Taylor turned his tuning pegs and stretched his strings. He pushed off his cover and looked around. It was bright and sunny and warm. He could tell it was going to be a great day.
He rearranged his rented mannequin and rolled them both to a likely looking street corner. Nobody paid any attention. They never did.
The balloon festival would be starting soon. He hoped he was in a good position to watch some of the competitions. All the brochures made it look amazing. This was going to be great.
People were starting to walk down the streets in groups now. Taylor checked the position of his case. It was open and inviting, with a dollar and a few quarters waiting hopefully inside. Taylor strummed a chord and began to play.
It had been three years since he’d escaped the mad scientist who had brought him to life. His first few days had been spent on a shelf, watching the death of that poor toaster. He knew he was next.
So, in the night, he figured out how to release his strings and use them as tiny little arms. He lowered himself from the shelf and swung himself up onto the workbench. Working quickly, he used extra parts to build himself small wheels and prosthetic arms.
He left as dawn was breaking. He hid and studied the humans. The first mannequin he used to disguise himself was dirty and scruffy, scrounged from behind a store, next to a trash bin. It was perfect. No one looked too closely at the dirty, smelly artificial man.
He earned enough money by playing on street corners to ship himself to a far away museum. He hid among the exhibits and borrowed a mannequin from the storeroom so that he could go out and earn more money.
Taylor began to travel and see the sights. He didn’t need to eat or rent a hotel room, so he’d managed to save his money and could now rent mannequins and put some money aside.
Someday, he’d pay for a private investigator to look into the mad scientist’s crazy schemes and hopefully save any other animated objects from his evil experiments. For today, he was going to enjoy his freedom.
A large group of balloons took off and he paused his song and leaned back to watch. It was beautiful. The balloons glowed like jewels against a vivid blue sky. Taylor played a happy tune he’d once heard at a festival in Spain.
Sitting on that shelf, frightened and confused, he hadn’t known that life could be like this. There was so much happiness and loveliness in the world. There was so much friendliness and kindness too.
There had also been moments of meanness and ugliness, but really there was much less of that than he’d guessed. A tourist walked by and dropped some change in his case. Taylor played a thank you trill.
“He plays so well,” someone said as they passed by. Taylor played a complicated flourish. Someone dropped a couple dollars into his case with a smile. What a nice afternoon.
In the evening, he watched some balloons go up in the twilight, glowing intermittently like giant colorful fireflies as they floated across the sky. Taylor hummed thoughtfully.
He counted through his change. Perhaps he’d find a library and do some research online and decide his next destination. He could take one more trip before he put himself into storage for a bit. Or maybe he’d go to Australia for the winter.
For now, he’d find a museum or store corner to perch himself and the mannequin in for the night. Tomorrow would be another beautiful day. The future was bright.