. In fact, the problem was the new store down the street. Their toys have screens and need batteries to operate. None of us know what batteries are, but the woman complains about it often enough.
Before the new store, children came in and played with us after school for hours while the woman watched us with a beaming smile. We never grew tired of the games the children came up with. One boy pretended that I was a knight, once…it was such a long time ago.
Seeing children walk past the shop with their new toys held passionately close to their face reminds us of the days when we met our children for the first time. What we wouldn’t give to be held like that again! Always the center of attention for a child is a dream come true for me. The warmth of their hands, and the laughter that comes when I fall to the ground have faded from my memory.
The room falls into darkness as the woman closes the door. She doesn’t bother leaving a light on at night anymore. She says there isn’t anything here people want anyway. I don’t know why, but, I feel empty inside.
With nothing to do in the darkness, I fall to my side and drift off to sleep.
The sunlight streams through the painted glass and reflects off the polished tin tops and other unpainted toys in the window. The wooden rooster crows, bringing us out of the sleep that claimed us the night before. Normally, I would sit up and stretch the stiffness from my seams. Today, I couldn’t find the strength to sit up at all. A heaviness was inside me. I knew it wasn’t only sawdust that filled me with a feeling of substance. Is this what it is like to reach the end of your existence? To feel worthless and empty?
It was hours later that the woman finally came to the shop. She arrived later and later as the days progressed. The crossed off days on the calendar grew closer to the one circled in red called, ‘Christmas Day!’ I remember the first Christmas that I spent with a boy named Joey. He replaced me the following Christmas with a blue metal car. From the bookshelf, I would spend hours watching him play with the car. How he loved that new, shiny toy! His mother soon gathered several of us together in a box and brought us here where very few have gone home with a new child.
Roger, the soldier, and I have shared this same shelf ever since. We are the oldest ones in the shop and we doubt that we will ever feel the joy radiating through a child’s hand again. We haven’t moved to a new shelf in over two years.
Now it’s in the afternoon when the wrinkled woman comes. She stays for a few hours and then leaves. Several times, she doesn’t lock the door behind her. Our value as toys has reached a level so low that she no longer deems us worthy to protect from thieves. It has been weeks since someone else has visited the store. They had a similar brown box of toys to donate and were taken to the back room. No one has them since.
The circled day on the calendar has become a sign of the end of times for us. In large black letters that smother the original red ones is written, ‘Last day.’ I never dreamed that there would be a day that children didn’t want to play with toys.
Today is the last blank day on the calendar. It’s like we don’t exist anymore. She’s sitting at the counter, staring out the dirty glass windows at nothing in particular. People can be seen across the street, oblivious to the world as they stare at their new toys. They seem so lifeless to me. When a child used to pick me up, I could wave my arms around while they laughed and danced with me. That was when I felt truly alive. The new toys don’t move at all, but, the people stare at them constantly. I don’t understand it. What has happened to the children?
A man huddled in his coat walked by the window and glanced through the shop windows. As he entered the shop, the wrinkled woman stirred from dozing off. His bright eyes took in the different toys as he walked around the store. He approached Roger and I. The other toys were doing their best to hold his attention when it fell on them, but, ultimately his eyes lingered back to us.
Reaching up, he delicately pulled me into his massive hands. I felt so small as he looked at me from all angles. That was when I saw Roger. He looked as if he were a ghost. I knew that he was never going to be chosen and he would end up in the trash with the other broken toys. I couldn’t bear it any longer.
The second the man looked away, I grabbed the worn stitches on my left arm and pulled with everything I had, causing it to fall into his palm along with some sawdust. Shock came to his face as he turned to the woman and said, “I’m sorry, ma’am. The arm of this toy just fell off in my hand.”
Dismissively, the woman said, “That one is older than you are, Hun’. Just put it back on the shelf and I’ll fix it later.” The man gingerly placed me back on the shelf, laying my arm beside me. As he was dusting his hands, he looked again at Roger. With a single hand, he reached up and grasp Roger.
“What is this soldier made of? He’s heavy.” The question was directed towards the woman while she slowly shuffled her way over to him.
“That was made back when toys were made to last. Nobody today knows his real worth because they can’t see past his chipped paint. Why don’t you take him with you?”
“What does he cost?”
“More than you can afford. Which is why I want you to take him.”
“Are you sure? It doesn’t feel right for me to just take this without paying.”
“Take him, I insist.”
He turned Roger over in his hands, inspecting him thoroughly. The man said his thanks and left the store.
My best friend was gone and I was all alone, staring up at the wood-grain shelf above me. I was ready to join the others in the garbage can. We dreaded the end, but knew it was inevitable. Roger was the only one that had escaped.
Something began pulling on my leg, dragging me to the edge of the shelf. My disconnected arm stayed where the man had left it. My body left the shelf and slid onto a bumpy surface. Fear paralyzed me as curiosity clawed at my thoughts. The wrinkled woman’s head came into view as she held near her waistline. She plucked my arm from the shelf and placed it next to me.
I was lifted to her face as she said, “You’re coming home with me tonight. I have a special grandson that is going to love you.”

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