Ray pressed his nose closer on the glass to get a clearer view at the wooden race car on the wooden track. There was just so much to see in that window. There were wooden airplanes, cars, buggies, trains, ambulances, fire engines, skyscrapers, houses, and little wooden people rushing about in a wooden style between it all. It was a wooden utopia, if Ray knew what a utopia was, but again he was only eight years old.
He looked up at the top section of the display window and there was a wooden zeppelin hanging on a wire, next to an old bi-plane, next to a space shuttle, next to a large globe. They looked weightless hanging on the thin wires from above. Ray felt amazement wash over him as he greedily scanned the wooden sky. His imagination was fired up by the wooden world and he wanted to know more, he wanted to know who made these toys, how much they were and if he could get his hands on them somehow. He thought that maybe if he looked sad enough some poor old rich lady would take pity on him and buy him as many toys as he wanted. He looked up and down the street but didn’t see any old rich ladies. He looked across the street at the park but there were only young ladies running down the bike paths in skimpy outfits. Which Ray didn’t care about because he was eight and women, girls especially, were icky.
Ray stepped back from the window a bit to try and absorb the whole scene, the whole wooden world. He wanted to remember it perfectly. He wanted to remember every single detail of the tiny world. He wanted to remember all the wooden businessmen in their grey, blue and black suits. The wooden women in their little dress hats and dresses. He wanted to memorize the little crowded crosswalks the wooden people were on hear the big wooden buildings. He wanted this world in miniature to be something he’d always remember. The figure that stuck out most to Ray was the one that didn’t seem to really fit in with all the rest of the wooden figures. It was a little wooden old man, sitting at a wooden park bench with a painting easel in front of him. The old guy had a strange little happy smile on his painted face. It was different from all the other little painted faces in the display. They were all so expressionless. The old man though, he seemed to know a secret. Ray couldn’t see what was on the painting easel since it was facing the other way. He wondered if it might be a view of the park behind him or maybe something more fanciful.
“Ray,” shouted his father from across the street at the park.
Ray turned around knowing he was in trouble. He wasn’t supposed to leave the park. He was supposed to just go to the swings and maybe the jungle gym and go right back to where his dad was watching other old guys play softball.
“What are you doing over there!”“Nothing,” yelled Ray back to his father.
“Well get the hell over here!”
Ray turned back to look at the old wooden man on the bench and gave a little wave.
“What the fuck did I tell you about wandering off,” yelled Ray’s father.“I’m sorry. I just wanted to look at the new store,” said Ray.
“Come here right now,” yelled Ray’s father.
Ray went to the corner and waited for the light to change. The light turned green and Ray ran across toward his father.
“Don’t waste your time on looking at that bullshit. Come watch us play softball. You want to play softball one day right,” asked Ray’s father.“I dunno,” said Ray and he shrugged.
“You will, you will. When you have a regular job like me, you’ll want to play softball with a bunch of other assholes” said Ray’s father.
Ray’s father took a sip from his beer can as Ray joined him at his side.
“Now don’t fucking run off again. That pisses me off and I’m not here to get pissed off. I’m here to blow off some steam. So don’t fuck around with me or I’ll give you such a swollen ass you won’t be able to sit for a month,” said Ray’s father.
They started walking back towards the overweight, unhappy crowd of other middle aged men around the baseball field. Ray looked back at the toyshop. A wooden display world that seemed more alive than the one just a few feet away that he, his father, and everyone else was a part of.
“The little shit was across the street looking at some gay store,” said Ray’s dad to another beer bellied old man as they got to the diamond. The beer bellied man laughed.
Ray walked over to the bleachers and sat down, resting his head in his hands.