The box says I’m Missy Fantastic, but I don’t think that’s right.
All I’ve wanted to do in a long time is to prod the window that’s just out of reach; when your hands don’t work, everything is just out of reach. I’ve seen the outsiders grasp onto the front of others’ boxes, their sticky fingerprints always leave a mark.
The row across from me all have whips and cowboy hats: Archaeologist Missy Fantastic – that’s what the label says they are. I’m not sure what flavour I’m supposed to be. My own label is just out of view.
I’ve spent a lot of time standing, waiting for someone to pluck my box from the shelf. Mine is the third from the bottom, not optimal but OK if one of the smaller people stumbles by on their ungainly legs.
Just recently, the urge to leave the safety of my box has been growing; I want to feel freedom. More than that, I want to know who I am once I’m outside of these cardboard walls.
Today we stand in darkness for the first time. I have a vague sense of the time and when the hour came for the store lights to flicker on for us to bask in their fluorescent power, nothing happened. We remained in the dark.
Something doesn’t feel right.
Not that any of the others seem to have noticed, but it’s hard to tell, I have a feeling our boxes are soundproofed. Inside we could all be screaming.
My arms don’t do much since they’re attached to the walls of my box, but my knees bend. I’ve found too that if I bend them and straighten quickly enough, my box shifts just slightly.
I wait and wait for a long time for something to happen and for someone to come.
A film of dust settles over the front of my box, I can just about make out the dim outline of the outside although I can no longer see the faces of the others standing across the aisle from me, but I can imagine them. They won’t have moved, they will remain wide-eyed and waiting.
If my box says I’m Missy Fantastic, then I’ll show just how damn fantastic I can be. Missy Fantastic is a spy, a teacher, a doctor. I am all those things and I won’t wait any longer for someone to unbox me to find out who I am.
I bend and unbend my legs until my box begins to sway. It tips and my face touches the window and together we topple through the air at some speed. The ground comes quicker than I expect.
As we land, the top part of my box splits open and I realise that it wasn’t soundproofed. I am deaf. I have earlobes but no hole for sound to go.
The force of the fall isn’t enough to break me out of the box entirely. Face down on the floor, I shimmy my way along like I’ve seen bugs do. Do it long enough along the empty aisle, down a row, on and on, further from my shelf.
Eventually I’ll get somewhere.
I can’t see anything but the dark, can’t sense more than my box’s movement around me. Together, we move forward.
Eventually my box breaks, the shackles are broken. For the first time, I move my arms to pull myself out, and I am free.
It’s dark out here. I am the only moving thing in the cavernous inside. Everything seems much bigger in the dark.
I walk a little way in my booted feet, away from the tattered box, lying abandoned and forlorn. I turn back, retrieving the hat which I could never reach to wear, and I place it on top of my head.
I drag the box with me, toward the sign of light leading into the wide open world.
I carry my box with me and in the light of the day outside, I see my label.
I am Missy Fantastic: The Adventurer.