"C'mon Daddy! Hurry!" A little girl shouted as she pushed her father's legs.
"I am hurrying Annie." The father said, with a joking grin, as he took an agonizingly slow step down the sidewalk.
"No you're not!" Annie then switched from pushing to pulling, "You're so sloooooowwwwwww!"
Slowly the two moved down the sidewalk in this manner until the reached the toy store. The father (who's name was Richard) stopped dead.
"Hey, Annie?" He said.
"Whaaaaat?" Annie shot back, still trying to force her father forward.
"Race you inside!" Richard bolted for the door, but Annie was small and darted between his legs, so that when he opened the door she got in before him.
"I win! I win!" Annie jumped up and down. Richard walked in after her. The woman behind the counter smiled as the two came in. She said hello to Annie, who politely said hello back. The woman then turned to Richard.
"So," She began with a touch of anxiety in her voice, "How's the weather?"
"Glad you asked!" Richard sprang over to the counter and began talking about cold-fronts and cumulous clouds and many other things that Annie always guessed had to do with the weather. Her father was the local weatherman and in this small fishing town, everyone wanted to know the weather and if there was to be any danger on the water. Everyone here either was or knew someone who worked or lived on a boat. Annie was used to people asking her father about the weather and she knew it always too a long time, so she went about her business, looking at all the different toys. It was her birthday today and her father had promised to let her have any toy she picked out.
Annie made her way through the aisles, looking at all the toys. But after going up and down the aisles she hadn't found anything she liked. Oh, sure there were plenty of good and fun looking toys on the shelves, but nothing really seemed that special. Nothing until she came full circle and arrived back at the counter were her father was describing slipstreams to the woman. It was then she noticed the bargain bin of dolls. There were all sorts of dolls in there. Teddy bears, dolls in summer dresses, button-eyed rabbits, smiling barn-yard animals, and all sorts of other stuffed creatures. One in particular caught her eye; a rabbit. It had a soft, felt coat, light brown in color. It's long ears reached down to it's hips, so that when sitting they would touch the floor. It seemed to be staring at her with those big button eyes, pleading with her. She pulled the doll out of the bin, not seeing the spider web clinging to the doll's back.
Raphael had been sleeping peacefully until the girl picked up the doll. With the jostling, he awoke, ready for anything. He scampered to where he could see what was going on. As soon as he saw it was a little girl he knew what to do. With skill and speed rarely seen among insects, he crawled around the doll and onto Annie hand. It was a simple maneuver, Raphael had done it hundreds of times in the bodies of mice, rats, cockroaches, beetles and many other small disgusting creatures. In three thousand years it had always worked. Unfortunately Annie was the record-breaker. He expected that when she saw him on her hand she would scream and run, instead she smiled.
"Hello Mr. Spider." She said peacefully, "I think your web's over here." She brought the hand Raphael was on back to the bin and gently tapped him onto the edge. "Bye Mr. Spider!" She said cheerfully, then skipped back to her father with the doll in tow.
Raphael sat dazed for a second, but then, remembering his promise to Ahmal, he scudded off after the girl. He decided that if he couldn't keep the doll there he would have to stay with the doll. For a spider, he was very fast, but even so, he arrived at the check out counter just as Annie's father was paying for the doll. Richard and Annie started walking out of the store while Raphael cursed to himself about how a creature with eight legs should be faster than one with two. Despite all the math against it the father and daughter made it out of the store before Raphael did. He counted himself lucky that there was a crack between the door and floor he could fit through. Once he got out side, Raphael looked franticly around until he was able to spot the two in the distance.
"Great! Now how do I get to that doll?" He asked no one in particular. After squatting down and thinking for a moment, he got an idea. Closing all the eyes he had he began to hum an eerie note. He only stopped when a pigeon fluttered down in front of him. "About time!" he shouted at the bird, "Look buddy, I need a hand here an-HEY!" The pigeon had already gotten bored with the talking spider and decided to have lunch. It pecked at Raphael, trying to get him. The spider, however was a little to fast and was able to hop on the bird's beak and crawl to it's head. Then he started another eerie hum. The bird seemed to forget all about food and took off flying.
Richard and Annie of course didn't notice any of this. The were too happy walking home and enjoying each other's company. For the past few blocks the had been joking back and forth, now Annie was trying to think of a proper name for her new doll.
"I know! I'll call him 'The Amazing Fanyellowdinny'!" She shouted just as they walked up the hill to their house.
"The Amazing Fanyel-whosa-wattsinny?" Richard asked.
"NO! Fan-yell-oh-dee-neeeeeeee!" She corrected, making sure to pronounce it carefully.
"Oh, okay." Richard said as they got to the front door and he started to dig for his keys. "I'll just call him Yellow for short."
Annie gave her consent as her father unlocked the door. Richard told Annie to go off and play in her room while he made dinner. She tried to get him to let her help but he insisted, since it was her birthday and all. Finally she agreed and went on her way. She took the rabbit doll up to her room and immediately began to set up a tea party with her dolls. Before long she had the little table set and all those who had been invited had arrived. A stuffed seal and a cabbage-patch doll sat in their usual places, with a plastic triceratops between them. The doll as seal weren't allowed to sit next to each other because of what happened at the last tea party.
Annie sat The Amazing Fanyellowdinny next to her and began welcoming the guests.
"Why hello, Mrs. Cabbagicka, I'm so glad you could make it," She said to the doll, then she turned to the seal, "Miss Kromppopolis, it's wonderful to see you, yes help your self to some crumpets." She then faced the triceratops, "Thank you for coming Officer Bobble-Tobble, I hope Miss Kromppopolis' restraining order against Mrs. Cabbagicka won't be too much trouble." With those pleasantries out of the way she stood up and addressed the all guests at once. "Everyone, I'd like to introduce you to The Amazing Fanyellowdinny. Say hello, Mr. Fanyellowdinny."
Then, to her surprise, the rabbit doll raised it's hand, waved and spoke "H-hello, everyone."