Call me Ishy. I used to be a dealer. From the summer of ‘85 to the cold winter of ‘98 I plied my miserable trade mostly in Seattle but really I crisscrossed America like a ping-pong on fast forward, a ping-pong stuffed with the Devil’s dandruff. I raced off to wherever there was demand. You could say that I went everywhere.

     That was a long time ago and you may be wondering why I would open old wounds here for all the world to gawk at. Why not just leave everything buried in the grave-yard of the past ? I wish I could but I wake up some nights in the black of my room and there’s nobody to talk to but those images on the insides of my eyelids are searing like red neon paint that’s been splattered against a wall and I can’t scrape it off. I’ve got to thinking that putting down some of my stories here might help me sleep better. The world’s changed since ’98 and maybe people are ready to hear my side of things. I wasn’t the creep a lot of people made me out to be. Creepiness is also in the eye of the beholder.

    I have stories to tell because for those thirteen years that I was dealing I learnt to keep my mouth shut. That was the major part of every deal.  Keep your mouth shut.  I moved a lot of product. I was a dealer but not your typical dealer. I was a kind of drug dealer but in my case the drug was a plastic Barbie doll.

    There, I said it.

    My name is Ishy and I used to deal in Barbie dolls.

    Yeah I bought and then sold vintage Barbies, novelty Barbies, screwed up Barbies – the Orio Barbie whose moniker pissed off all those Afro-Americans – and even a Hasidic Jew Barbie.  You name it, I could get my hands on her. The worst part of the job was dealing with these sweaty palmed guys who didn’t want their wives or business associates to know about their little collection on the side. They made me into the creep that I became. They were like mirrors. I cocked a suspicious eye-brow and they cocked a suspicious eyebrow. I looked back and forth and they looked back and forth. I reached out with a Barbie doll in one hand and they reached out with the same hand. And then the mirror would shatter with some kind of hitch.

     “Her hair’s like straw,” the buyer said. We were in a parking lot in Chicago and it was cold. It was February. It was a shitty day.

     “Well it’s a ‘68 Miss Astronaut Barbie what do you expect ? Her first owner was probably testing her out in zero gravity under water.” I sometimes tried to make small talk with my clients but I might as well have been conversing with a chair. Their fears were so wrapped up in expectations and money. All they needed was a little pull string at their back: I’m a weirdo who’s blowing money on a secret collection of Barbies.

      I hated them. I hated myself.

     “I’m not paying three thousand for that,” he said and there was a ripple of fear that seemed to go through his business suit. It was like he was scaring himself. What if his bluff blew up in his face ?

    I put on her cute little helmet and held her up in front of him. That was usually all it took. Like I was a cop shining a light into a drunk driver’s face and he would have to obey.

    He shook his flabby jowls back and forth.

    I should have let him have the stupid doll. He sure let me have it. Suddenly he grabbed Miss Astronaut Barbie and started pelting me on the head with her surprisingly hard helmet. My arms went up for defense but it was too late. I gained consciousness an hour later when a security guard rammed his steal toe boot into my side.

    And that story is tame compared to the others. The harsh treatment that I received at other times. Yeah, being sodomized by Doctor Barbie is no laughing matter.

    But those stories will have to wait for another day.

    It’s time to try to go to sleep.

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