by Robert Kristoffersen



In a circle sat seven individuals, all here for healing.

All of them suffered from the traumatic nature of being a toy.

Where imagination was encouraged in the human race, these seven

were the means by which the children of the world experimented.

To them, it was utterly terrifying, but that was their purpose

and the being(s) that made them consciously aware, what kind of

sick joke was that?

“Before we begin this Toys Support Group meeting, we should

begin with the healing mantra. Let’s all say it together.”

A humanoid shaped – a plastic man headed up these meetings.

His reputation among the toy community was the same as his name

and his appearance: Clean. Height wise, he appeared to be godlike

to fellow toys. He towered over Barbie by a good six inches

or so. His white pants and shirt were a sign of purity; when the

Korean War ended in ’53, he stuck around for a while. He was

able to cope, unlike many of his other Marine companions. He

retired a Chief Warrant Officer-3. The parallel in leadership


retired a Chief Warrant Officer-3. The parallel in leadership

applied to this gig quite well. Before the support group, he

sold cleaning products, first for ships, then for homes. His

likeness had become the face of cleaning products everywhere.

Mr. Clean had no idea why he knew this, after all, he was only

the likeness of Mr. Clean, if he ever really existed. He came

with these memories and he’d live with them.

The group joined together as a collective, chanting the

mantra, “Though I do not understand my maker, I understand my

purpose. We make children’s lives better, we stimulate their

growth, we’re there for them through the worst. We heal through

future generations and there is nothing we can’t handle.” A few

of the toys breathed a sigh of relief, though you’d be hard

pressed to hear it. After all, they lacked the lungs to do so.

They thought like humans, even possessed some of their features,

but as for internal functions, they were empty inside for the

most part.

“Who would like to begin today… Barbie?” said Mr. Clean in

a soft, subtle voice. You wouldn’t suspect a toy of his size to

have such a gentle demeanor, especially when his present owner

used him as a Sentinel to fight the X-Men.

Barbie was adorned in a colorful summer dress. The outfit

came with a large hat, but she hated wearing it. Her current

owner, a young eight year old girl named Stephanie, Steph for

short, loved it, going so far and gluing it to Barbie’s head.

She was a bit freaked out one day when she saw the hat on the

She was a bit freaked out one day when she saw the hat on the

floor next to her foot. Barbie’s frantic removal of it took a

bit of hair paint with it. She blamed it on her brother, Ronnie,

and stormed out of the room to yell at him.

“Well, Ken and I have been trying to have a baby for a

while now. Granted, when you don’t have the parts it’s really

hard, but we had hope. Then, last week, this little girl shows

up on our play house door and says that she’s ours. But that’s

not my baby!” Barbie mimics what to humans would be crying – no

tears, no physical sound. They all communicated with themselves

telepathically, despite having near full control over their


“What made you believe that she wasn’t yours?”

“Are you kidding, Mr. Clean? I would know if I had a child!

But the dead giveaway was that she was black!”

Barbie “cried” again while Ken consoled her in a hug.

“Let’s move on shall we. Tickle Me Elmo, how about you?”

The individual known as Tickle Me Elmo had a Hawaiian shirt

on. Where that came from, no one ever figured out, human and toy

a like. He carried around a small, rolled up piece of paper,

what he called a “cigarette.” The notion clashed with the

eternal smile on his face, with those bright eyes and red fir.

“Are you kiddin’ me, Clean?” His mind burst forth in a

guttural, smoke stained growl. It was the voice of someone who’d

let themselves go years ago. “My name conveys the right amount

of ‘registered sex offender’ to never want to show myself in

of ‘registered sex offender’ to never want to show myself in

public again. I was the God damned craze of ’96, but what am I

now?! I’m nothing! Washed up and the guy who did my voice? Don’t

even get me started with him. I know what happened, saw it on


Mr. Clean interrupts, “It’s okay, friend. It’s okay. We

know you’ve been through a lot.” To Clean, they were people and

he treated them as such. Being in Korea showed him what raw

human experience was like, but fame, fame was a bitch and she

slept with everyone, for a while. Worst one-night-stand of your


“We’re here for you buddy, you’re not going through this

alone.” Ken offered.

“Ken, what the fuck do you know? You’re going out with

America’s Toy Sweetheart!” Elmo shot back.

“Oh, come on, Elmo, our numbers have been down since those

Bratz started appearing.”

