Toys, by Michael A. Kechula (flash fiction)

This story was previously published in Weird Year Magazine in July, 2010.


When my wife left town to visit her sick mother, I hired a sitter and went to see a priest.

“What can I do for you?” asked Father Mahoney.

“Well, first off, I’m an atheist.  So’s my wife.  She’d go bonkers if she knew I was here.  The thing is, something’s happened that boggles my mind.   Something right out of the Twilight Zone.  Since I consider all religions to be nothing more than Twilight Zone fantasies, I figure you might have some answers.”

“So what exactly is boggling your mind?”

“Remember last month when two planes collided in midair just outside of town?” I asked.

“Oh, yes.  I was called to the crash site to give last rites.  It was a terrible sight.”

“Do you remember the head-on car crash on the road to the mall that wiped out two families?”

“Yes.  They were my parishioners.”

“Do you also remember when an ambulance lost control on Summit Road and flew over the cliff?”

“I remember all these things,” said Mahoney.  “So what about them?”

“I think my six-year old son had something to do with all three accidents.”

“Oh?  How could a six-year old possibly be involved?”

“Well, my wife and I were in the kitchen when Jimmy came in with two toy airplanes.  One in each hand.  He made airplane motor noises, making believe the planes were flying.  Suddenly, he slammed them into each other, and let them fall to the floor.  The very next day, the midair collision happened when two planes crashed outside of town.”

“Are you implying a cause and effect between what your son did with toy planes and what happened with two real planes?”

“It’s the only conclusion I can come to after all the other things that happened.  For example, two days later, Jimmy held a red toy car in one hand, and a blue one in the other.  He made motor sounds, and rolled them along the floor.  He talked about them crashing into each other.  He imitated all the sounds of screeching tires, and people yelling, and slammed the cars into each other.  The next day, two cars had a head-on on the way to the mall.”

“Hmm.  Were the cars in the accident red and blue?”

“Yes,” I said.  “I checked with the newspaper.  They put me in touch with the reporter who covered the story.  He verified their colors.”

“I suppose you’re going to tell me your son was playing with a toy ambulance the day before a real one flew over the cliff.”

“Unfortunately, yes. He was running a toy ambulance along the arm of the sofa, when he called out, ‘Look, Dad, the ambulance is out of control.  It’s going over the cliff.’  He let it fall to the floor.  It landed upside down.  The next day, the same thing happened to County Hospital’s ambulance.  The picture in the paper showed that it landed upside down.”

“It does sound quite strange,” said Mahoney.  “But the world’s full of coincidences.  However, our fantasies can sometimes get out of control. Perhaps you should discuss this with a psychiatrist.  As to your son, I wouldn’t be overly concerned. Sounds like he’s normal, imaginative, and is just displaying normal, boyhood aggression.  My brother was like that.  He was always crashing toys together, not to mention dozens of kids he shot with his cap gun.  He grew up to become the CEO of  Amalgamated Airlines.”

Checking his watch, the priest added, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I have an appointment in five minutes with our Choir Master.  Do come again any time you wish to talk.”

“I don’t mean to press the point, but is there anything you could do?” I asked.

“Sure.  If I suspected something evil afoot, I could do a minor exorcism by blessing your house, your son, and even his toys with holy water.   We never know what malignant forces can sometimes attach themselves to inanimate objects and create mischief.  But you’re an atheist, so I doubt you and your wife would tolerate my presence and my performing religious rituals in your home.”

“You’re right about that.  I don’t want my son exposed to anything religious.  But it’s kind of you to offer.
Thanks for your time.  Would you accept a donation?”

“Thanks, but that’s not necessary.  If you wish, you can put the money in the poor box inside the church vestibule.  We’ll use it to feed the hungry.”

I shook his hand and left.  As much as I dreaded going into a church, I went into the vestibule where I found the poor box.

That afternoon Jimmy was playing with his Tonka truck that had a crane in back.

“What are you doing?” I asked, when I saw that he’d put rubber bands around a wooden block, had run the crane’s hook under the rubber bands, and was turning a crank to raise the block.

“This block’s a giant piano.  Somebody up high in that big building downtown wants to have it brought in through a window.”

When he elevated the block a foot off the floor, the rubber bands broke.  The block fell onto a little plastic toy soldier.

“Looks like your soldier was in the wrong place at the wrong time, I said. A piano just fell on his head.”

“It’s not a soldier,” Jimmy said.  “I’m making believe it’s a priest.”

“Why a priest?”

“I don’t know.”

Next day, a weird accident was reported on TV.   A piano that was being delivered through an outside window at the downtown high rise apartments, suddenly broke loose.  It fell six stories and crushed a priest named Myles Mahoney.  He was about to enter the building to give communion to a shut in.

My hands shook, as I dialed the number of the Bishop’s office to plead for an exorcist.


Michael A. Kechula’s flash, micro-fiction, and short stories have appeared in 157 magazines and 56 anthologies in 8 countries. He’s won 20 writing contests: 1st prize in 12 and 2nd prize in 8 others. Five collections of his stories have been published as eBooks and Paperbacks. In addition, he’s written 2 self-study books that teach how to write flash and micro-fiction drabbles. Both are available as eBooks and paperbacks. To read a free story or chapter in any of the above books, go to the publisher’s site at: Obtain eBook version from the same publisher. Obtain paperback versions from

Posted on July 19, 2016, in Issue 18: Mark My Words: Prophesy Signs & Portents and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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