Andy wrinkled his nose at the sight of him, but still attempted to be decent to the man he disliked. Mr. Warrick was a short and seemingly harmless little man, who appeared innocent enough as a man who worked with toys. But Andy was the only one who didn't think he was so innocent. He lived a couple of blocks away and even from that distance, Andy felt he was someone to be wary of. But it wasn't as though he were doing anything particularly bad. At the moment, the only thing he seemed interested in doing was making friends with the young teen. But Andy wasn't so willing.
Andy nodded politely at the idle conversation as he shifted a semi-heavy box in his arms. It was for a yard sale which was the only thing that could drag Mr. Warrick away from the hideaway of his seemingly pleasant home. He hardly ever saw him, in fact few people did as Mr. Warrick liked his privacy. Half the time, people wondered if he was away on vacation. But he never went anywhere. Andy noticed whenever he had to pass his house during a walk or a car ride. He would catch Warrick peeking out of his window. Pulling back the shade, and giving the neighborhood children an odd stare. Andy never liked the look he gave them. It wasn't like a child predator look, but the look of serious disappointment and anger. Andy didn't understand it, but it was the one thing that made him so suspicious of the man. The bad part was, he was the only one who felt that way.
"Yeah, yeah, right, um, excuse me Mr. Warrick," Andy said in forced politeness as he moved past him with the box. "I really need to be helping my mom with the sale."
"Oh sure sure sure, sure, I understand," he said, in a hoarse voice which made Andy wonder if he had been a heavy smoker. "Don't let me stop you. You've got money to make and...things to get rid of."
Andy had been walking away, but upon the way he said "things", made him turn back around. Warrick was eyeing the box he carried that had toys written on it in permanent ink. Andy knew it was silly, but he couldn't help feeling uncomfortable with the way he was staring at the box.
"Your toys, I imagine?"
"Well, not all of them," Andy admitted. "Most of them are my sister's." He turned away from Warrick and looked down into the box. A majority of the toys that were inside belonged to Molly. But it shouldn't have been. With a look of disappointment that might have mirrored Warrick's look, Andy looked over at his sister.
Molly was moving a few boxes with their mother. For a second, Andy couldn't see her as his little sis, but as a young teen. Gone were her favorite pink barbie doll shirts, pigtails, and a plastic doll in her hand. Instead, she wore shirts of young boy bands, had make-up on her cheeks and carried around a small purse. It annoyed him to no end that Molly had allowed her friends to transform her into this. He expressed his concerns to his mother, but she had believed it was harmless. Children were growing up faster these days and more interested in being little adults. But Andy did not want that for her. She didn't want her to grow up so quickly. Afterall, he himself wasn't a little boy anymore. He was fifteen and was supposed to be ready to shift from boy to man; but Andy wasn't so sure he was ready for that.
"Ah, your sister's. Molly's."
Andy cringed at her name on his lips. "Yeah."
"Quite the young lady. And I suppose that would make you, quite the young man. Much too old for, toys."
Andy looked into the box. The few toys he had chosen to abandon were nothing compared to the amoung Molly had donated. There was a squeaky penguin, an Rc car with controller, a strong man and a ABC speller box. The rest of the toys didn't make the cut. They were still in his room, long since abandoned, yet he had not locked them away inside his toy box.
"Yeah, I'm much too old for toys," he agreed, more with himself than Warrick.
"Well then, you wouldn't mind if I have a look at them Hmm? Maybe give them a nice home and fix them up a bit. That is what I do after all. Make toys better than they ever were before."
Andy nodded. He knew this already, and he also knew he never sold the toys he fixed. He collected them. It was a hobby few people in the neighborhood understood. When he first met his new neighbors, he had made the mistake of sharing his love of toys. It had cost him to being the social outcast. But Warrick didn't seem to care. The only thing that mattered to him were his toys, however, Andy wasn't so sure it was healthy for a grown man.
"Ah, maybe after the other customers take a look," Andy told him. "There are little kids about who could use them."
"Ah, of course of course," he said. "And I don't suppose one of those little kids that could use them is your little sister?"
Andy didn't want to admit any such thing to him, but he was somewhat pleased that he, of all people, understood the problem of Molly's desire to be a young woman.
"I've already tried, but she won't listen to me. She won't accept any of my old toys anyways."
"Well, perhaps she will accept this," said Warrick as he reached into his coat. From within, he pulled out a small toy wizard with a long white beard, and wearing blue robes and a cone shaped hat to match with golden stars. In one hand, he held a wand and in his outstretched hand, he held a crystal ball. "I think your sister would get a kick out of it, don't you?"
Upon his insistance, Andy took the toy and studied it in his hand.
"Go on, pull down the crystal ball and see what he does."
Andy pulled down the arm with the crystal ball, which caused the wizard to give a few flicks with his wand before rolling his eyes in a comical way. Andy glanced up at Mr. Warrick. If he believed he could make toys better than ever, he probably should have chosen a new hobby.
"Don't you think your sister will like it?"
"I don't know Mr. Warrick," Andy admitted. "She's more into barbies and...other kinds of dolls." He didn't want to say that she wouldn't be interested in a toy that was made to amuse a toddler. Molly wasn't that young. But his thoughts seem to read on his face.
"Well I think you're wrong my boy," he told him. Andy wasn't sure if he imagined it, but he could have sworn a dark look crossed his features. "I think she will adore it. Make her that little kid again who will have fun with her toys for hours."
Andy studied him, then studied the toy. There wasn't much about the wizard to keep her entertained, but anything for the moment might be better than nothing.
"Well I'll ask."
"Surprise her why don't you?"
Warrick patted his shoulder. "I suppose I'll let you get back to your sale. I've kept you long enough." Andy nodded as his focus fell back to the toy again. He wasn't so positive it would help him win back the little girl that Molly still was. But maybe he could work up some way to do it. As Andy pulled the wizard's arm down again, he wondered if it would have been better just to spend his allowance and buy her the latest Malibu barbie.