Wednesday, October 17, 2012
When Josh was little he had quite a few stuffed animals and all of them had names and personalities. Josh generally gave them the names; I typically handled the personalities. We had “Tenny,” a rabbit who had a tennis racket sewn in his hands, “Pinky,” a fluffy pink rabbit, “Baby White Bear,” whose name is self-explanatory, “Bear,” who was a larger white bear, “Bro,” “Bear’s” twin, “Mittens,” a calico tabby, “Dallas,” a bear Josh’s mom picked up for him in Dallas, Texas, “Mickey,” a mouse we got at Disneyworld, and “Baby Yellow Mouse.”
Tenny and Pinky were bought from a Goodwill store and were partners in crime, always on the lookout for the cops. We never found out exactly what they’d done, but it was apparently pretty serious because whenever they were with us in the car they kept a constant eye out for policemen and would immediately hide if any were spotted. Bear and Bro were good companions to Josh, always making sure the other animals behaved and protecting Josh if there was any need of it. They slept on either side of him at night, and they were in charge of our annual Halloween Haunted house, which the stuffed animals put on each year in Josh’s room. Mickey was quite obnoxious, going around constantly saying things like “Everyone loves Mickey” in his high pitched voice. Most of us didn’t really love Mickey because of that.
Mittens, like most cats, simply existed to be petted. He was generally good natured, but we had to keep him and Baby Yellow Mouse separated because they did not like each other. We never traveled with both of them at the same time for fear of an…incident. Baby White Bear was something of an airhead. He could hardly remember anything and would frequently get off topic if you asked him a question. He was good natured, but gullible, and he sometimes fell under the sway of Baby Yellow Mouse, who I will sometimes refer to as BYM. BYM was just flat out a sociopath.
One year when we were going to Arkansas to see my mom and family, I asked Josh whether he wanted to take Mittens or Baby Yellow Mouse with him, and he decided to take Mittens. BYM was quite upset about this and threatened that we “hadn’t seen the last of him.” Josh and I just laughed. But it turned out the joke was on us. The day after we arrived in Arkansas, a small box arrived in the mail at my mom’s house addressed to Josh. Mystified, he tore open the box only to find Baby Yellow Mouse and a note inside. The note read: “You thought you would leave me behind but it didn’t work. You’ll never be able to leave me behind. I have my ways.”
By necessity, Baby Yellow Mouse joined us for that vacation, and on the way home that year, Mittens mysteriously disappeared. We suspect that he fell out at one of our stops and we didn’t see him, but I could never be sure of whether BYM had finally gotten even. He certainly looked smug enough, but that wasn’t proof of any wrongdoing. We bought Josh another stuffed cat, but this one never messed with BYM. I think the word had gone out.
For our trip to Arkansas the next year, we told BYM well in advance that he could not go with us and that we’d make sure of it. As the time for the trip neared, however, BYM suddenly disappeared from Josh’s room. We thought he had run away. We arrived in Arkansas all happy and as we got out of the car we heard a voice, sounding much like my voice except higher pitched, say, “Hey, don’t leave me in here.” A few moments of searching revealed that BYM had stowed away inside one of the hubcaps. Josh was quite impressed with his ingenuity, and from then on we never forbade Baby Yellow Mouse from accompanying us on trips. We were sure it wouldn’t do any good anyway.