Larry Daley was excited to go back to his old job of being a night guard at the Museum of Natural History. He had missed his friends there, and selling devices that turn on electrical appliances with the snap of the fingers were a thing of the past. He had made plenty of money on them in their heyday, but he decided to sell his company and donate some of the money to the museum.
His keys jingled as he walked briskly up the front steps around eight o'clock. He was carrying a gift for Jedediah, since he got a phone call the day before from Octavius that it was Jed's birthday. Larry still hadn't figured out how the small figurines got up on the front desk to pick up the phone or dial the numbers, but he was sure it was a sight to see. Just for the occasion, Larry had bought a brand-new Barbie horse that was just Jedediah's size. Jed had always told him that he had just wanted a good horse, so Larry figured he wouldn't mind if it was a good horse with sparkly eye makeup and a rainbow tattoo on it's hind leg. Larry walked through the front door to find his boss, Dr. McPhee, admiring the Teddy Roosevelt display for the millionth time.
"I'm here for my first night of night guard duty," Larry joked as he walked up to him.
McPhee whirled around to look at him, "Very funny, Daley. Trying to scare me?"
"No, I was just saying…" Before Larry could say another word, McPhee was heading for the door. He turned around again and looked at the package in Larry's hands, which was wrapped in cowboy wrapping paper.
"What's that?" McPhee asked, gesturing towards the box.
"Oh, this," Larry looked around for an excuse because he knew it was too late to try to hide it behind his back, "it's for my son."
"Oh," was all he replied as he walked out the door into the crisp November air with a bewildered look on his face.
Larry knew he was safe. He put the gift on the counter, took off his jacket and wrapped it around the back of the chair. It still would be another fifteen minutes before everything in the museum would come to life, so he decided to read one of the tour guide pamphlets. He began reading the section about an upcoming exhibit, a display of Vikings hand-crafted from plastic that would be the newest edition to the miniatures department. Larry began to wonder how he could keep them from trying to pillage the other exhibits, but his thoughts were disrupted when he noticed everything started to move from their frozen positions.
There was suddenly a faint neighing noise coming from the box. The small horse then began kicking at the inside of the package.
"Come on, stop, it took me a half an hour to wrap that!" Larry tried to yell over the random horse noises and banging.
The cream-colored horse's back legs kicked through the cardboard box and wrapping paper and soon worked the box up around its neck. It reared up on it's hind legs and crashed its hooves on the enamel countertop. The box went flying off halfway across the room, and the horse took off like Seabiscuit on Red Bull, galloping on the files and papers that were piled on the desk, flinging them in the air.
"Come here!" Larry screamed at the naughty horse. He now wished he had gotten Jed the set of Lincoln Logs to build a new log cabin. He finally caught up to it and scooped it up. He wagged his index finger and said, "You're a bad horse!" like he was scolding a dog. He quickly grabbed the box and stuffed the now live and kicking horse inside as he walked past his dear friend, Teddy Roosevelt.
"What are you doing to that horse, Lawrence?"
"Everything came to life… and he got out of his box… and I'm tired of it! I should have gotten Jed the Lincoln Logs! It was only two dollars more!" he sputtered out as Teddy peered down at him through his wire-rimmed glasses from the saddle of his trusty companion, Texas.
"You have to treat horses with kindness and patience, and then they'll trust you," he said softly. "Hand him here."
Larry handed Teddy the box as he let out a long sigh. "Here now," Teddy whispered as he picked up the young colt. He softly petted the horse until it stopped fussing, then handed it back to Larry.
"See?" Teddy pointed out with a hearty chuckle, "He's so quiet he's almost sleeping!"
Why does he have to be the master of everything? Larry wondered to himself as he rushed away to the miniatures wing. He was Teddy Roosevelt, but didn't he have to have his failures too? He surely wasn't perfect, because no one ever is. But Theodore Roosevelt must have been pretty darn close.
Larry finally reached the miniatures exhibit, and he could see Jed's whole posse of cowboy friends, along with Octavius, the lonely Roman emperor. Octavius handed Jed his gift, a shiny new rifle.
"Didn't I give this one to you for your birthday two months ago?" Jed asked as he ran his hand along the long barrel.
"Oh, this same model?" Octavius asked shyly.
"No, this exact gun."
Octavius just bowed his head in embarrassment as Larry approached. Larry had just saved him from a very awkward social situation.
"Hey, happy birthday, Jed," Larry said gleefully to his cowboy friend.
"Hey, Gigantor," Jed replied as he set down the re-gifted gun.
Larry set the moving box down in the exhibit, and the horse burst out of the box like a raging rodeo bull.
"Whoa, there, Gigantor! Is this for me?" Jed yelled over the wild neighing and clopping of the horse's hooves.
"Yes, Jed. It's for you. Happy birthday!"
Jed stared at the mystical animal as it reared up in front of him. He calmly took off his cowboy hat revealing his shoulder-length blond hair and waved the hat in front of the horse with a stern look on his face. The horse immediately settled, and Larry looked on in amazement. Everyone knows how to care for horses except for me. What would I know about horses anyway? I grew up in Queens, he thought to himself.
Jed slowly approached the pony as he petted its nuzzle. He then walked to the side of the horse and noticed an odd marking.
"What is this, Gigantor?" he asked the dumbfounded Larry, "Did you steal another man's horse?"
"What? I mean, no, I didn't steal a horse!"
"So what is this brand? This is another man's brand! MATT… MATTEL. You stole this from some guy named Mattel!"
Larry knew that he couldn't tell Jed that the horse was a Barbie doll's accessory. Well, maybe he could. Barbie dolls weren't invented until the 1950s, anyway, weren't they? They were way before Jed's time, but then Larry decided that Jed wouldn't put up with a silly plastic doll's horse. Even though he was practically a Ken doll in a cowboy outfit.
"I bought it from the Mattel's Ranch," Larry quickly sputtered out the lie.
"I've never heard of a Mattel's Ranch. And I know all the ranches all around this country."
"You've never heard of Mattel's Ranch?" Larry tried to raise the mystique in his voice to make it sound believable, "You know, it's owned by Ken and Barbie Mattel?"
"I've still never heard of them. Can you bring them by so I can make sure it's okay with them?"
"Yeah, sure, Jed. I'll bring them by tomorrow," Larry answered as he rolled his eyes and turned away.