Paper Doll Delusions
Wendy received the following prompts this week:
Amy- …with a cherry on top
Cameron- Paper dolls in pop culture
Erika- Star light, Star bright
Jen- See through shower curtains
Hmm, what interesting topics to choose from. I really had a tough time making a decision so I did them all. Enjoy!!
I winced as my keys jingled loudly in the lock of my apartment door. It was past midnight and I had a rough day at work. The last thing I wanted was to wake Old Lady Schmutzen from her much needed beauty sleep. On a good day, I was lucky to tiptoe past her apartment with nothing more than a grunt from her and a squawk from her balding parrot whom I lovingly nicknamed Lunch. Fortunately, it was late enough for even the nosiest neighbor to be roaming the hallways.
Quietly, the door clicked shut as I let myself into my single bedroom apartment. I placed my purse and my current paper doll designs on the table before plopping onto the leather sofa and kicking my off my heels. My feet ached from a week long of twelve hour days at the office. Had I known two years ago that my talent for designing paper dolls would become the driving force in creating one of the largest multimillion dollar New York companies, I would’ve skipped college altogether.
The New York night sky, washed in a golden glow from the bright city lights, sat framed within the living room window like a photograph. A single star, the only one that could be seen in light polluted sky, twinkled in the right hand corner. Only certain times of the year would the star appear into my view from the couch and I made a point to make a wish when I saw it. Tonight, though, I was much too tired to think of anything I wanted.
“Maybe tomorrow, little star,” I said aloud. A dark and ominous cloud rolled across the sky, blanketing the star and obscuring it from my view. Strange, I thought to myself, I don’t recall the weather man reporting any storms in the area.
My stomach gave an audible growl reminding me that my last meal was glazed doughnut brought in by a staff member in the morning. I stood and went to the refrigerator. An awful smell assaulted my senses when I opened the door. It had been days since I last ate at home. Inside a half eaten tuna sandwich sat on paper plate. When had I made it? Last weekend I thought, but I couldn’t be sure. I dumped the smelly dish into the trash.
All that was left was a bottle of chardonnay with a maybe a half glass of wine in it, a dried up carrot, the heal of a bread loaf, and an almost empty jar of peanut butter. I grabbed the bottle of wine and the peanut butter.
“Dinner of champions,” I said and then checked my watch. 1:05am. “Make that breakfast of champions.”
Just as I was about to shut the refrigerator, I noticed a jar of maraschino cherries that had been hidden behind the peanut butter. I set the bottle of wine on the counter and pulled out the cherries. I couldn’t remember when I had bought them. The expiration date said 12/15/12. Six months old.
I considered tossing the jar, but the thought of having only peanut butter for dinner, or breakfast, had me reconsidering. The cherries looked fine and they were probably preserved in some chemically laced preservative. In fact, I considered, they would probably outlive the Twinkie on the bridge myth.
Armed with the cherries, the peanut butter, and my wine, I sat back down on the couch not bothering to get a glass or utensils. I twisted the caps off both the jar of cherries and peanut butter. Grabbing one of the round, red fruit between my fingers, I dipped it into the creamy peanut butter and then popped it into my mouth.
“Yum! Peanut butter with a cherry on top!”
I washed it down with a large swig from the wine bottle. In the back of my head, I could hear my mother’s voice reprimanding me. “What are you, a wild animal? Get a glass for goodness sakes,” her voice said.
“A toast to you, Mom. Cheers!” I lifted the bottle in the air before taking a second swig, finishing off the wine, and closed my eyes.
A thrumming sound came from the bathroom followed by someone humming. I bolted from the couch and ran to the bathroom with the wine bottle in hand ready to swing it at whomever had broken into my apartment.
The bathroom door was slightly ajar and steam whirled through the crack. I slowly nudged the door open with my foot. The shower was running. Behind the frosted see-through shower curtain, a man was scrubbing his armpits singing Boyfriend by Justin Bieber. I stepped into the bathroom careful not to make a noise. A second step elicited a loud crinkle beneath my foot. I looked down to find a large piece of paper with a leather jacket, white tshirt, and black pants drawn on it. Next to it was a dark, paper sunglasses. My head spun as I picked up the sunglasses recognizing them as one of my paper doll designs, but life-sized.
The shower turned off and the curtain swung open. Standing naked with water dripping from his brown, pencil-drawn hair was Justin Bieber…the two-dimensional paper doll, but as tall as I was. He squealed, covered his incompletely drawn male anatomy, and turned away from me. With his paper-white backside turned to me, he tilted his head in my direction, his paper neck crinkling as he did so.
“Hey! Ever heard of knocking?” he asked.
Shocked, all I could do was stare at my sopping wet creation. Wait, was this my design? I wasn’t sure.
“I’d tell you to take a picture because it’d last longer, but if you Googled me you could have yourself several thousand images of me,” Justin, or rather the paper doll said.
“But,…how?” The words that came from my mouth made as little sense as the situation did.
“Look, could you hand me a towel at least?” Paper Justin asked.
I pulled a towel from the beneath the bathroom sink and handed it to him. Still with his backside turned to me, he dried off his front and handed the towel back to me.
“Now if you don’t mind turning around I’d appreciate it. I might be an adult at nineteen, but I don’t need some cougar lady staring at my naked body.”
Dutifully, I turned around. Behind me I heard him pick up his paper outfit.
“This can’t be real,” I said.
Paper Justin walked passed me. “Oh no? Then how do you explain me being here?”
I watched him walk into the kitchen, the tabs of his outfit folded over his shoulders and around his legs. I followed him. He pulled open the refrigerator door.
“Got anything to eat?”
“Just these cherries,” I said, handing him the jar.
Paper Justin inspected the label on the glass. “They’re old! You really shouldn’t eat these. They’re likely to make you hallucinate or something.”
His smile wrinkled as he laughed. “Nah, I’m just messing with you. But you really ought to buy some better food that that.” Justin put his paper sunglasses on, adjusting the tabs around his head. He strolled to the door and opened it.
“Where are you going?”
“Got a concert later. Thanks for the shower.”
“Sure.” My response came sounding more like a question than a statement.
Just as he was about to shut the door, he stuck his head back in. “Any chance I could ask you a favor?”
“I guess so. What is it?”
“Could your next design be Selena Gomez? She’s hot!”
I nodded, still without words.
“Oh, and one more thing,” paper Justin said. He stepped in and looked around to be sure no one else could hear him. “Any chance you could,…umm,…finish drawing this part?” His words came out in a whisper as his cheeks blushed. His paper hand pointed down toward his crotch. “You see, Taylor Swift is making fun of me for not being anatomically correct and she’s started writing a song. She’s calling it ‘Justin is Never Ever Getting Back his…’ Well, I let you fill in the blanks.”
Blink, blink, blink. That’s all I could do, too stunned to even respond.
“Thanks,” Paper Justin said shyly before walking out the door.
Left alone in my apartment, I stared at the door wondering if everything I had just witnessed was real or my imagination. Taking Paper Justin’s advice, I dumped the jar of cherries into the trash. I sat down, picked up my paper doll portfolio and thumbed through it until I found the Justin Bieber doll. With a pencil in hand, I drew in Justin’s manhood. As I inspected this addition to the doll, I could have sworn he winked at me.
Wendy is a former Disney Character, wife to a hunky Matterhorn Climber, mom to three amazing little boys, and the author of INDIGO. She is currently seeking representation for her dystopic YA novel. You can find out more about INDIGO at her blog http://wendyspinale.blogspot.com/.