Hello Dolly

The Compass - - Editorial - Harold Wal­ters Harold Wal­ters lives Hap­pily Ever Af­ter in Dunville, in the only Cana­dian province with its own time zone. How cool is that? Reach him at gh­wal­ters663@gmail.com.

Queer things give peo­ple the creeps, eh b’ys?

For in­stance, chew­ing gum creeps out Dear­est Duck. That’s chew­ing-gum as a noun, not as a verb.

Dear­est Duck never chews gum. She can’t bear the sight of peo­ple chew­ing gum — nei­ther the chewer sub­tly mo­lar-gnaw­ing in the cheek, nor the chom­per with mouth-wide-open.

She ab­hors the vi­su­als and smells as­so­ci­ated with a cud of gum be­ing rolled around one’s chops, or a tongue reeved out stretch­ing gum to the break­ing point, or fin­ger and thumb streel­ing gum from gob to … well, to as far as it will string.

Dear­est Duck — god love ‘er del­i­cate stom­ach — urges and chokes down bile if she’s forced to walk across a park­ing lot that is es­sen­tially an as­phalt field sown with gum-dol­lars a heed­less pub­lic has squat into the pave­ment.

“Does Your Chew­ing Gum Lose Its Fla­vor on the Bed­post Overnight?” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6bFTVi0hHs)

is not — never was — Dear­est Duck’s favourite ditty.

“Harry, that’s gross,” says Dear­est Duck.

B’ys, dolls give me the creeps. They are the creepy-crit­ters of night­mares.

P’raps they cause me se­ri­ous shiv­ers be­cause, as a bay-boy, I caused the demise of my lit­tle sis­ter’s Christ­mas Baby Doll with the painted face. As an act of big brother bad­ness, I buried the doll, swad­dled in rot­ting cab­bage leaves, among the stumps in Mammy’s cab­bage patch [!].

Need­less to say, Sis­ter bawled all win­ter and wailed as if ban­shee-tor­mented come spring thaw when Dolly’s re­mains sur­faced in the cab­bage clay.

What was left of Dolly’s painted face gave me the creeps then … still gives me the creeps at wicked witch­ing hours.

Dolly’s pox-plagued face cursed me. Her washed-out, cataract-scabbed eyes ac­cused me of an heinous deed.

Although the el­e­ments had rav­ished Dolly’s foam-stogged, rub­ber body, the fol­low­ing Christ­mas her rein­car­nated spirit found a new abode in sis­ter’s brand new Christ­mas Dolly …

… the doll whose eyes clicked … and clicked … and fol­lowed me around the house and haunted my dreams.

Sis­ter sat Dolly in a wee baby­doll rock­ing chair, her plas­tic legs splayed like … well, like a doll’s stiff legs.

Plas­tic fin­gers scrope into the rocker’s arms and bris­tle-brush eye­lashes shaded mar­bled, un­nat­u­rally blue eyes that whirred and clicked when they blinked, as if minia­ture mo­tors pow­ered their ac­tions.

Whir. Click. Blink. Whir. Click. Blink.

“Dolly hates you,” sis­ter re­minded me when­ever she saw me in thrall of Christ­mas Dolly’s par­a­lyz­ing stare.

“Harry, that’s lies for you,” says Dear­est Duck, who doesn’t know that some­times in the dead of night, the fact that she’s ly­ing along­side saves me from pox­plagued, click­ing-eyed dolls.

“Would I tell a lie, my Duck?” say I.

No, not even about Dolly Wet the Bed.

Dolly Wet the Bed was her name in­car­nate. If sis­ter squeezed wa­ter — or wa­tered­down Car­na­tion if Mammy wasn’t look­ing — into Dolly’s cir­cu­lar mouth ori­fice then laid her in her baby-doll cot, Dolly drained her con­tents via some un­nat­u­ral (cer­tainly anatom­i­cally in­cor­rect) pee-pee aper­ture into the baby-doll sheets.

The curse on me con­tin­ued. Time and again, I awoke scream­ing and, pa­jama-top soggy, found Dolly strad­dling my chest like the Old Hag’s play toy off­spring.

Dolly Wet the Bed was not a Walk­ing Doll (she came later) so I blamed sis­ter for par­tic­i­pat­ing in my haunt­ing. Sis swore it wasn’t so.

“Harry, my hag-rid­den Honey,” says Dear­est Duck, “you’re spin­ning yarns.”

“My Duck, I’m crushed,” say I. Not all dolls give me the creeps, eh b’ys? Not Bar­bie.

And, oddly, de­spite their name and the lo­cale of Dolly Painted Face’s demise, not Cab­bage Patch Dolls.

What scares me nowa­days is a fright­fully re­al­is­tic doll I hap­pened to en­counter in a grand­child’s arms. The doll is so re­al­is­tic that I said, “Be care­ful you don’t drop the baby.”

“Pop, this is a Real Doll, not a baby.” To prove it, grand­daugh­ter grinned and dan­gled Real Doll by an an­kle.

Real Dolls have names like New­born and Breath­ing-New­born and Re­born …

Re­born. Breath­ing. Frig­gin’ scary!

These dolls are so re­al­is­tic I can’t look at Mr. Google’s pic­tures of them. Their cheeks are so real­is­ti­cally chubby that Strange Aun­ties would surely pinch them. Their arms move so real­is­ti­cally that they seem as if they might reach out and grab you.

Or grab me in night­mares. Although their eyes don’t click, they do blink and fol­low.

But, b’ys, these dolls are “off” some­how, creep­ily so.

They wrig­gle and cud­dle — they SQUIRM — like hell’s spawn fished from a toxic broth stirred by Stephen King.

Thank you for read­ing.

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