THE TUTU TEDDY

8 Oct
So everyone thought I’d finished with this? Well, I haven’t! I’m enjoying mulling over a life and death I’ve created and want to give it more breadth and depth with a few extra little scenes that might do just that…

There was a dizzying flicker from the looking-glass, and a new scene wobbled into being.

“Is that me?” asked Bernard nervously as a small child in a push-chair gazed ahead of himself as his mother, a scowl on her face, that same scowl he remembered her always having, almost pushed him off the kerb in her hurry as a car zoomed past, its blue exhaust fumes choking the child who was on a level with them.

“Of course it is,” replied the Devil, grinning dreadfully as the toddler-Bernard burst into tears. “It’s what you were brought up with ” anger and carelessness. But look. See what’s going to happen … is that a toy shop I see in front of you? The small place on a street corner with rows of terraced houses everywhere? Is that what your precious mother was trying to avoid and nearly killed you?”

“I never had many toys,” sighed Bernard, “at least I don’t think that I did. But I guess they were hard times … it was the late forties, the second world war hadn’t been over for long and there were all sorts of shortages.”

“Oh, they were hard times all right, and if you play your cards right I’ll take you to where you can kick a particularly hateful football in the face as punishment for all the privations you suffered in your childhood…”

“A football?” asked Bernard, “what football…?”

“You’ll find out soon enough.” The smile on the Devil’s face was particularly eerie as he said this.

What will I find out soon enough? wondered Bernard silently. “So why am I looking at me going down that road in a push-chair?” he asked, aloud.

“Can’t you remember?” sniggered the Devil. “I’d have thought it was a very memorable day, this one, though in truth a great number of the days you lived through back them must have been equally memorable. Now look: what’s happening?”

Bernard watched himself as the push-chair was edged towards the toy shop. He remembered that in those days there weren’t so many large toy shops and the smaller ones tended to have equally small displays – and sold expensive things. Like the teddy bear.

In the small window that fronted the shop sat a teddy bear on a small cardboard box. He could see it clearly and it shocked him that he did have a kind of remnant-memory of that day even now, past the end of his life. But to his eyes, in front of the mirror, there was very little to remark about that teddy bear. It was small, true, it was oddly dressed like a ballet dancer in a tutu and even wearing what looked like ballet shoes, and not at all loveable. But that was through his dead eyes gazing at the huge looking-glass and not through the eyes of the two year-old Bernard. That Bernard fell instantly in love with the fluffy, cuddly toy.

For the young Bernard saw a spectacularly beautiful thing. He saw the golden fur, new and ready to be hugged, and the pretty clothes, a white tutu that flared out beautifully like his mother’s skirts never did. And underneath that tutu was a pair of frilly knickers, just tatty bits of cloth in reality, but beautiful. He pointed and shouted out loud on that quiet street, pointing,

“Mummy, mummy, mummy, toy!” His vocabulary, thought the late lamented Bernard, was obviously limited by his young age. How old was he? Two? Maybe three? He couldn’t be sure.

His mother paused in her pram-pushing and stared in the window and saw the golden teddy bear.

“No, Bernard, no, no, no!” she shrieked. “Look at it! Look at the way it’s dressed in evil dancer’s clothes, all designed to seduce a child like you, and turn you from the straight and narrow, and into sin!!”

“I wouldn’t have understood her when she said that,” murmured Bernard to the Devil. “I wouldn’t have known what seduce means! I doubt I even knew what dancers or dancing were, and as for sin…!”

“I’m sure you didn’t,” growled Satan.

“It’s the most evil toy I have ever seen!” raged his mother, and the words sailed over the tiny Bernard’s head and got lost in the maelstrom of noise that was his angry childhood. Then she slapped him across the head, firmly, cruelly, and his senses reeled.

“That’s for staring at the sinful thing!” she raged, “that’s for wanting to own a creation of the dark lord who has spent all of time since beguiling Eve in the Garden by waging war against the forces of good and righteousness! And that’s for even thinking in your tiny mind that you might join forces with all the foulness that is the demonic ruler of hell-fire and damnation, and own that evil bear!”

“What did you make of that?” smirked Satan.

“Back then? I didn’t know … I didn’t understand what she was going on about, the words meant nothing except that she was angry, but then she spent most of her life being angry. I don’t know how she went about conceiving me because she was too angry to love anyone. I can’t perceive how my father got entrapped by her because he wasn’t a bad old stick… though he could have done more to help me when I was only a little child….”

“Look,” whispered the Devil, “here he comes…”

And it was his father, striding along towards the woman and her push-chair.

“Hello there!” he called, “I was looking for you! What’s got into you now?” That last few words was addressed to Bernard’s mother who was still raging against the tutu-clad teddy bear.

“What do you want?” snapped his mother, not lovingly, not in a friendly way, just words moulded from anger. Then, “look at this foulness, and your son, this creature I have to push along, wants to play with it! A toy in a sex-crazed skirt with knickers to eat into the desires of an innocent child! And Bernard, who should be bathed in the light of childish innocence, wants it!”

“It’s only a teddy,” said his father mildly, “I must say I don’t like the outfit that it’s been put in, but what’s wrong with ballet-dancing bears?”

“You men!” snapped mother, “you’ve only got one thing on your minds, and that one thing is evil! It’s sex here and sex there and never a thought for holiness! Don’t forget why we all know about sin, because of the forbidden fruit in the garden…”

“And don’t you forget that you’re a woman,” said father, a little more firmly. “Don’t forget that, according to you, it was a distant female ancestor of yours that caused all the trouble in the world!”

“That’s typical of you!” raged the almost incandescent woman, “and you know just how hard I try to erase anything evil from my life, how I have spent all these painful terrible years trying to make up for that first dreadful evil when Eve was beguiled by the serpent!”

“I know how you’re obsessed,” growled Bernard’s father, quietly, “and yet you weren’t always, were you? I remember that night nine months before Bernard was born when you were very different! Very different indeed!”

“The night you raped me!” shrieked mother, “the night you had your evil way with me and forced me into sin with that … with that… thing of yours!”

Such was the anger and the shouting that a small crowd started gathering in ones and twos. Bernard realised that his mother was no stranger on this street, and her behaviour was becoming the source of considerable amusement as the small crowd tittered and nudged each other.

“And you lot are no better!” she snapped at them, and leaving Bernard in the push chair with his father, she raged off while the little crowd giggled and dispersed.

© Peter Rogerson 08.10.16

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One Response to “THE TUTU TEDDY”

  1. ickarus1976 October 8, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

    Nice

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