A Message from Your Favorite Childhood Toy
by Daniel Finkel
I sit enshrined in shrouds and wax, and watch you as you play. Overhead, the cuckoo clock cries once, cries twice, cries thrice. Sometimes, as I am watching you, I laugh with the wind gusting down the chimney. Other times, I growl with the lawn mowers cutting the grass. And now and then, I even sigh with the caterpillars underneath the floorboards. But mostly, I just smile.
Inside, I am balanced like an hourglass. My head is sand, my feet are wood, my chest is vinegar and clay. Once, I was a porcelain-carved cocoon, spun from silk and spoiled dreams — an amethyst-eyed idol, dressed in spices. But not anymore. Now, I am only a plaything. An effigy.
That day you found me in that old pawnshop, stuffed in a barrel of cigarette butts in the back—you want to know what the most embarrassing thing was? It wasn’t as if anyone had lost me. I had simply been cast aside—discarded as an old family relic. Me! And when your dog crashed into me, drawn by the smell of spices and shrouds and dust and wax and smoke and smiles, all I felt was gratitude that I had been found.
I, who was once the toy of the mighty Tutankhamen, felt grateful! I, who would sit during the day, enshrined in celestial wax, resplendent with a thousand feathers and bones, and watch him as he played, was pleased to be discovered and bought for three dollars and ninety-nine cents. Oh, the shame!
At night, when the Son of Ra slumbered in his golden crib, I would rise up on oiled feet and creep to the bedroom of his father, Akhenaten, and then I would bend and whisper the secrets of Aton in his pierced ear.
But now I sit and watch you play, day in and day out, and sometimes I frown, and sometimes I laugh, but mostly I just smile—smile, with needle-stitched lips.
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Daniel Finkel is a writer from the Philadelphia area specializing in speculative fiction. He has been published in Flash Fiction Magazine, Bewildering Stories, The Bookends Review, and 101 Words, and can usually be found at his desk, with a cup of hot chocolate, imagining himself hard at work.