Dispatches from a One-Inch Tall Plastic Man in a Conductor’s Suit

Day 1: I was ripped out of the pre-packaged plastic darkness that I was molded specifically to fit and saw a whole new world in front of me. After a short wait, I led a train around a circle for three hours. I feel so free.

Day 14: There was a tree in the circle today. I’d never seen a tree before. I’ve now seen one tree. I’ve seen it 1,276 times.

Day 145: It’s been 13 days since I’ve gone in the circle. I just stand in this plastic engine unable to make it move. I long to ride in a circle and see my tree, which I know, is behind me on the right, I just can’t turn to see it: I wasn’t made that way.

Day 201: I went in the circle today, but it wasn’t like I remembered. It was much longer and I counted 24 trees. I counted them 47 times. I don’t understand where these trees came from. Or why the circle is bigger. I have a lot of questions and no one to ask them to.

Day 245: The route we travel has changed every day for the last 6 days. I said we, as the train is now full of other plastic people who have their own ideas as to why the world keeps changing. Many of them seem scared. They’ve mentioned a “God.”

Day 320: 7 plastic people from cars behind me went missing last night. I heard the murmurs. Today they were found slightly melted and broken outside of a building called a hospital. We have no idea how they got there or what happened to them. We saw them 167 times.

Day 350: I woke up inside a new and much speedier train this morning. Luckily it works the same: by just standing here. Things go by so much faster now. I can barely count my trees.

Day 407: Today, while on our ride around we entered a brief darkness. It was a tunnel. The tunnel is apparently part of the big circle now. It’s my least favorite part of the circle. Why would God make us go through the darkness if we don’t like it?

Day 495: The circle changed. We now cross back over part of the track in a figure eight. I caught glimpses of what I think was my old train when we come to the cross. I wonder if they saw us. I wish I could turn to look. I wish I were given articulation.

Day 520: There were people on the track today! What kind of a monster lets people get hit by a train? It’s like they were there on purpose. They didn’t even try to move! I just watched in horror as my train—that I love, and has kept me safe and protected—sent plastic arms and legs flying into the air. I’m making a break for it tonight in the dark.

Day 521: Escape failed. Legs don’t work.

Day 540: I’ve accepted that I’m unable to move without the train and my train is unable to move without some unseen force that I’ll never understand. No sane God would ever create this mad world. I just want to go back to my circle and see my tree again. I’ll look for it once the train starts anew. Whenever that is.

The ABCs of Prose Wit

A. If you’re a brown man like me then you’ve been cringing for some time. No, this is not about NAFTA.