James wakes early and jumps out of bed quickly, pulling on his shirt and trousers hastily. His laces take a while to tie and he wishes that he had velcro shoes. He zips up his jacket a little too eagerly and it gets caught. Eventually he manages to wrestle it free and grabbing his satchel, he opens the door and hurries down stairs. He is unlocking the front door when his mum calls him from the kitchen.
‘James is that you?’
She appears at the end of the hallway, her arms crossed.
‘And where do you think you are going young man?’
‘I was going to go to the park.’
‘Well come and have some breakfast first.’ She orders.
‘But mum I don’t have time. I need to go now.’
His mum stares at him sternly.
‘Okay.’ James mumbles and reluctantly follows her into the kitchen.
James wolfs down big mouthfuls of cereal, pausing every now and then to wash it down with a glass of orange juice. His mum sits at the far end of the table, watching him with an amused expression.
‘Digest your food honey.’
James tips back the bowl and drains the remaining milk. His mum wrinkles her nose in disgust. James sniggers to himself as he wipes his face with the back of his sleeve, knowing how much it annoys her. He goes to let out a loud belch but covers his mouth at the last second. Better not upset her more, otherwise she might not let him go to the park. He waits patiently for a few seconds before bursting out:
‘Can I go now?’
His mum ponders the request, knowing that her stalling makes him more and more agitated. James taps his trainers on the kitchen floor impatiently.
‘Go on then.’ She says finally, giving in to her demanding son.
‘Wahoo.’ James shouts and jumps energetically to his feet.
‘Get your brother to go with you.’ She instructs.
‘No arguments. You can go with your brother or not at all.’
James walks walks through the park, scanning the ground with hawk like eyes. His satchel is slightly bulky, weighed down by the contents inside. A small object, hidden beneath a bush catches his attention and he moves over to it quickly. An action figure sticks out of the ground. It’s an army soldier wearing khakis and boots. One of his arms is missing. James opens his satchel and reveals several other toys lying at the bottom of the bag. Among them is a dog eared teddy bear with only one eye and a broken yo yo.
‘Oi Jimmy. Time to go.’
James turns to see his older brother Simon sitting on a bench with a few other teenage boys. One of them cycles around the bench lazily on a bmx.
‘Just ten more minutes.’ James begs.
Simon shakes his head and gets up from the bench.
‘Mum said be back by twelve and its quarter to one. I’m not getting in any more trouble.’
‘Alright.’ James sulks and drops the action figure into the satchel before slinging it over one shoulder.
James throws open the door and bounds up the stairs, taking them two at a time. He reaches the landing and nearly collides into his mum, cradling a washing basket under one arm.
‘Hello there Speedy Gonzalez.’
‘Hi Mum.’ James gasps, dashing into his room and closing the door behind him.
His mum sighs as she glances at the muddy footprints left behind on the landing.
James flings his shoes off and winces as one of them narrowly misses the window. He relaxes when it bounces off the wall and lands in the bin. Removing his bag, he tips it upside down, spilling the contents onto the bed. He looks at the pile of collected toys and scratches his chin thoughtfully. In the end he picks up the armless action figure and the one eyed bear and moves over to his desk. He pulls open one of the desk drawers and rummages through the assortment of odds and ends inside.
‘A ha.’ He says triumphantly and produces a detached action figure arm and a large button.
Thirty minutes later James’s mum knocks on the door.
‘James, its time for lunch.’
‘Okay in a minute.’
James’s mum knows better then to enter his room uninvited. Last time she disturbed him whilst he was tinkering with his toys, they had got into a heated argument. James leans back in his chair and smiles at the finished work in front of him. The armless action figure now has an arm. It is an arm from a different action figure but that doesn’t bother James. He is just happy to have a repaired toy. The bear sits next to him with a newly attached button for an eye. It is two sizes larger then the other button eye but this only makes the toy more special. James scoops up the action figure and the bear and moves over to the windowsill where there are a line of toys. Each one has been lovingly repaired. Using whatever tools he has at his disposal James has restored the toys and in some cases improved the original designs. James slots the action figure and the bear onto the end of the line and admires the small trophies before him.
‘James, dinner.’ His mum calls from downstairs.
James takes one last look at the windowsill and heads downstairs.
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