He became aware as the pencil slipped across the paper. First he had just eyes, then his face grew complete while the artist sketched the rest of his head. He fretted about his oversized nose while the lines became more
complete. Once his hands were finished, he reached up and honked his snout, hoping the artist would come back and erase the lines and redraw it smaller, more suitable.
When his feet were there, he stretched his legs, one at a time, wiggling his toes inside his soft leather shoes. He stepped away from the flat side of the page, the two dimensional side where the artist worked, to the world behind it. On his side, everything was round and full and rich. Six other men were testing their own limbs. Some of them were already in color, while others were at varying stages of development. Each man had a beard except one who looked much younger than the rest.
“Hello,” he said to the man closest to him whose nose was even bigger, and it was dark pink like he’d been drinking for a few decades already.
“Hello to you too,” a character with glasses returned in a friendly voice. “Welcome. Don’t mind him. He’s always in a foul mood.”
“I just arrived. Have you been here long?”
“Not really. We’re just all getting ready. The artist is giving us names. So far, I know I’m Doc. Go take a look and see if you have yours yet.”
He obeyed Doc’s direction and went back to the edge of the paper and pressed himself back into the two dimensions of the page. He’d been inked into color. The tans and browns and yellows seeped into his form. And a name—Jumpy—was written beneath him. But then the pencil swept down and the eraser rubbed it away. A huge hand whisked off the rubber bits and wrote a new name. Sneezy. Immediately, that giant bulb of a nose began to tickle. The itch grew until he let off a round of three sneezes.
Sneezy pulled back out of the plane of the paper and turned to find Doc there waiting for him. “Well?” he said. “Do tell. Who are you?”
With one more sneeze he said, “Sneezy, apparently.”
“Well, come on and meet the rest of us, since we’re going to be working together for a while.”
Doc introduced Sneezy to the ill-tempered man first, Grumpy, who harrumphed at Sneezy and turned away to sulk. Then came a smiley fellow, Happy, and Sleepy, who yawned even as he shook Sneezy’s hand. Up stepped Bashful next, and then the seventh. But Doc couldn’t remember his name.
“I don’t have one yet,” he said perplexed.
“Well don’t just stand here, silly. Go take a look.”
“What’s the plan?” Sneezy asked.
Doc’s eyes glimmered as he clapped his hands together. “We’re about to get our assignments. I’m hoping to be a dancer! The dancing in Fantasia is fabulous!”
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