Dolly

The yard sale didn’t look very promising, but I stopped anyway.  You never know.  The woman running the sale was very friendly and I felt a little bad for not buying anything, but if nothing jumps out at you, what can you do?  I poked around a bit and casually drifted to the edge of the yard so I could make an unobtrusive escape.  Then the woman’s husband came out of the garage, a large cardboard carton shifting perilously in his arms.

“Where do you want them?” he asked his wife.

“Oh, put them in the bookcase,” she said, motioning him to a nondescript cabinet near the street.

The man pulled an object wrapped in tissue paper from the box.  I noticed that the box was full of mystery objects, all identlcally wrapped in tissue paper.  Eh, vases or knickknacks, I thought.  Not what I’m looking for.  But any seasoned yard saler knows you never leave while mystery items are being unpacked, so I hovered nearby.

To my surprise, a large plastic doll head appeared as the tissue paper fell away.  The man dipped into the carton and unwrapped another, then another.  The bookcase quickly filled with heads.  I didn’t want a big plastic doll head but this was interesting nonetheless.  Better than vases or knickknacks, for sure.

And then, there she was.  I could tell right away that she was different.  And special.  For starters, she was winking at me.  After a few seconds I realized it wasn’t a voluntary wink, but a jammed mechanism inside her head that caused her left eye to stick shut.  No matter, she was still a beauty.

Her one good eye stared at me with the confidence of one who knows where she’s going in this world.  Her pale pink skin was crackled and pitted; her light brown hair was spotted with grime.  Her red lips were chipped away as though she’d spent far too much time working at a carnival kissing booth.  She knew where she was going, all right, and I knew, too:  she was going home with me.

“How much?”  I asked, dreading the answer.  She was clearly much older than the other heads and therefore, I assumed, more valuable.  I estimated her birthdate at around 1920.  I probably can’t afford you, I silently told her.

“Oh, that old one?  Five dollars,” the woman said.

My hand was in my pocket before I realized what I was doing.  Only five dollars!  For the prettiest girl in the bookcase!  As I paid the woman, she called to her husband.

“Look at how she’s cradling that doll in her hands!”  She smiled at me and looked down at Dolly.  ” Oh, I’m so glad she’s going to a good home.  I know you’ll take care of her.”

As I walked home with my prize, I stuck my index finger up her hollow neck and wiggled the metal weights inside her head until her left eye popped open.  She gazed serenely at me, secure in the knowledge that we were meant to be together.

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