Barbie Doll Tragi-Comedy

   How did I get my start in such a unique field?  Well, I’ve always been interested in pieces of things and where they come from. At a very impressionable age, I devoured OWL magazines, a Canadian science magazine for kids. At the back of every issue was a fascinating guessing game. There were twenty some odd squares that had extreme close-ups of everyday items like the center of a daisy or the middle of the eye of a toad. I used to spend hours trying to figure out what the entire object was from that close up. In grade five, when our teacher Miss Mabbs asked me what I wanted to be, I said, “A Fragment Specialist.”

   Believe it or not, there are fragments of things everywhere. To be sure, it’s an interdisciplinary study and in university I had to take maths, sciences, languages and other humanity classes. I even had to take an accounting class to qualify for my Masters in Fragmentology.

   So for the past five months I’ve been writing fragments of bigger stories in order to hone my literary side. These stories have also been introduced by somebody different everyday in order to create a series of layers that are also somewhat fragmented. This is part of my doctorate in Fragmentology.

   A big portion of my doctorate is focusing on parts of mannequins that are sometimes found in surprising places. 

  Because fragments




The Heart is a Cross-Eyed Hunter


    I’m disappointed in you. So disappointed. When I first laid eyes on you in the display window of Sears I thought it was love at first sight. My heart told me so. My heart beat out a Morse code message of warning love, warning love, warning love. A distress signal that was answered by my feet that swiveled a 180 and I went back into the store to get as close to you as possible.

   You were so calm and collected, standing there in a 99-dollar pair of beige slacks and 69-dollar long sleeved shirt. I said hello and you just stared straight ahead to where I had been standing out on the sidewalk, as if you missed me, missed what I was in my innocence before I saw you. In the silence I came to my senses. You’ve always had a way with silence, using it like a weapon. At that moment I realized I needed some excuse to be waltzing into your life so I asked you where the perfume section was and then you played dumb. You flirted with me in the most innocent of ways. Oh how could I not fall head over heels ?! I asked you what time you got off work. Do you remember? By way of response you looked out the window as if you wanted freedom at that very second. Yes, we all dream of freedom from the daily grind. I told you all about my job and then I retreated to my desperate question of a date. I know I was forward but you drove me to it.  I threw out some suggestions and then when I asked, “Do you have any problems with Milestone’s ?” you had no complaints. 

   That evening I arrived at Milestone’s dressed to kill, to slaughter, to maim. To chop your heart up into minced meat so that it could be baked in the hearth of my heart and turned into something nourishing and delicious to feed a family of three or four. (I’ve always wanted twins.) Oh, my head still rings with those wedding bells that I heard and I know I’m getting carried away again. Thinking of you makes my heart go aflutter and my imagination takes off like an intoxicated butterfly bumping from image to image in an art gallery. But that’s what I honestly feel. 

   Of course I don’t need to remind you that you never showed up and as the minutes turned to hours I hated you but I still loved you. You know how to play a woman, fill her full of mixed emotions so that she’ll be yours forever. I left Milestone’s alone (although it could have gone otherwise with all the interest my dress was stirring up on the part of the male servers) From Milestone’s I stormed all the way to Sears and there you were still standing as straight as ever in the display window. Working overtime. I can’t believe what a workaholic you are. Your tragic flaw. Your fortress behind which all your emotions are locked away like treasure.

   But I’m so disappointed. I’m so disappointed that you won’t share any of that with me. And I pass you everyday when I get off the bus and my heart breaks again and again at the thought of what could have been.

   The life we could have had.






   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.