“So help me, God, Ken. If I see you eyeing another one of

Steph’s Bratz dolls, we’re done!” Barbie entered into the mix.

“Sorry, dear. It will never happen again.”

There was a Transformer present, Arcee, female. When she

was put on the spot, she transformed into her vehicle form, a

hovering car that didn’t hover, and in the crackle of a radio,

her voice transmitted her sentiments: “who do I have to kill to

get a male Transformer around here!”


The last two were soldiers, Joe’s as a matter of fact, the

rough and tumble of the group. To look at them among this sad

group of people is a surprised sight, but they’ve been at war

with COBRA for eons, they’ve seen the worst fictional violence

among any of the other toys present. Clean knew, and he was

always welcoming to them.

“Conrad, is there something bothering you that you’d like

to tell the group?”

“Clean, we’ve been over this. It’s Duke. Call me by my


“Sorry, Duke, anything you’d like to share.”

Duke sat forward, a real manly posture, legs wide, but with

his head hung low. “Last week, Steph took me from Ronnie’s room,

for God knows what reason. ‘Cuz you know kids and their logic;

so Ronnie found out and to get his revenge he grabbed Wet Suit

from his toy box and he bent him over the bathtub in Barbie’s

dream house, and made it look like I was bangin’ him!” Duke’s

head continued to hang there. He took a moment to collect his

thoughts and moved forward, “I don’t know how to talk to the

guys about this, Clean. I… just don’t know!” Duke kept his

posture firm, he said nothing else.

Clean moved on.

“I see we have a new face here, what’s your name?” He

gestures to a fit African American man. His clothes were tan

with a red cross over his chest, the sign of a medic. He wore

with a red cross over his chest, the sign of a medic. He wore

sunglasses with green tinted lenses and cradled an M-16 rifle on

his lap. Strange for a medic.

“My name is Carl, but I’m known as Doc among my comrades.”

“Well, welcome Doc. What’s on your mind?” Mr. Clean,

gentle, offers the floor to the fresh face.

“I’m beginning to question my purpose, to be honest. I get

that I’m a toy, but my likeness – what’s my purpose? These guns

don’t work, Mr. Clean.” He takes aim at the big man, pulls back

a trigger… nothing. Clean doesn’t feel threatened, continues to

offer up his ear. “What’s my purpose? What’s a medic supposed to

do when there are no wounds to treat?” He pulls the rifle up to

his shimmering plastic temple and pulls the trigger. He throws

down the rifle immediately afterward.

“Come on, you still have purpose. You support the Joe’s in

their fight against COBRA…”

“Damn it, Clean. That’s not what I mean! Why are we

conscious?! It doesn’t make any sense – why do we have memories

of lives we never lived? Why can we move independently? Why can

we communicate with each other? Who’s sick joke is this? What

kind of god would do this to some innocent toys!”

“I’m sure we’re not the only ones, Doc.” Mr Clean offers up

what he can. He always felt that other toys beyond this house

were similar, with sentience.

“Bullshit! It’s all bullshit! I was the only one who didn’t

join in that terrible mantra! We don’t know our real purpose and

join in that terrible mantra! We don’t know our real purpose and

who the hell is going to reveal it?!”

“Calm down, Doc. Everything is going to be alright.”

“No it’s not! It’s never going to be alright!” Doc burst

from the room. Who knows if he’d be back, but Clean was

genuinely worried about him. He was worried for all of them.

“Listen, guys. I know this is hard, but you’ve got to hang

in there. We’ve got to be there for each other, band together

and lean on one another. There truly is nothing we can’t


Clean’s rousing words did little to comfort the rest, but

most tried. Duke still hadn’t lifted his head; a couple of his

comrades had to help him back to Ronnie’s room.

“Before we depart, let’s say the mantra one more time.”

They all do, and it does nothing to help them. Healing would

take time and they had all the time that degrade would allow

them. They are plastic, they will last long, even after the

paint wears off.

About alanaofoz

I am a writer. Pepsi addict. Cupcake consuming aficionado and devout Science geek. Slipping in & out of fantasy world as I write my first YA novel.

One response to “Summer Shorts: PLASTIC PIECES

  1. Reblogged this on deadlyeverafter and commented:
    I can’t even with how incredible this idea is. Rob Kristoffersen has a singular mind, and misses nothing.

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