Saturday, June 12, 2010


In 1999 I wrote a story for my daughter Olivia which I'd like to share with you all.  It was in response to something that was just beginning to gear up -- people buying toys and comics and slabbing them away in sealed plastic boxes AS INVESTMENTS.  They would never be read or played with, just...exhibited.

Unfortunately, this hideous development has caught on and continues to this day.  That comic of Superman's first appearance, "Action #1," which sold for a cool million dollars earlier this year?  Slabbed in a plastic box, where it can never be read or enjoyed by anyone ever again.  I don't give the proverbial rat's behind about preserving this wonderful piece of Americana; it's about as useless as eyeglasses on a statue if it's stuck in a plastic box and locked away in some safe deposit box.  "Grading" and boxing of toys and action figures has been less successful and less common than the same for comics, but it does continue, and I find it appalling.  Just my opinion.

Anyhow, here it is, my proposed script for a picture book (it's only 500 words) written during the height of the Beanie Baby craze -- enjoy!

©1999 by Tom Hayes

Once there was a little gray bean-bag horse named Shadow.  Shadow had everything that a little gray beanbag horse was supposed to want.  He lived in a nice clear plastic box, where he never got dusty.  His box was up on a high shelf, where he never got too much sunlight, so his beautiful coat didn’t fade.  And even his tag couldn’t get lost, or bent, or broken off, because it had a little plastic box all its own.  Yes, Shadow had just about everything that a little bean-bag horse could ever want.  He should have been very,  very happy.

Only he wasn’t.

In fact, what Shadow was . . . was lonely.  Very, very lonely.

He spent each day in his box on his shelf.  He could look out and see the other bean-bags in their  plastic boxes -- the kitten, the duck, the puppy, the pelican, the cow and even the iguana.  They sat on the shelf in their boxes, day in and day out, just like Shadow.  But he couldn’t ever play  with them.  Once in a while, The Owner would come into the room, and look at all the boxes.  The Owner might smile, or sigh, and maybe she’d dust a box or two, but she never talked to Shadow or the others.  And she certainly never, ever, ever  took Shadow out to play.

And then one day Shadow heard voices.  Shouting.  And before he even knew what was going on, The Owner came into the room and whisked Shadow and the others outside, to something called “a table” which was in something called “a driveway.”

Before long, a Lady came along and talked with The Owner.  She gave The Owner some papers, and The Owner put Shadow into a bag, where it was very, very dark.   Shadow was starting to get  a little scared when -- the light came back!  The Lady from the driveway took Shadow out of the bag.  She handed Shadow to a beautiful little girl.  Both The Lady and The Little Girl were smiling.

The Little Girl opened up the box, and took Shadow out!   She played with Shadow for a really long time.  They played Races, and Pretend, and Farm, and even Cowgirl.  And then it was time for bed.  The Little Girl hugged Shadow under the covers.  “Ow!” she said.  “What’s that jabby thing on you, Shadow?” she asked.  “Oh,” she said, after looking Shadow over, “It’s your tag.”

The Little Girl called for her Mom, and The Lady came in.  She took off the tag so that Shadow could be hugged.  And was he ever  hugged!  He was just about as hugged as hugged can be.  It made Shadow happy in a way he had never been happy before.

From that day on, Shadow played with The Little Girl every day.  He got dirty after a while,  but The Lady gave him a bath and he got clean again.  He never missed his tag.  He never missed his box.  And he never, ever, ever  missed being up on his shelf, because he had Love instead.  

Shadow had everything that a little gray beanbag horse could  want.  And he couldn’t have been happier!

The End

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