I could breathe a little easier knowing that the superfan had left the building … or, at least, the food court.
“So, what did you buy?” I asked Jack and Dec.
“A camera drone,” said Dec, “and a GoPro.” He pulled two boxes out of a BestBuy bag.
“A camera drone and a GoPro?” I looked at Jack and not Dec, with raised eyebrows, thinking he was spoiling the kid to a ridiculous degree.
Dec seemed to sense my unspoken thoughts. “Uncle Jack didn’t buy them. I’ve been earning money, and I saved up.”
“So, you’re into filming?” I asked him.
“Well, filming and … tech in general.”
Like uncle, like nephew. “The apple doesn’t fall far from the … branch that’s connected to your mother’s tree.”
Now, it was Dec’s turn to raise his eyebrows at me. “Huh?”
“That made much more sense in my mind before it came out my mouth,” I said. “You’re like your uncle.”
“Ah. Right,” said Dec.
“Well, maybe I didn’t buy gifts at the mall,” said Jack, “but I do have gifts for both Dec and Bronwyn, but they’re waiting back at the condo. They’re too big for my pockets.” He patted his overstuffed trenchcoat pockets.
If the gifts were really too big for his pockets, that was saying something. Jack wore that trenchcoat everywhere, rain or shine, and he must have had the equivalent of the contents of three women’s purses in there. Well, when I say that, I am talking in terms of storage, not that he was carrying lipsticks and powder puffs. No, Jack carried an interesting assortment of junk that seemed completely unnecessary … until it was, and that roll of duct tape came in handy for a makeshift fix or that magnifying glass could help with reading the fine print on a box of vitamins while shopping in the pharmacy.
After Jack and Dec joined the sugarfest that Bronwyn and I had started, and we split a giant Cinnabon the size of a small island nation four ways, we did head back to the condo.
Once back in the condo, we made ourselves comfortable. I got very comfortable, lying flat on my back on the couch, with George, the beagle, lying down on my stomach. I could take up all this space, because the two kids were content to sprawl on the floor in the floor cushions. Jack perched on the edge of his chair. “I suppose you two are too old for action figures.”
“I’m not,” said Dec. This was an interesting remark, because at 15, he was the oldest of the two.
I shrugged. “I’m not either.” I mean, Jack owns a toy business, and I’m his right hand man. I expect I will never grow up.
Bronwyn said, “I guess I’m not too old to display them … like with my Pop figures.”
Jack smiled. “Well, I think you are going to like these, because they are very special. They’re tied with the Blaze comic series. We’re going to release them to the public at the toy fair tomorrow.” He pulled a box from a bag. Through the cellophane panel, you could see a pre-teen girl figure with double French braids in her strawberry blonde hair. In separate compartments, a plastic backpack and other accessories were on display. Jack handed the box to Bronwyn.
Bronwyn rested the box against her raised knees and stared at it for several moments. “She looks like me,” she said.
“Well, as you know, you and Dec were very inspirational to my characters,” said Jack. “This is Farryn, Blaze’s niece.”
She then looked over the accompanying accessories. “A hoop, pins, ribbon … rhythmic gymnastics equipment and … nunchuks? I do rhythmic gymnastics and martial arts. She practically is me … but like in a parallel universe.”
“Wonder Woman has her magic lasso. Farryn has her ribbon of doom,” I said. That wasn’t quite the way it was written in the comic series, but I thought I’d be dramatic.
Jack presented a box to Declan next. “This is Hunter, Blaze’s nephew and Farryn’s trusty sidekick.”
“Wait, I’m her sidekick?” said Declan, as if he already completely identified with the character.
“Let me reword that,” said Jack. “Partner.”
The teen boy figure had a dark wavy coif just like Declan, although the figure’s hair was in molded plastic. The figure’s accessories included a drone, strangely similar to what Declan just bought himself, a smart watch, walkie talkies and a remote control car, all in miniature.
“Wow,” said Dec. “Bron and I are superheroes. You are the coolest uncle, Uncle Jack.” Dec turned to me. “And, Uncle Andy, you are the coolest uncle by association.”
“It’s super cool, Uncle Jack. Thank you so much.” She began to open her box. “Only … only … I think the superfan we met in the mall knows I’m her. I think he recognizes me.”
There was a pause. “Well,” I said. “Don’t worry about that. Tomorrow, at the toy fair, we’ll sneak you in wearing a hot dog suit. People may want to eat you, but no one will recognize you.”
I was beginning to lose count at how many times Bronwyn could roll her eyes at me.
Later, after the kids went to bed, Jack asked me, “Did I make a mistake … making the characters so similar to the kids?”
“Well,” I said. “You wouldn’t be the first to do something like that. Look at A.A. Milne and Christopher Robin. Milne made a character based on his kid.”
“Yeah,” said Jack. “But it was a different world back then, don’t you think?”
© Susan Joy Clark 2021