Monday, July 19, 2010

As Retold by Sadako: Corduroy

Corduroy is a bear who once lived in the toy department of a big store.

Day after day, he waited with other more exciting toys: a stuffed rabbit with an inviting blue bow, a garrulous giraffe, and a blonde haired blue eyed porcelain representation of oppression to Toni Morrison fans.

The store was full of shoppers. But no one seemed to want a small bear in green overalls. It seemed the public had grown weary of Teddy Roosevelt's old hunting tale that the teddy bear lobbyists had worked so hard to propagate. Alas, stuffed animals of the ursine persuasion went unpurchased.

One day, a little girl stopped and looked straight into Corduroy's eyes. "Oh, Mommy, look. Can I have him?"

"No," said Lisa's mother. "We've spent too much as it is. And that bear is missing a button."

"But," Lisa said, "I could sew it back on."

"No," her mother said, "if I wanted to spend money reassembling a teddy bear, we'd go to Build-a-Bear."

Corduroy looked forlorn.

"I didn't know I'd lost a button," he said to himself. What he had thought was his simple homespun charm, much like Paddington's rakishly tipped hat, made him look like a fixer upper project. Oh, to be able to pull off a wardrobe faux pas, like Winnie-the-Pooh and his whimsically misfitting t-shirt.

But never mind. The enterprising bear reasoned, "Tonight I'll go and see if I can find it."

Late that night, when all the shoppers had gone home, Corduroy climbed carefully down. Suddenly, he found himself on a moving escalator. "This must be a mountain!" he thought.

Letting the escalator be his sherpa, Corduroy went up to the next floor.

He stepped off and found an amazing sight. Tables, chairs, lamps, sofas. "Could this be a Motel Six?" he wondered. "I've always wanted to visit one. Giraffe-Giraffe spent the night in one before he was returned for a toy that didn't have a defective mane."

The impressionable bear wandered about, admiring the furniture, until he spied a button on a bed.

He pulled at it. The button didn't budge. But Corduroy wanted it more.

He yanked again and fell down, making a huge CRASH, and creating an image that would make the uterus of even the most hardened single career girl skip a beat.

Corduroy didn't know it but there was someone else present for his little misadventure. The future producers of Pixar, looking for a children's book to inspire a CGI franchise. Also, the night watchman, who in between studying for his mall cop exam, took it up on himself to investigate.

"Now who in the world did that?" asked the watchman, when he saw Corduroy.

The watchman picked up Corduroy under his arm and took him downstairs to the other stuffed animals, making sure to rest him securely against the clown, in case Corduroy had any further shenanigans in mind.

Nestled under the maniacal toy jester, Corduroy's body dysmorphic issues were soon a distant memory.

Corduroy was just waking up. There, looking at him with a smile was the same girl from the day before.

"I'm Lisa, and you're going to be my bear. My mother said that if I had my heart set on throwing away money on a cash poor bear with a sob story when we didn't even have enough money for me to wear a different outfit two days in a row, it was my life. So I counted what I had in my piggy bank and here I am."

The sales lady said, "Shall I see if we have any bears with unbroken shoulder straps in the back?" But Lisa said no thank you and carried Corduroy in her arms out the store.

She ran four flights up the stairs in her family's four story walk up apartment to her room. The room was much smaller than the Motel Six-size room he'd seen last night.

"A cheery room that makes up for size or cost effectiveness by tugging at the heart strings. This must be home!" he said. "I have a home with Lisa!"

Corduroy saw that next to a girl sized bed was a bear sized bed for him. An owner who, conscious of the ever growing risk of Sudden Stuffed Bear Death Syndrome, provided him with his own sleeping arrangements! Corduroy smiled.

Lisa sat down with Corduroy on her lap and began to sew a button onto his overall strap.

"I like you the way you are," she said, "but you'll be more comfortable like this."

"You must be a friend. I've always wanted a friend," Corduroy said as he nestled into her shoulder. "But while you've got the sewing kit out, could you redistribute some of the padding around my waist? And would you mind making my eyes look more even?"