Tonka and Barbie

September 17, 2017 by Patrick Starks


There she was, Barbie—beautiful as can be, her heart was my sky, and her eyes were my sea. She was everything I wanted in a woman, in this life, all that I wanted to see, but I was just a machine—I was just an old dusted up truck, one in which I felt no one wanted anymore, one that would run out of luck.

I’d hope that Barbie might have noticed me, but was obviously distracted by the seductive aura of the notorious Ken. How was I supposed to compete with that, I thought, he was a man after all—his hair gold like the sun, eyes blue like Barbie’s—the very reason why it was hard to look at her at times— the resemblance of the two was annoying enough to make me one want to go into a coma, although, who would ever want to erase such beauty, that being Barbie of course.

Everything was going on sale that week, it was the holidays—everyone was excited, but not me, I hadn’t been sold to anyone in at least two years, as well for a few others. My body had collected enough dust to clog one of the vacuums on aisle nine, one of my tires were slightly flat, and the screws in my bin were loose, so I could no longer be of use for dumping dirt—my dream to be at the beaches were now ruined.

As the days went on everyone would be sold off to kids that would cherish and love them, just as it would show in the T.V ads from a far, I feared I would never get to the chance to feel such a moment. And watching Barbie and Ken being bought at the same time, didn’t help much either, my princess had now gone off with a wicked prince. It been four days now since I last saw her.

Right before the store could close, a woman and her daughter would walk in. “Mam were closing in fifteen minutes,” one of the workers would tell the woman. She of course did as any mother would do and rolled her eyes, ensuring to her daughter that she would get the toy she wanted that day. The worker on the other hand, evacuated to the back room, it was obvious he didn’t want to have a confrontation with the woman, especially a mother—a wise man, I would say.

The daughter look excited, her smiled reached all the way up to her ears, and her cheeks looked like the bubbles from bubble gum. But the mother would have the look of aggravation, irritation—I could tell that she’d had a long day.

“Get out of my way Tonka! The girl is mine,” a voice from behind me would say, wheeling me off to the side. It was Ruxpin, Teddy Ruxpin. His hair was no longer caramel in the way it used to be, and eyes were no longer honey brown, but darker, somewhat like a York peppermint, if I had to describe it. Teddy had been in the store much longer than I or others—some said it was at least four years he’d been in the store. And because of that, I couldn’t blame Teddy, I knew he was desperate, and would just about sacrifice the precious cassette tape lodged within his back to get out.

“You just stay right there Tonka, watch and learn the master at work,” Teddy said. He was delusional, but I guess the clearance tag on his shoulder would give him a bit of motivation towards his pursuit. He was a much lower price than the other toys, however, lacked the good quality—I didn’t believe it to be as effective as he thought it to be.

The girl roamed the entire store before reaching Teddy and I. And with each passing, each toy would become depressed, as one after the other would fade into the shadowing of the shelf they stayed. For whatever reason the girl reminded me of Barbie—she had her hair in a ponytail and wore just enough pink for one to think she was a sweet ball of cotton candy—later I would find that she was just that, the sweetest little girl a toy could meet. Big Barbie, I would call her.

She now stood in front of Teddy and I, wondering who she would grab first, we as well were guessing the same, but Teddy remained confident as his chest would poke through his vest. Big Barbie picked up Teddy first, and she would then squeeze him, he was a talking doll after all. As she squeezed him, he would wink back at me, hoping I’d give him acknowledgement for his mastery, and I would then roll my eyes just as big Barbie’s mother had done to the worker before.

Teddy would tell Big Barbie a story, as he’d told many other children. He was a talented story teller—although, it seemed the children never appeared to be at all impressed with his craft. Before Teddy could even get out a full two sentences of his story, the girl would put him back down, leaving him to take the walk of shame back to the shelf he resided.

Big Barbie then turn her attention towards me, I was happy, yet, sad because I felt sorry for Teddy—four years was a long time not to be loved. She picked me up just as she would do Teddy, but she didn’t squeeze me, only plopped me down to the ground. She would roll me back and forward, speaking in languages that I never heard before.

“Vrum, vrum, rrr, pshhh!” Big Barbie would say, running me into a wall. I thought it was some kind of Morse code—the army toys would do stuff like that all time, at night one would think it were grasshoppers from the way it sounded, although, we were inside, so I guess that would be an absurd assumption, but screw it, my story, so grasshoppers it will be.

“Alison, Alison, where are you?” a woman yelled. Big Barbie’s head turned towards the direction of the sound, she would leave me on the ground, as I watched her little feet disappear around the corner. I felt abandoned as I’d always felt. I wanted to do as the others and fade deep into my shelf, but I was too heavy to get back up, and so I remained where I was.

“She ain’t coming back Tonka, you do know that don’t you,” one of the troll dolls would say stroking their long rainbow hair, but I ignored them. The trolls were always known to be tricksters, but sometimes incompetent enough to never follow through with them fully.

As all the trolls laughed at me for a time that felt like eternity, the sound of tiny footsteps made their presence be known. It was Big Barbie or Alison, in which I’d now learned was her real name. She ran over to me and picked me up and carried me back to her mother, and as she did I would give everyone the finger or would at least try to, kind of hard to do with a tire, but I made it work—I’ll just leave your imagination to it.

“Sweety you don’t want a Barbie, you sure you want this toy,” Alison mother would ask. I assumed I wasn’t girly enough for the mother, but who’s to say a girl can’t like a truck, I felt myself to be quite unisex.

Alison would nod her head with her cotton candy cheeks, and the mother would pull out her wallet. “That will be forty-nine-ninety-nine,” the cashier said. The mom became appalled by the price. “Why is this toy so expensive,” she asked.

“Well… this toy is a rare item, they don’t make them anymore. It’s more of a collector’s item than anything now,” the cashier said. I felt I’d sweat the paint off myself, the mother looked back towards the aisle I once was, debating if she would take me back. And the trolls at the end of the aisle were of course bent over, mooning me, as they had a feeling I’d be coming back soon. But Alison would put on her child-like charm towards the mother, you could tell she couldn’t resist—she didn’t want her little angel to hate her, and so she moved forward with the purchase, no matter how much it broke her wallet.

“Shh… Tonka, it’s me Barbie,” Alison said. I was lost, how could this be Barbie, a human. “Everything will be explained when we meet Mister Geppetto, we will come back for the others later. Geppetto will make your life real, as he did for me” Barbie said, winking with her left lash. I would wonder what happened to Ken, but I didn’t worry myself with it, I was just happy to be out.

From then I was carried away in a plastic bag and receipt, from then my life would change.



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