“A particular bear sees a particular this.” — Clifford Chase
I’ve been reading Winkie, the tale of a teddy bear who is alive. This could easily be a silly childish story, but instead it is haunting and almost sad. I am finding myself identifying with the bear oddly, even though I can’t begin to relate. He is unable to interact with those around him, but feels pain and acts as a witness while the various children who own him grow up. The many years Winkie spends feeling unloved are heartbreaking and I just want to reach out and give him a hug, which can apparently solve all of his problems. Currently, he has just “lost” his last owner, Cliff. Cliff was the second of the six owners to name him, changing him from Marie to Winkie. Somehow the new name connected with his soul and he felt that Winkie is who he had always been. Cliff is older now and hardly pays attention to Winkie. The poor bear, sitting on a shelf, longs to be hugged or touched or talked to or looked at, but he knows that the time has come when he won’t have any other children to love him.
It is exciting to see where this story will go, given the events at the begining of the book (the present). The story opens with Winkie lying in a cabin, emotionally drained and lost. The cabin is surrounded by police searching for a terrorist bomber suspected to live there. Winkie, able to walk and talk, does as he is told and exits the building with his little paws up. After a lot of commotion and commands, shots are fired, one of which strikes Winkie, knocking him to the ground.
At the hospital, the doctors and nurses, sworn to do their jobs, play at reviving the stuffed bear, using all the equipment they can. Winkie refuses to speak to any of them and there is an assumption that he is a female. One nurse, who sneaks in to sew up his wounds, can tell otherwise. Françoise and Winkie enjoy time together, but he never speaks to her either. After waking up his guard, she is arrested in connection with the terrorist attacks because she is Egyptian. Despite her U.S. citizenship, she is linked based on her previous country’s supposed ideals.
Winkie is finally in prison in the story. He was sent to a women’s prison at first, but after Françoise is sent to the same block as he, Winkie is sent to a men’s prison and charged with impersonating a woman. All of this seems quite silly, but I hope it is leading somewhere. Winkie faces so many charges that it took the judge five hours and fourteen minutes to read them all. Among them are one hundred twenty four counts of attempted murder, treason, conspiring to overthrow the United States government, and teaching evolution in schools.
This is an excellent read and I highly recommend it. I will keep you posted on my progress.
15 December 2007