Dolls. God, I hate dolls. Why do people give kids dolls? Kids, shit! Why do people give girls dolls? Ever see a boy playin with a fuckin doll? Those freckled-faced boys ya see on Post Toastie boxes don’t play with dolls. They play with airplanes that shoot half way across the livin room when ya pull em with a rubber band or they play with those painted frogs that click ya get outta Cracker Jacks.
God, I hate people who give me dolls. They give me dolls because they think I oughta play with em. And that’s it, isn’t it? They think I should play with dolls. They know I don’t want dolls, but they’re afraid of what that might mean. That something’s wrong with me.
This one story I’ve heard over and over till I could puke: about when I was little, this one Christmas, how my mom and dad bought me this doll, the one I’ve wanted to strangle the most, and a crib with a little closet full of hand-stitched clothes that my Aunt Sally made just for it, and me, too.
My momma says to anybody listenin, “Her Auntie Sally spent months, ’positively months,’ sewin for her and her doll.” She’s talking about the matchin outfits. What the fuck do you think was behind all that? I’m sure I don’t have to tell ya.
Well, as this story goes, they put this fuckin doll and her crib in the dinin room where it was dark as molasses so that when we all came home from church Christmas Eve, I wouldn’t see it right off. This way, they got to switch on the light and yell “surprise,” and ever time they tell the story, they tell how thrilled they were when I ran to the crib just “squealing with delight!” Well, my dad had made a fatal mistake. On his way home from work Christmas Eve he’d seen this football in the winda of a hardware store, went in and bought it, and threw it in the crib as a joke. It was the football I was so thrilled to get. He tells this laughing to my uncles and my mother like it just seems impossible. But the part of the story they never tell is how all day that Christmas, they followed me around pointing out how cute “the baby” was in her “little crib” and didn’t I just want to hold her or rock her or somethin? I wanted to say “Hell, no! Let her cry her eyes out,” or “Why don’t you give her a bottle if it bothers you so much?” They were upset with me, I could see that plain enough, but what was I supposed to do? They wanted me to lie to them?
What if I’d said what I really wanted was a Little Red Ryder B-B Gun, a year’s subscription to Captain Marvel comics and some of those thick books like the boys had in the neighborhood that they bought with their allowances, The Black Stallion or The Adventures of Tarzan? What then? I’da never heard the end of it! It’s been bad enough as is. For years they’ve been handin me this doll’s hairbrush and sayin stuff like “All you little girls are lookin pretty messy, ya know. Don’tcha think ya oughta fix their hair up? Company’s comin.” Then they always go over a little ways and stand and watch to see what I’m gonna do about it.
And of course, the fuckin dumb broads these dolls are, they keep right on being themselves, with their glassy-eyed stares and eye lids that click up and down and hair that feels real but looks like shit because I never brush it.
So then, finally when I’d had enough, I didn’t do like I usually did. You know, gather em up and take em back in the house past my Momma’s smiling face and throw them in a wad next to my bed when she wasn’t lookin. This time, I grabbed Beverly by the back of the neck and told her, “it’s over, our little momma-daughter thing” and I pulled her head right outta her shoulders and jumped all over her pretty dress. And then I mangled Shirley and Doreen along with her.
Now, for the past two Saturdays, I get bathed and dressed like I’m goin to church but they take me instead to the doctor’s office in the Medical Building in Oklahoma City where I look at dozens of strange pictures and tell them what I think they mean and finish hundreds of sentences this stupid doctor starts and stops. Then he puts a bunch of boy and girl dolls in front of me and has me play house and family and doctor while he asked me questions about what I’m doing with them. Sometimes I just stare at him for most the time and he sighs and says, “You don’t want to play today?” When I shake my head and stare some more, he finally says, “Well, maybe next time.”
Now Momma walks around at home between visits, dabbing at her eyes with her hankie. I keep telling them all over and over that all I wanna do is play football and read some comics, but nobody’s listenin. All they wanna know is stuff like whether my babies cried or not when I killed em.