A short story following on in the series after the Life of William, enjoy
I came into the world with an unfortunate ‘attachment’ but there didn’t seem to be any way of getting rid of it, which was the conclusion that I had already settled on. This was during the period of swimming around in some gloopy fluid as I prepared myself for my adoring public. While I was waiting I had developed a rather pleasing shape, a shiny smooth complexion that was just as good as any other part of the attachment; later, I would be constantly disappointed that I was never referred to as being as smooth as the pair of peach like globes up there on the ‘attachment’.
When we came into the bright lights, the ‘attachment’, that’s a mouthful, let’s call it ‘Jake’, seemed less enamoured with the situation and soon kicked up one hell of a racket. Meanwhile, I was being poked and peered at, wiped dry and only just managed to miss a rather large metal needle that threatened painful damage but it slipped past me and got another part of ‘Jake’; he didn’t like that either and the noise continued.
Life was pretty cosy for a while, I got wrapped in nice soft material most of the time, the daily swim in soapy water was OK and generally I was left to my own devices; what could be better. There was one ritual that I knew I would get fed up with if it carried on too long, the piggy song. It seemed to please the ‘Jake’ but it did get me worried to begin with when it was inferred that I might be getting sent off to market! How I would be detached didn’t bear thinking about but it seemed that it was only a game; I didn’t find it so funny. Other than that, as I said, life was generally quite comfortable. The ‘Jake’ was getting more and more active and soon spent longer awake than asleep and the noise he made was turning from constant wailing to at least the semblance of communication.
While playing quietly one day I noticed that there seemed to be another just like me. I hadn’t taken much notice of any of the life sideways to me, the stumpy little things that lived next to me were of no interest, short, inarticulate, not my kind at all, but over the way, that was different. He was as big as me and seemed to do all the things that I was, the only difference I could see between us was that he was a lefty; it was enough to make me feel superior but he still annoyed me.
It was in this silent rivalry that I got the best of him one day as I went on an unexpected journey. The neighbours went with me as they always did but I still pretended they weren’t there. The destination? A large round cavern of a place, soft pink cushions all-round the entrance and so wet inside the liquid fairly dribbled out and down the outside. In we went and it proved to be rather pleasant as we were swished about, squeezed a bit buy a pair of hard but smooth gummy parts that never seemed to hurt us and then, off back down to our own place. It would have been nice to have been dried off after the trip but it was an outing that would be repeated many times and we all seemed to have fun; that is until the day the intruders appeared.
The hard bits that liked to squeeze and tease stated to develop a rather unpleasant edge to them. From the redness that they were developing, a rather nasty but bright white thing appeared and soon another, I didn’t like it neither did the ‘Jake’ by the sound he made as he dropped us rather too sharply home one day. It was the beginning of the end of that game. There were enough other things to be going on with.
It seemed that I was growing up quite fast, happily always ahead of the neighbours, I had developed a nice if rotund profile, my face and hardened agreeably into quite the showy thing; my only bug-bare was the ‘lefty’. He would mimic me endlessly and it was really hard not to get annoyed at it but I did my best. Another milestone fell to me as the attachment, sorry the ‘Jake’ stated to get some degree of independence in movement. I am proud to say that I was the first thing to reach forward and be planted on the ground in his walking phase. You can’t really beat being first in something although that was about the only thing that I achieved. There was the matter of the bruising but that comes later.
Anyway, this independent movement brought with it all sorts of exciting adventures, we climbed mountains, waded through watery seas, played hardball with, well a ball actually and generally learnt how to make the giants run around after us. I knew I was the key to all this gallivanting about although the odd time I didn’t concentrate, the poor ‘Jake’ just couldn’t manage to keep upright and although I felt sorry for the old fruit, it served to remind every one of my importance; I hope.
Things got less glamourous when it was decided that we needed to be wrapped up most of the day. It was OK for the outside trips as you never quite knew if it was going to be cold and being at the end of the ‘Jake’ so to speak, I got the least of the heat. I like to call then the dark days, not only in the lack of light but the neighbours, four smell little things that had turned out to be quite a disappointment to live with. Disturbingly I had dark thoughts about the tiny one on the end, he was odd, almost deformed compared to my magnificence but, I knew I was being cruel and just left him alone. There was always bath time and the still cosy blankets to look forward to. And that was life for quite a while.
Things eventually got more active which developed into rougher play, I was glad of the outer protection of, what did he call then, Oh yes ‘boots’ for the ‘kick-about’, I winced at every impact but it wasn’t too bad even with the ‘toe-poke’ that seemed to please more than just the ‘Jake’. Those were the days.
