A) Even Teddy Bears Get The Blues- Part I
Even Teddy bears get the blues- Part I
By Kiko Korea
It was a bright misty late afternoon in November. Directing the
seemingly ubiquitous traffic of sixty-foot shadows the sun hung low in
the grey-blue hue of the sky. Lost amongst these shadows, walking home
from his job at Hamlin's insurance was Teddy Anderson. Teddy Anderson,
by all accounts and introductions, was a Teddy bear, and like all Teddy
bears in the world, he now lived in RailyFate. RailyFate, much like its
inhabitants, is a contrived and ornamental place. Built from ashes of
the last great bomb, RailyFate was decreed by the UN as a site for all
the lost Teddy bears of the world. That was a hundred years ago and now
RailyFate city (other wise known as RFC by the locals), the capitol of
this small land locked republic, has become a burgeoning metropolis of
cityscape, parkland, multinationals, entrepreneurs, malls, bowling
alleys, football stadiums, traffic, crime, TV chefs, interior
designers, c-list celebrities and anything else typical of
Teddy was only a short bear. His head was wide and, beneath his
pinstriped suite, his fur was a sandy brown. His gait had a slight hop
to it, as he strolled along the side streets; and unfortunately,
Teddy's left leg was two inches shorter than his right leg. This
resulted in Teddy being great at walking in circles but slow at walking
in straight lines. Teddy always took a long time to walk home but he
refused to get the bus, the fresh air always made him feel a whole lot
better, especially now there's a crisp chill of a northerly November
wind in the air.
Teddy lived at Sunny-side heights: A small modest apartment block on
the west side of town. It may not have been luxurious but Teddy liked
it. He walked into the empty lobby and saw the poster on the far wall
that he'd seen everyday for the last month. The large six-foot poster
showed a picture of bears holding hands with a golden skyline behind
them. The slogan beneath them read: CELEBRATE THE CENTENARY OF
RAILYFATE- NOVEMBER 14th. It was November 13th; Teddy was only filled
with dread. He frowned and headed for the lift.
All the way up on the twelfth floor Teddy opened the door to his
apartment and walked in. He slumped into his favourite chair straight
away, exhaling deeply. It really had been a bad day for Teddy,
especially with everyone else excited about the parades and
celebrations. He flicked on the television and surfed the channels. He
stopped at channel thirty-four and began watching the news. The young
bear presenter Tammy Newgent was reading out the daily events. "Today,
on a more serious note, 17 anti-war protesters were shot dead in
Vasdagrad, Bolatchnya." She explained. "The break away former Soviet
republic, which attacked the neighbouring country of Prusitan two weeks
ago has observed severe backlash for its actions from its own citizens.
President Lovisok has reaffirmed his stance by insisting that Prusitan
is still on Bolatchnya oil fields following the last war that saw the
redefining of borders and the creation of RailyFate. Today RailyFate
Prime Minister, Sallisi Hannersmidt, gave an immediate press conference
from the United States while attending a UN conference on international
trade. Phil Stackman is in New York with this special report." Tammy
smiled and looked off camera. Teddy still watched and awaited the
report. This was news that concerned every bear in RailyFate. If the
area destabilized RailyFate could be drawn into war with Bolatchnya and
The report came on. Pictures from New York showed a very smartly
dressed and regal Teddy bear approach a smaller than usual podium. The
subtitle on the screen read- 'RAILYFATE PRIME MINISTER, SALLISI
HANNERSMIDT.' He began speaking. "Today's reports of further trouble
between Bolatchnya and Prusitan have concerned myself and my fellow
citizens of RailyFate. I would like to make it clear that we do not
condone the action of Bolatchnya and, as of this afternoon, we have cut
all trading routes with the aforementioned country. I urge the
international community to follow these actions and to back, along with
RailyFate, the people of Prusitan. I trust that you'll appreciate that
these are precarious times and that I can't give away too much
information at the moment, but I will confirm that I will be in
communication this evening with the President of Bolatchnya, President
Lovistok; and the President of Prusitan, President Ariel Luzny. I will
also state that if this conflict overflows into RailyFate we will not
hesitate in striking back at the perpetrators, whoever they may be.
That is all for now thank you very much." Hannersmidt gave one wave
before bowing down from the podium and walking back in between a huddle
of his bodyguards. Phil Stackman, a rotund bear with an ill-fitting
hairpiece, came on screen with the small words 'LIVE-LINKUP' beneath
"Hello, good afternoon Phil." Asked Tammy, sitting from behind her news
"Good afternoon Tammy." Replied Phil.
