My son was quite young when Toy Story came out but it soon became his favourite film. The sequels overcame this because they also had other loveable characters. Of all the characters in these films his favourite by a long chalk was Bullseye.
We had duly purchased all the toys for him..Woody, Buzz ‘Falling With Style’ Lightyear even Rex , Slinky, Jessie, Zurg, Mr Potato Head and ‘Eyes’ (as the little green alien was referred to by him) but Bullseye proved to be elusive.
How he wanted Bullseye…to be fair he didn’t complain, but when he was playing with them he always mentioned how Woody was missing Bullseye – I could see it in his eyes how he so wanted Bullseye more than anything else.
My wife and I searched shops up and down, near and far but there was no horse to be found. We even tried Ebay and the rest of the web channels but to no avail.
It was purely by chance that by the seaside one day we came across one of those grabber machines decked out with stars and planets just like in the first film…a fact not lost on my son as that’s exactly where ‘eyes’ came from. And low and behold what should be in there amongst other characters but Bullseye. I think we must have spend over an hour at that machine trying desperately to win the prize without any success – we came close a couple of times but Bullseye escaped us and ‘the claw’.
My son was getting more and more frustrated (as were we) so we decided to take him for an ice-cream, no consolation I agree but at least we believed it may have proved to be a distraction for a while. As my wife walked off with my son towards the kiosk I thought about giving it one last go. In fact I actually had about ten ‘last goes’ before the claw caught on a stirrup and dragged bullseye over the chute. Trouble was he was still attached…the claw wouldn’t let him go.
I didn’t care who saw me or what the consequences were. In those few seconds all I could focus on was the smile I knew would be on my son’s face if I presented him with his dream.
The first thing I did was to try to reach up into the machine…now these are designed in such a way a contortionist with rubber arms couldn’t do it but it didn’t stop me trying. Then I shook the machine – quite violently as it happened… but still no Bullseye. So out of frustration I kicked it…HARD ! And down the chute fell Bullseye. I don’t know if I dented the machine or not but if I did – Sorry Mr Grabber Machine Owner but needs must.
I ran up to my family…breathing heavily not just with the sprint but with the exertion I had just carried out.
As I reached them a little brown horse appeared over my wife’s shoulder…very sneakily it peeked at my son…first just the tip of his nose, then the rest of his head before with a quick shake he vanished back down again. A second later his head appeared again this time from behind her arm…then he disappeared again.. this carried on for a little while before with a flourish he leapt across to my son who was now giggling uncontrollably.
He had his dream in his arms.
I thought that moment may be lost but we played the sneaky peeks game many times over the next year or so and every time it was like the first, every time he laughed, every time was like he’d never seen it happen before…in fact even now today when at 15 his dream is far behind him, whenever I mention sneaky peeks no matter how much he tries not to, a smile still shows on his face.