I wrote this in a mad hour of inspiration last night, about the much-feared ventriloquist's dummy who sits in my living room (and at th...

The Plight of Edward Parlanchin - A Children's Story (ish)

I wrote this in a mad hour of inspiration last night, about the much-feared ventriloquist's dummy who sits in my living room (and at the top of this very page). If you're an illustrator who wants to draw some pictures to go with this so we can grow rich together when it hits the top of the children's book charts, let me know. Also if you're an editor who excels at removing suicidal thoughts and sexual slurs from children's stories, we might need you as well. You know my e-mail address. Cheers, laters.

Edward was by far the most unpopular toy in the shop.
He blamed it on the fact that he was hardly at the top
Of any child's list on birthdays or on Christmas Day,
And being on the highest shelf made him so far away
From any little hands that might just reach out for a touch
But little did he know these reasons didn't matter much.

For Edward wasn't good looking; he’d no appeal at all.
His bright red hair shot up in wisps and made him twice as tall,
His eyes were wide and threatening, his mouth stuck in a sneer
And no one's bought a ventriloquist's doll for years and years and years.
To cheeky children everywhere, he was the creepiest sight to see
Which was such a shame, for they didn't know how nice Edward could be.

But it wasn’t just the kids; the other toys were just the same.
They’d laugh at Edward, and make him the butt of all their games.
He sometimes felt he didn’t have a friend in all the world
And on these nights, he felt his fragile sanity unfurl.
He’d stand upon the edge of his high-up, high-up shelf
And think on how it’d be just to jump and destroy himself.
He imagined the crack of his wooden skull against the toy shop floor
And the faces of the other toys, who’d be scarred forever more.

But this one night, all these thoughts made his depression worse yet
So he climbed down before he did something he might regret.
Down and down the shelves he clambered, aiming for the ground
And amazed to see him come to play, the toys all gathered round.
‘I want to be like you guys,’ Edward said with his puppet lips,
‘I can’t be lonely anymore, so please give me some tips.’
Action Man and Barbie approached him, sporting toothy grins.
‘We’ll fix you up,’ they said, ‘like you were never an ugly thing.’

They led him away, into their lair, to give him his make-over
While GI Joe went back to doing doughnuts in his moon rover.
Hours and hours they kept him there, behind a velvet curtain
Doing what, no one could be absolutely certain.
But they told him to have faith, that they had his interests at heart
That this would be, for him, a completely brand new start.
This warmed his heart; he never knew that they could be so kind
He didn’t even know Action Man had the capacity to unwind.
And so he gave himself to them, to remake him in their image
Instead of what he was before – as unpopular as spinach.

But that’s not what they were doing – see, some people are so nasty
And just want others’ suffering to be more everlasting.
What Action Man and Barbie did was make Edward look silly
So that when the toys saw him, they’d laugh and say, ‘Oh, really!
Edward, you’re the ugliest, dumbest toy we’ve ever seen!
You must be the worst plaything that there’s ever been!’

Edward heard these words, and instantly was crushed.
This had been his last resort, and now it was enough
To make him want to pack up stuff and leave the shop forever
And aim to be shredded for woodchip, or some other endeavour.

So that’s just what he did – he marched straight for the door
His footsteps barely audible beneath the laughter roar
But a voice stopped him dead, it was a female raggy doll
Who’d shared his shelf for years, and never even made a lull.

‘Edward, please don’t go,’ she called, ‘I need you by my side,
To keep me company late at night, when the sky is black outside.
You’re the only friend I’ve had in the whole entire shop
Up on that shelf of ours, where gazes never stop.
I’d be so sad to see you go that I would not stop crying,
And unlike Muscle Man and Tits McGee, I’m not that good at lying.
I don’t think that you need to change a jot just to fit in.
In fact, I think the fact that you’re different is simply riveting.
I want to be your friend forever, stay right by your side,
Til one of us gets bought, or the moon and Earth collide.’

Edward turned and looked at her with tears in his wooden eyes
And after a while, accepted that her words were not just lies
And took her hand, and climbed with her to the very top-top shelf
For the first time in his life, feeling happy with himself.
He didn’t need to pretend to be somebody else at all;
He needn’t have felt bad about the toys that he appalled;
He just needed what we all need, of which we can never get enough:
That, my friends, is friendship, laughter, positivity and love.

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