“I’m afraid we only have one Matchbox right now.” The drone/clerk is walking ahead of me, and half-turned to say this.
“You mean you only have one type of them?”
“No, I mean we only have one. One single Matchbox car.”
I am not sure how to process this.
“It is unique, however.”
I mutter: “Oh, I’m sure it is.”
We round the end of a set of shelves and turn right.
“Here it is.” The clerk turns and steps aside so that I can see.
It turns out that I was much better prepared to process the news that they only had one than I am to process what I’m seeing now. Parked in front of us in an open area is a full-sized automobile. I’m pretty sure it’s an old Ford Pinto.
No, wait. Of course it’s not a real Ford Pinto. It’s actually a metal matchbox car, but is the size of a real pinto. I feel a sort of vertigo, for lack of a better word. It is as though I were looking at a tiny Matchbox car sitting in front of me, but only a few inches away from my eyes, while simultaneously looking at a huge object that is actually a few feet away from my eyes.
I can’t think of anything better to say, so I go with the old standby. “Wow!”
“As I said, it is unique.”
I slowly walk around the car. The windows are plastic. It looks as though the doors will open, but the interior is apparently molded plastic, with outlines suggesting seats. But it does not look as though I could actually get into the car and sit in the seats. Interior detail is minimal, just as it would be if the car were the size it should be. (Should be? Like that’s a rule that applies here?)
I’ve come all the way around the car, back to where the drone is standing waiting for me, with her hands behind her back. I stop and silently stare at the car for what seems a long time.
Finally, I find myself speaking. “There’s nothing that one could do with this.”
“That is correct, ma’am.” [Officious.]
I look at her and see that her expression is neutral. “The only thing that can be done with this is…” I turn back to the car; the vertigo is not going to go away entirely. “…is to look at it.”
“Indeed. It is true that you can usually play with a normal-sized one, but isn’t it also true that it too is mainly ‘to look at’? Isn’t that part of what it means that they are ‘collectable’?”
No particular reply occurs to me, so I just nod.
I remember something. “I also mentioned Hot Wheels.”
“All of our Hot Wheels cars and accessories are normal size. I could show them to you, but consider that you may have thought of them only in order to jar loose the association.”
I think she’s right. I nod again.
More silent staring at the car.
I look at the drone again, who is now smiling slightly. “If I want this…?”
“I’m afraid that we cannot offer delivery. Would you be able to take it with you?”
“I thought not. A pity, given that there would be no charge today.”
“I don’t want it. But the possibility of wanting it is the point, isn’t it?”
“Yes, ma’am. Wanting to have it.”
The smile fades from the drone’s face. “There would be no orgasm upon procuring this, you see.”
I look at the drone, wide-eyed in surprise. “EXCUSE ME?”
Her brow furrows. “Oh, stop. The idea that the moment of coming into possession is something like an orgasm occurred to you already when we were looking at the dolls. And it occurred to you again, just now.”
I have no response. After a few moments struggling to think of one, I just nod again, feebly.
“It is crucial to my dilation that I call attention to this thought.”
Of course. She was just a “clerk,” and I had not thought about the drone having a dilation.
I stare at the car again for a while, and then turn to her again. “Now what?”
The drone smiles again. “You probably weren’t aware that we now have a record department adjoining Toyland.”
“Record? Vinyl record albums?”
That should have been a surprise, but given what led up to it, it was not. “OK, show me.”
“Right this way, please.”
As we walk down another aisle, we pass a display of stuffed dogs. Corgi, naturally.