Kewpie Doll

Lindsay Diehl

Runner-up in the 2nd Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest.

The other day, you and I and my sister and her boyfriend went bowling. It was a bad idea. It was my idea. But when I thought of it, the idea made me feel warm inside, like a toasted bun or a hot cup of coffee or a black-and-white movie.

One thing I should mention is that I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I’ve been sleeping way too long. And even when I’m awake, I must confess, I’m dreaming.

We drove to the alley through fog; we could hardly see a thing. “I honked at you,” my sister says, smiling. “Were you guys fighting?”

Do you remember those black-and-white movies? Like the old Dracula. Now that was suspense—they don’t make them like that any more. My father used to take my mother to the fair, before they were married. He’d try and win her the biggest doll there. It’s hard to imagine them that way; they were smiling all the time.

Those pictures are in black in white.

And the coffin at the bottom of the stairs—do you remember? How scared we were as he walked down the stairs with a stake in his hands. We screamed when he opened the coffin, so slowly—but we knew what was inside.

When we got to the alley we ordered nachos, chicken wings, and drank a couple of beers. “Your boyfriend’s so cute,” my sister says, smiling again. “Why do you guys have to fight?” Do you remember when we were young, and we were scared? I guess it’s really funny to think about it now.

The alley was crowded and we bowled a couple of games. I know what you’re thinking: I didn’t laugh as much as I should have. But I was feeling tired. I’ve been feeling tired a lot lately. And my sister and her boyfriend were winning. They were saying “I love you” to a bunch of different people. Some of them they didn’t even know.

But isn’t it just like that, in black-and-white movies? You know exactly what’s going to happen, but you’re scared all the time. Her dogs bark but he thinks they’re cute. And it won’t be an issue by the time they get married—they’ll have a nice big back yard.

You see, there’s no room for colour in a story like this. I’m like an old plastic doll—her arms have fallen off and she has dirt rubbed into her cheeks. “Why do you always have to be so unhappy,” you say, “when there’s so much to look forward to?” We were entering the last set.

Do you remember when pop came in glass bottles and only cost a nickel?

I don’t want to fight all the time, but that’s why things make sense in black-and- white movies—because they’re really old. And hey, we’ve seen them before.


Lindsay Diehl

Lindsay Diehl's work has been published in Portfolio Milieu 2004 and in Fireweed, Rant and Capilano Review and her story "Rarotonga" appeared in Geist 61. She lives in Vancouver.


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