No complaints

"I feel locked away," the Teddy Bear Ivan said with a stiff gaze into the air.

The broomstick said nothing. Saying the obvious was pointless.

"I know," Ivan said, "that I'm in a closet. If you wanna be silent don't do it with an attitude. I meant metaphorically. Just listen."

The broomstick, which in praxis was used as a playsword, continued saying nothing. Outside the closet were the sounds of lazer guns and some soldier repeatedly saying "yes sir."

"God, just listen to that crap. And he plays that all day. Why would he think that was more fun than what we had?" Ivan whispered.

"Maybe it's because the games do more than you?" proposed the broomstick.

"At least with me he could use his imagination."

"… Well," the broomstick said. "Maybe he's running away from his imagination."

"Why would he do that?"

"I wonder …"

Ivan couldn't scowl. He was created an optimist. But he briefly imagined it.

"Wait, I've got an idea?"

"Really –"

The broomstick was cut off as the teddy bear reached out and pushed it. It fell with a "woaaah!" fifteen centimeters and knocked on the door. Ivan pushed the broomstick back and let it go again. He repeated this several times, creating a faint knocking in the children's room.

The sounds from the game disappeared.

Yes! Ivan thought and wanted to grin but was composed.

Steps came closer and the door opened. Light overwhelmed the little closet, raping it with sunshine and revealing its dirty, dusty secrets.

The boy, pale and with blond hair, breathed heavily. "Creepy," he muttered. "Oh. I'd forgotten about you."

He bent down and grabbed his teddy bear. His hands turned and examined it and the many places it had been sewn back together. His mother hadn't done it for him, he always did it himself. "You're such a good boy when it comes to fixing things," she always said, "but you've got to be more careful not to break them in the first place!"

The child smiled with nostalgia, closed the door again but kept the teddy in his hand. He placed Ivan by the computer. His fingers were on the teddy bear's shoulders. It was heavenly.

"This game is getting dumb anyway," the boy said. "The blood is hilarious, but really stupid."


The boy was closing down his game when the door opened and his mother walked in.

"This came for you," she said and put a package on the table. "I think it's what daddy ordered for you last week."

"It's here!" the boy exclaimed and jumped up. He stood as he opened the package, which was a new game. "Yes! Thanks!" He hugged his mother who laughed, padded his head and left him.

The boy immediately switched the CD's.

Ivan was disappointed but smiled politely. He wondered if any of these games knew how lucky they were to bring this child such joy. Maybe the games were better. They brought such light in those eyes.

But still … Ivan had seen better.

Unfortunately it was just around dinner time, so when the installment was finished the kid was ordered from his computer and to the table.

It was the only chance.

Ivan stole the disc and put it under the bed. Then he jumped up on the duvet and lay still.

"How's it going?"

It was the broomstick from the closet.

"Shut up!" Ivan told him, wanting to cry.

Forty-four minutes and three seconds later the boy came back. He sat down by the computer, double clicked on the game icon and was frustrated when it didn't start. It took two minutes before he checked the CD and realized what was wrong.

He turned around and looked at the room. Eyes narrow. Suspicious.

"I know it was there …" he mumbled. "Wasn't it?"

With a fury he began the search. He checked the bed. Ivan got excited.

But when the hands grabbed him it was only to move him and the pillows. Not a single, wondering glance.

Hey! Ivan thought. You used to be more aware!

"Yes!" the boy exclaimed as he found the video game. He got up from under the bed, made a little victory dance and almost gagged from laughter as he put it into the CD player.

The game opening screen started. Ivan was lying on his face. He could only hear the sounds of the game and the boy's frustration when he banged his fist into the table.

Bedtime came. The mother forced him to close the computer and get into his pajamas.

Just as he threw all the stuff regularly stored on his bed onto the floor he froze.

"What in the …" He bent down and picked up Ivan. "How did he? Weird."

He pursed his lips and his finger scraped against one of Ivan's repairments. Then he smiled.

"Okay, Ivan," he said. "I'm taking this as a sign. But I'm warning you."

The kid put the teddy bear back on the bed and snuck out into the kitchen, rummaged in a drawer and came back. Ivan was exalted.

In the boy's hand was a knife.

He walked over to the bed and said: "Now, Mr. Ivan, it is time to proceed with surgery."

Metal cut through a thick layer of fabric. The sound of tearing garments. Fingers duck inside the cut. Stuffing everywhere.

Ivan smiled. How wonderful it was to see this kid smile like that again. Just wonderful.