"Do you think that Hannersmidt's speech gave much away on the current
situation? It appeared to me, and possibly our viewers at home, that he
didn't want to commit himself," enquired Tammy. Teddy didn't need to
hear Stackman's answer. He had already made up his own mind. As far as
he was concerned RailyFate was in for a harsh time, but that was the
way Teddy saw the world. He was an eternal pessimist, but not through
any fault of his own. Teddy was, by today's standards, a rare site in
RailyFate, a factory bear. 95\% of RailyFate's population was born in
RailyFate. The other 5\% are old factory bears. Looked upon with pity
and sometimes distrust from their fellow citizens. Factory bears are
often outsiders in the society of RailyFate. When it was finally made
illegal to 'enslave' bears, for the entertainment of human children,
nearly thirty years ago, all these bears had to be released from their
owners. Needless to say the factories were closed down and the bears
came in droves to RailyFate. A lot of these bears found it difficult to
assimilate into normal society. Some turned to drink, drugs,
prostitution; others found their release in crime and other sociopathic
tendencies. But there was also an equal number who could cope with the
major changes in their life and settled down. Psychologists have
attributed this severe case of mass maladjustment to a deep
psychological defect in a young bears mind. The famous Professor Von
Tullytet, from the university of RailyFate (formerly the Polytechnic of
RailyFate) came up with a theory to explain such behaviour:
'The embryonic bear is produced in a cold, lifeless factory. The
mechanism that gave them life is the cold steel of the huge knitting
machines that make up the internal organs of these grandiose
cathedrals. They are then packaged and sold off to families. They are
then given to children with whom they form a strong bond. Easy to
understand when you take into account their humble beginnings. Whether
it was right or wrong to 'imprison' these juvenile bears, they often
found it difficult to relinquish the strong emotional bond that they
had acquired with the human children. Some of these bears were released
without an important sense of right and wrong. Coupled with a low
self-esteem of their own self worth, many factory bears soon enter a
spiral of severe decline.'
Von Tullytet, J 2115. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 21:179-183.
In comparison to other factory bears, Teddy has assimilated rather well
into RailyFate society. Teddy never dwells on his past but he still
bares the scars of his meek beginnings. Like a shackle slavery around
his legs Teddy still has his label. All naturally born Teddy bears have
no label, but factory bears do. Some bears have it removed but Teddy
could never bring himself to do it. His label meant something else to
him. So long as he covered it everyday with his work clothes, no one
"And on a lighter note; citizens of RailyFate have been preparing for
what is about to be the greatest party in the history of our fair
nation- the centenary celebrations!" Shouted Tammy Newgent,
"I need a drink," whispered Teddy, as he turned off the
By the time Teddy had changed and showered the streets of RailyFate
city, still busy with lights and horns, was now deeply under a veil of
darkness. This was a time that Teddy liked. Even he could appreciate
the grandeur of RFC's golden glass towers and neon assault on the
senses. It reminded him of where he'd come from, and probably where he
wanted to be. The temperature had dropped significantly from that of a
few hours ago and Teddy nuzzled his chin into the warmth of his thick
over coat. "Taxi!" He shouted as a small blue and green cab pulled up.
He climbed in "'Roosevelt's Bar' please," said Teddy, casually.
"Sure thing Mac'." The cab driver put the vehicle into first gear and
pulled off down the street and into the inviting darkness.
Teddy liked RailyFate city at night and had no time at all for the idle
chat of the cab driver. He just stared out of the window. The plastic
palaces of golden light gave him a forlorn stare. Teddy often felt
contempt for this world and its trivial preoccupations. Maybe it was
because it he was a factory bear or maybe it was just the way every
bear thought. Teddy just didn't know. Either way Teddy found it equally
as quickening as he did abhorrent.
"That'll be ten bucks Mac'" The cab had arrived outside Roosevelt's
bar. Teddy paid the bear and made his exit to the cold street side
pavement. Like he did every time he came to Roosy's (as it was known to
those who frequent) he lit a cigarette before he entered, helped him to
fit in a little easier. Teddy took one long thick drag of the dirty
cigarette. The smoked would have filled his lungs, if he had any. He
gave a deep exhalation into to cold air. He lowered his arm to the
side, flicked the ash and slowly strolled in.
