|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)|
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LARRY HOFFBURG thought that someone had simply pulled a dirty trick on him. Not very far from the window to the south in his office giving a magnificent view of the surrounding park someone had left a part of a Leila doll--a little left hand of the exquisite Leila doll, which his factory produced. Larry had good reason to go off the deep end: the tiny left hand of a doll appeared in his office on three consecutive days: always at the same place, in front of the gray screen of the computer. It looked as though the plastic thing was thrown casually there, but no, now that he came to think about it he concluded that the posture of the hand was always the same. The little plastic fingers pointed directly at the body of the Chief Executive Officer and founder of the company that produced the most popular toys in half of the world.
"Who the hell brought that junk here?" Larry muttered under his breath. "Never mind. This time Adrienne Tott will get it in the neck!"
Adrienne Tott was Larry's secretary, a tall breathtaking natural blonde whom the boss trusted completely. She managed the whole administrative team; her vigilant eyes were forever on the alert and neither a living soul nor an inanimate object could wriggle its way to the company without being weighed, analyzed, torn to pieces, and assessed by her. Adrienne had been working for Toys International for eight years; legends and tales were invented in her honor and she well deserved that--she started as an ordinary typist, unexpectedly moved up the hierarchy reaching unbelievable administrative heights. With time, she became Larry's personal advisor, Larry's secretary and consultantselecting the high ranking staff; personnel policy director, managing director etc. She was, in short, a person without whose approval the sun simply couldn't rise and shine in the cloudless sky above the plants of Toys International. However, the left hand of the cute Leila doll appeared three times in the Chief Executive Officer's office.
In the beginning, Larry Hoffburg had not paid any attention to it. On the first day, he simply pulled a wry face and chucked it in the waste paper basket. He couldn't be sure when exactly he'd felt the pain in his left arm. Did it happen while he was having lunch with a client when Adrienne came and informed him of an urgent message about the shipments of toy guns to Europe? Or perhaps the painful tightening of the muscles of his wrist started in the late afternoon while he was enjoying a well-earned rest in the easy chair in his study at home. He could not remember. In fact, the pain went almost immediately and Larry instantly forgot all about it. But when on the following day he again caught a glimpse of the plastic hand of the doll at the same place in front of the gray computer screen--the memory of pain had seized him and together with the memory the annoying spasm in his left wrist made him shudder. Larry's left arm went numb and he could not move it for about a minute. That, however, was not the most unpleasant thing about it. Soon the pain in the wrist turned into an enormous wave that swept over his body leaving him immobile and stiff like a corpse. Then most unexpectedly the numbness was gone simply vanishing without a trace as if it had never been there but the plastic hand of the doll remained pointing its cute pink fingers at the Chief Executive Officer.
"What was that, for God's sake?" Larry moaned in amazement grabbing the cold piece of plastic. His eyes studied carefully the small piece of the toy. There was noting peculiar about it; at first sight everything appeared to be exactly like all the billions of similar pieces that Hoffburg's plants spewed out every single day. Larry, however, had never trusted the impressions he got at first sight.
He didn't take seriously love at first sight either. Larry was quite skeptical even about his relationship with Adrienne; a series of legends had it had that it had originated "at first sight". Before he invited Adrienne to his bedroom he had hired a detective agency of repute that worked whole-heartedly for a year and a half trying to establish what sort of a rum bird that beautiful blonde Adrienne Tott was. He knew not only the names of the people who had adopted her and the names of their fathers and grandfathers; he had flown hundreds of times over their small estate not far from the Rhine where her adoptive mother still lived. Larry had at hand the results of Adrienne's extensive medical examinations: her blood, skin, urine, fitness, personality and psychological test were carefully studied by experts; he had collected reliable data about all organs of her body and had consulted doctors of medicines on their proper functions. He had detailed information about the price of the medicines that the attractive lady had used in the past to treat some minor indisposition like the flu or ordinary colds. He had familiarized himself painstakingly with her relationships with other men before he met her.
Of course, Adrienne enjoyed great attention on the part of male individuals and that was not hard to explain. It was enough to have a look at her photograph for only a second. Nevertheless, the guys who had worked on the fair lady's CV with respect to her love conquests had not discovered a single long-standing relationship; the most common were the whirlwind romances that lasted no more than three or four months. It was invariably Adrienne who broke with the man, but she had lived with Larry for eight years and so far had shown no signs of intending to leave him.
It was not an accident that Larry, pressing the pink plastic hand of the doll with his fingers, devoted ten minutes of his busy working schedule to ruminations about his attractive secretary. Adrienne Tott was the only person in Toys International who had access to that office with the gray easy chairs, the computer and the two prickly cacti--the only representatives of animate nature, which Larry had admitted into the immediate vicinity of his body. He could not stand animals and plants; they most often carried microbes, viruses and harmful strains of bacteria, but the cactuses They were the only favorites of Larry's, his life turned into a feast whenever tiny rosy-violet blossoms came out on their bumpy stooping backs. Then he was in the best of moods. Now the cactuses had again prepared for their rosy fiesta, but only a foot or two behind them the plastic hand of the Leila doll lay.
The hand of the doll, which he found for the second time on his desk, was subjected to most thorough tests in the laboratories of Toys International plants. Larry himself had watched each separate process of the overall analysis and had studied carefully the results. He held a Ph.D. degree in inorganic synthesis but the lengthy chemical formulas that appeared on the monitors did not arouse the slightest suspicion that something was wrong. The plastic hand he had found in his office was nothing more than a plastic hand--a piece of one of Leila dolls with funny wide open eyes that made little girls shed passionate tears making their mothers buy them from the local department stores. In fact, Leila dolls turned out to be very lucrative invention for Toys International.
The third time he found a Leila doll hand, the pain exploded in Larry Hoffburg's wrist without its preliminary spasm. It was so excruciating that at the very first instant he lost his balance. Then he attempted to walk and to his amazement made it--he moved the small of his back slightly, then bent forward to the left, jerked his head in the direction of the door, and stretched out his right hand. Except for his left hand, his body obeyed him. Even his left shoulder carried out his commands. He tried to bend his left arm and was again successful. The pain had dug an agonizing maze in his wrist, in the palm and fingers--exactly the items of the pink plastic piece, which lay in front of his computer.