As I slowed down, growing my more mature bought on the unpleasant hardening of my once pristine and soft skin, the back of my head felt horrible and I was glad I couldn’t see it. I had also grown a few hairs on my lower parts, but that seemed par for the course from what I could see in the higher distance, there were only one of two and if anything it added to my status as the other didn’t get any.
It seemed I had reached a plateau of usefulness; I was strong enough to keep the ‘Jake’ upright and keen enough to go on all the outings and exploits that he could manage to find. The incident with the other one, old ‘lefty’ was a near miss though.
There was some kind of commotion going on; I could only listen from inside the white canvas of what had been described as the latest in fashion wear; whatever that was. There had been some raised voices and other banging about and then it happened. I tried to screw myself under with the rest of the neighbours and only just missed the collapse of the canvas as it slipped past my face, I stayed as tightly folded as I could but you couldn’t miss the screams of agony from elsewhere. From the bouncing around the ‘Jake’ did on us, I was guessing that the ‘lefty’ and his friends had been less fortunate. It all settle down eventually but later on when we were removed, I could see that the poor old ‘lefty’ had caught the brunt of the issue and now sported an unpleasantly coloured face, purple and black were so not his colours.
It wasn’t the first time and unfortunately, despite being the leader of the fight, I too got caught, this time it was a much larger piece of wood. I heard the ‘Jake’ shout out although it was me that was injured. As he massaged me as best he could to try to minimise the damage, I heard someone call out, ‘you alright dear, do want a hand with the wardrobe?’ We were both not amused and I dared the neighbours or ‘lefty’ to say a word; they didn’t.
Our outerwear changed more radically after this. Added sturdiness, more hot although we were cared for more readily with regular bathing and now powder, the sweet-smelling kind not that horrible medicated rubbish although that had got rid of some nasty fungal stuff that had tried to take hold; we didn’t like that did we neighbours?
Very occasionally we had a real treat, it took me back to the days of the ‘Jake’ and his wet mouthed play only this time it was someone else, not him. The nasty white pegs were still there, all bright and uniform but this time surrounded with rather garish red stuff as they swooped over us but they seemed to be kept in check and the experience was actually quite nice. The ‘Jake’ seemed to like it too and despite the straggly hair that sometimes got us all wrapped up, we put up with it for his sake. The tickling of this rather larger and more motivated tongue certainly got the ‘Jake’ going as much as me. It wasn’t long, perhaps a few months when I spotted what could only be described as a replica of my beautiful young self started to hang around a lot.
In-between the tedium of daytimes working, we were freed from the confines and a got to see each other, it came with an attachment just like I had, only for this one the ‘Jake’ couldn’t make up his mind what to call it. One day it was all ‘baba’ then next time ‘choochy coo’ whatever that was supposed to mean and for rather obvious reasons the poor thing didn’t like it and it soon changed to the ‘Martin’.
For a while I got to say hello to the little fellow, not the ‘Martin but the little version of me, he wasn’t much of a conversationalist and preferred to just plonk himself on top of me and let the ‘Jake’ stomp around, I remembered the sounds the giants made when they were pleased so it was all good in the end.
That didn’t last long though and even when we all went for the ‘kick about’ I was used much less, the more gentle attack on the ball was welcome and the resting in-between even more so. I was ready for a more relaxed life I can tell you. It must be what they called ‘old age’, I didn’t relish the thought although I didn’t really know what it might involve.
One of the really unpleasant things was when I started to grow an unpleasant lump on my one side. It was most painful in the mornings after I had been lying about obviously too long. It wasn’t much better at the end of the day either; this was not going to end well I could tell. Going around now with a permanent leaning to one side, even the attentions of the dreaded clipper man was almost welcomed. He used to just trim me up, polish my face and scrape out any nasty bits that sometime got stuck behind it, but this lump defied even the rough boards that tried to make it smaller, it had worked well on the back of my head but on this grotesque it was not to be; I knew had to just live with it.
The daily coverings started to change for the better. Warmer and softer material rubbed gently against me and my neighbours, even old ‘lefty’ seemed happier, we had decided that it wasn’t worth the effort to compete anymore; secretly I know that he had given up trying to beat me at anything and we just rubbed along, occasionally passing pleasantries as he scratched an itch on my side of the world and I did the same for him; if I had to.
We all enjoyed being toasty warm with the gently flickering of whatever ‘throw another lump on the fire’ was. It was in this very pleasing and relaxed atmosphere that I nodded to old ‘lefty’, curled up with the neighbours and we all fell to sleep.
I didn’t wake up.