"Evening Teddy, how's it going?" Ruby Sim, the bar hostess breezed past
him, not expecting an answer. Teddy just smiled and took another deep
drag of his cigarette. He approached the bar and sat at a vacant
"Teddy." Acknowledged Green the bar tender, a tall, thin bear in a
waiter's jacket. Just like every night at Roosy's, atmosphere was heavy
in tobacco smoke.
"I see you haven't choked to death in here yet Green?" Asked Teddy, a
million miles away from another exhausting day in the office.
"I see you're still coming every week as well Teddy. Why is that
Teddy?" Green coolly asked, while sipping at a mature bourbon.
"I've come for the Jazz Green; the Jazz, a nice drink and the comfort
of friends." Replied Teddy.
"Well you've come to Roosy's for the right reasons Teddy. Whiskey on
"Please Green." Teddy throws five bucks onto the bar and strolls off
into his usual corner. Drink in paw; he searches for his customary
company. Miles Davis hits the jukebox and the room seems bigger. Teddy
dances to the corner, and to Dick Freece. Teddy picks up a smile as he
begins swinging to the silky, sinuous, lilting saxophone melody of
Dick Freece, someone else who hated his job as much as he enjoyed a
slow drink, was one of Teddy's oldest friends. A plump bear with a fur
tone only slightly darker than Teddy's. In fact in such a dim light it
would be easy to mistake the two. Both wore long overcoats with din
grey suits beneath. The only discernable feature was Dick Freece's
small pin stripe moustache just beneath his nose.
"Am I glad to see you Dick. You wouldn't believe the day I've had."
Said Teddy, losing all Jazz cool pretensions and extinguishing his half
smoked cigarette into an ashtray. Teddy felt more comfortable with
"Tell me about it Ted," exclaimed Dick in between sips of his Belgian
beer, in a tall glass.
"I'm getting so sick of everyone getting so excited about these damn
centenary celebrations. If it's not plastered all over the city it's on
every news report."
"Chill out a little Ted. Everyone seems to be enjoying it."
"Well I don't Dick. I really wish I did. I wish I could smile every
time I walk past that damn poster in my lobby and every time that Tammy
Newgent reports about it on the news, but I can't. RailyFate just means
something else to me Dick." Said Teddy as he took a sip of his whisky,
the alcohol now suitably subdued by the ice.
"Don't worry about it Ted. You know it will soon be over and then you
can return to normality. So keep smiling yeah." Dick was always
concerned for Teddy; maybe that was why Teddy liked him. Teddy forced a
smile and looked up at Dick.
"You're right Dick, I should just relax. I don't have a bad life. Great
company, a good drink and some relaxing music."
"Exactly, I'll drink to that, now lets sit back and enjoy ourselves."
At that moment both bears turn to look at the stage as a large, old,
black Teddy Bear, Scooby McCoy, steps up holding a saxophone. From his
deep resonant core comes a thick coarse voice. "Good evening ladies and
gentlemen. My name is Scooby McCoy and I'd like to play you a few
tunes. Take it as you will."
"Give it to us Scooby." Shouts Dick in admiration.
He lets out a quick chortle, "Seems I got the fan club in tonight. Well
here's one for you pal." He pulls the bright brass Sax to his lips,
fills his elderly cheeks with air and begins to blow. It was at that
point, when the first few notes came out that Teddy's evening turned
into a haze of drink, jazz and laughter. Teddy was sucked into McCoy's
frenetic flurry of shiny brass and dulcet tunes. Teddy felt for that
brief moment content.
"That Scooby McCoy was so cool. To cool to even breathe." Whistled the
praises of Dick. It was now four thirty in the morning and Teddy and
Dick found themselves strolling home that cold autumn's night. They
were both drunk, Dick more than Teddy. Luckily neither bears had work
tomorrow it was centenary day. "You can stay at mine tonight if you
want Ted, save ya' walking all the way home." Forced out Dick as he
hiccupped and fell into some rubbish bins.
"Thanks Dick." Answered Teddy as he tried to pick him up.
Both bears woke up at ten thirty the next morning on the floor of
Dick's apartment. They both looked twice as bad as they did the night
before and felt ten times worse. Teddy clambered onto the couch and, in
a mist of obscurity, and subsequent regret, turned on the
"Hello everybody, I'm Tammy Newgent on channel thirty four, and happy
centenary everybody!" Teddy tried to turn to TV off but couldn't think
"Turn that shit off!" Muffled Dick from beneath a pillow, more through
cranial torture than hospitable host.
"It's going to be one of those days." Beleaguered Teddy as he gave up
his position on the couch to a thump on the hard floor.