Plugs

Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

The Plot Against Barbie’s Life

by Luc Reid

Barbie knew she had enemies–that creepy clown doll, the sadly plain-looking ballerina, even (though this was more of a bitchy rivalry) Skipper. But it wasn’t until she stepped on the brakes of her hot pink sports car and got nothing but a dull clunking noise that she realized someone was trying to kill her.

She wasn’t helpless. Barbie had learned something from dating more than a few action figures in her time–G.I. Joe still sent her whiny Facebook messages. She dove out of the car, rolled, and came up in a crouch. The hot pink sports car smashed into a bedpost at a speed that would have pretzeled her. The room was silent. After a few watchful moments, she crept away.

Three days and two spa treatments later, Barbie had nearly forgotten the incident. She was having tea with Malibu Ken, who was as gay as a songbird.

“Did I tell you her brother has a new set of X-Men figures?” Ken said. “Hello, Wolverine!” There were more emotionally developed gay dolls in the room, but Ken was the most fun and the best dressed of them.

Barbie shook her head and lifted her teacup to her little plastic lips. Suddenly Ken squealed, lurched across the table, and swatted the cup away.

“I’m so sorry,” Ken said. “I forgot and put sugar in it! You could’ve gotten fat!”

The teacup’s contents spattered over a pop diva dress Barbie had been wearing earlier. The tea ate through it with a hissing noise.

“Oh. My. God,” Barbie said.

“Oh Barbie!” Ken said in despair. “And that dress was fabulous on you!”

Barbie wasn’t listening: she’d caught a glimpse of blonde hair disappearing under the bed sham and she dove after it. In the darkness under the bed, she grabbed hold of someone or something.

It was a rough fight: there was scratching, biting, and shrieking. Hair was mussed. Ken ran away, screaming for the weeble policeman. When they finally rolled into the light, covered with dust bunnies, Barbie was able to identify her attacker.

It was another Barbie–but from a fashion nightmare. Her hair had been “styled” into a page boy-meets-weed-whacker cut, and her face was grotesquely made up with magic marker. She looked old–her plastic scratched, her breasts distinctly 1990’s-shaped. Clearly this was Barbie’s predecessor, who had been handed down to the little sister. Barbie thought she would rather die than look like that.

Fashion nightmare Barbie just looked at her, tears streaming down her disfigured face, and nodded.

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