Monday, October 29, 2012

Night of the Living Dummy

When I was seventeen I got my first May Wilson. Actually she became May Wilson three years later, but at the time was just May. She was what they call a Juro Doll, an old fashioned kind of figure. She was originally my sister’s Jerry Mahoney but had gotten a sex change. As a matter of fact that was once one of our jokes, LOL.

Anyway, my Aunt Helen, my grandfather’s last remaining sister designed her. She is a talented artist and lives in Cecil, PA. Active in her local church and volunteering at the local nursing home, she took to this project with all the gusto in the world. When May was done well, she looked lifelike that was for sure. I brought her with me everywhere the whole day, from the supermarket that I worked at to the gas station and everyone got a kick out of her. Then I tucked her safely in her box before bed.

The next day was a busy day. I worked and then had play practice. In between I was making calls to colleges. Would it be Sarah Lawrence who required me to write a million essays and admission was the intangible? Would it be Emerson in Boston, alma mater of Jay Leno? Maybe it would be Point Park, a local gem but a goodie? Or would it be Smith and Holyoke, where my Libra self could explore all of her options keeping every window and drape open? Maybe it would be Brown where I could join my brother. While that was a reach I did like the campus. Perhaps NYU but my father was not a fan of me going to New York. Ironically, he would later give in but it was not my first pick at the time.

When I got home I was tired. I had wanted to get May out just to practice in front of the mirror. I looked in her box. She was gone! I figured maybe I had placed her somewhere by accident. Or maybe my siblings had stolen her and did something cruel. While my siblings were not in the practice of being cruel, they are still siblings and can be mean natured.

I asked my brother, “Did you take May?”

“No. Why would I touch a stupid doll? And besides I was talking on the phone to my girlfriend.” Wendell replied.

I was like, okay.

Then I asked Skipper. She denied all knowledge saying, “I was taking out the garbage because Wendell was talking to his girlfriend.”

I was like, okay.

Then I asked my mom if she had seen May. “No sweetheart, she should be in her box.” My mom replied.

“I think you have been spending too much time with the doll and need to watch TV.” My dad suggested.

I was not giving up though. The only place I had not checked was my room. Walking up the stairs I approached my room. Usually I leave the light off and those that know me best can attest to this, but for some reason the light was on. This was weird. “Skipper, you better not be borrowing my clothes without the intent of ever bringing them back or I will beat your ass.” I said. Yes, my dear sweet sister, who always took my sweaters. To her borrowing meant that they finally belonged to her. My mother was periodically playing court when it came to these matters.

I opened the door and my jaw dropped open. May was sitting at my desk, propped up with a pencil in her hand. Her life like eyes turned to look at me. How had she gotten out of the box? My brother had been his boneheaded self, playing video games and cooing with his girlfriend annoying as ever, so much so no one else would have even entered his train of thought? My sister was being gargoyle taking up the trash and then the good child watching Big Battles with my father. As for my mother, she was putting the food away in order to make her famous leftover casserole.

This was like the Twilight Zone episode. I gingerly approached this doll who had somehow gotten out of the box. While her right hand had a pencil, there was a knife taped to her left hand. It was a small kitchen knife. My heart began to pound. May looked so lifelike and so much like me. She had an evil gleam of vengeance in her eyes, almost as if she was angry that all she could ever possess was a doll’s body. She wanted me to know as she held that knife that she had human wants, needs, and desires. Looking in front of her I saw that she had opened my SAT Prep Book to the math section and some of the questions were being answered. There were no evil pentagrams or anything like I would expect. I began to suspect a human who was good at math such as my sister Skipper had something to do with this. Still, Skipper had been taking up the trash when May disappeared. I heard horror stories of ventriloquists becoming obsessed with their puppets. I was a good girl from Pittsburgh. May was my evil twin. Perhaps I was starting to snap. I was fighting the urge not to scream when it finally just happened.

“MOM!!!!” I yelled. I was frightened and wanted the only person in this world I could depend on.

“What’s going on?” My mom demanded as she ran up the stairs.

“May has a knife!!!!” I yelped.

My mom tried to keep her cool. “How did she climb out of the box? I am her puppet master?!?!” I demanded. “My doll has come alive.”

Just then I could hear muffled laughter by the door. “Man, Monique, she totally fell for it.” My brother told his then girlfriend on the phone.

“The knife was a nice touch.” Skipper said to Wendell. “Although we could have used better tape. It was sort of coming off.”

“I think we should have used one more book to prop her up though. It would have been more believable and would have messed more with April’s fragile psyche. She was starting to treat that doll like too much of a real person.” The third voice was a shocker. It was my father!!!!! Those two knuckleheads I could understand. But my own father! This was the ultimate in betrayal.

I angrily opened the door. “Hi April.” Skipper said.

“Did you know anything about this?” I asked my mother.

“No.” She said. “I didn’t. And it wasn’t nice.” My mom said trying to be sympathetic but then she started to giggle joining the evil empire.

“You told me you were taking out the trash!” I said pointing to Skipper.

Skipper laughed. “Oh that was a lie.” She explained.

“Hey, and I was talking to Monique, she was helping. So I almost told the truth.” My brother said apologetically.

Then I looked at my father. “I expected better from you.” I said feeling as if the Bluth family had suddenly replaced my own.

“Oh I know. But this whole thing was my idea. I just thought it would be sort of funny. You were taking that doll so seriously. I figured we would prop her up, put a pencil in her hand and turn the page in your SAT Prep book to the math section, the one you should be working on more to get your score up. I had your sister answer the questions so they would be correct. Technically the doll was doing alright until you interrupted her studying. I just thought it would be a funny touch.” I shot my father an evil look and he shrugged.

“Knife was my idea.” Skipper said.

“Yeah but you picked the worst tape ever, Mr. Shrimpy.” Wendell told her.

I looked at my family, flipped them the bird and screamed, “I HATE YOU ALL!!!!!” Then I promptly closed my bedroom door and my mother, trying to play peace keeper told me it was just a joke. I didn’t want to hear it. I told her once I got to college I was never speaking to my family again and I was telling everyone that I had grown up on the streets as part of a rough and tumble gang after being sold. I know, sounds like Oliver Twist.

Anyway, a few minutes later my mother mentioned Blood Sport was on TV and my family wanted me to join them. All was forgiven as I went downstairs to see Van Damme whoop some ass.

Love, April

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl


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