The Misfit on the Island of Misfit Toys

By James Valvis

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eddy arrived at the Island of Misfit Toys. He was supposed to be a Teddy Bear for a nice little boy or girl, but he had sailed on the wrong ship and ended up here. He was soon surrounded by other toys, many of whom seemed broken and unbalanced.

“We’re all misfits like you,” the first toy said. He was a bus with square wheels.

“Listen, I’m not–”

“Let us introduce ourselves,” an eyeless doll said. “I’m Betty and my eyes are sewn into my chest. Let me lift my dress so you can see.”

Sure enough there were eyes where one might find nipples on a little girl. It disgusted Teddy.

“Some factory worker with a sick mind,” she said, shrugging. “What is your deformity?”

He needed to look away.  “Well… I…”

“Don’t rush him,” said the bus with square wheels. “Let him work up to it. It takes some time to come around to admitting you’re a freak.”

All the misfit toys laughed and agreed.

“Jack, help him out by admitting your condition.”

“I’m a Jackal in the Box,” said a dog on a coiled wire. Blood was painted on his face. He was very frightening. “No kid wants a Jackal in the Box. That’s why I hate kids.”

“You hate kids?” Teddy said.

“We all hate kids,” said a cowboy who was riding a llama. “Kids are the worst. I’d like to round them up and–”

“Hey, they don’t want us,” Betty said. “So we don’t want them.”

“But… but,” Teddy stuttered. “It shouldn’t be too hard to get you round wheels, or get someone to sew your eyes on your face, and there’s probably some disturbed kid out there who might want a Jackal in the Box. And as for the rest of you–”

“You don’t talk like a misfit,” a spotted rhino said.

“No, he doesn’t,” said a gun who shot mustard. “Not at all.”

“I’m not,” Teddy said. “I’m perfectly fine.”

“Nobody here is perfectly fine. That’s why we’re here.”

“Well, I am,” Teddy Bear said. “I’m exactly how I should be. Maybe I have a bit too much fluff in the midsection, but otherwise I’m normal.”

“We hate normal,” the misfits said in unison.

They began to move in on him.

“Wait a minute,” Teddy said. “Wait. Listen.”

“No, you listen,” the bus said. “We’re misfits. We don’t like normal.”

Teddy was still backing up. Behind him was a wall. Toys were to his left, right, and front. “But if everyone’s a misfit, is anyone really a misfit? Isn’t the normal one the misfit?”

“Normality is evil,” Betty said. “That’s the law of our Island! No normal toys!”

“Everyone must fit in!” roared the Jackal in the Box. “Everyone must be different!”

“This isn’t the Island of Normal Toys!” yelled the mustard gun.

“Everyone must be a misfit!” the spotted rhino screamed. “Missing arms! Missing legs! Something! Get him! Make him a misfit! Make him a misfit!”

And so they did.

 

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James Valvis has placed poems or stories in Ploughshares, River Styx, Arts & Letters, Southern Indiana Review, Adirondack Review, Natural Bridge, Rattle, Hot Metal Bridge, The Sun, and many others. His poetry was featured in Verse Daily. His fiction was chosen for Sundress Best of the Net. His work has also been a finalist for the Asimov’s Readers’ Award. A former US Army soldier, he lives near Seattle.


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