The teddy bear was stuffed into a sack strapped around his waist. The toy was a dingy golden yellow, and wearing some kind of blue shirt. The head and one arm of the bear were sticking out of the top, and the man held the bear’s paw in one hand, and gestured with it, tapping the bear’s head with his paw. “This is Frederick, lifelong friend, and we were just waiting here and wondered if you maybe had some nicotine for us.” “I’m sorry, I don’t.” “Why does everyone say that?,” this addressed to the top of the bear’s head.
“I’m sorry about that,” I said. This apparently occasioned some confusion, because the man said, quite firmly, “It’s not a ‘that,’ this is Frederick. Like in “Ted.” You seen Ted? About a man, his lifelong childhood friend comes to life.”
“No,” I said. “I haven’t seen it.” He looked at me, astonished, and said, “It was for the Academy Awards last year. Ted. Lifelong friend.” A full plot synopsis followed, with periodic reiterations wondering if I’d seen it, and increasing concern each time I said I hadn’t. His voice getting louder as the rumble of the streetcar approached. He looked down at Frederick, and Frederick patted his own head again, and gave me a sort of teddy bear salute of endorsement. “I’ll look for it,” I said. “You and Frederick have a nice day.” And I got on the streetcar.