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Becky 1
Becky 2
Becky 3

Becky

Dimensions: 31" (H) with chain x 16.5" (W)

Ingredients: Metal chandelier frame, animal bones, antique doll (leather, porcelain, muslin, sawdust), antique can opener, feeler gauge, nails, chain, paper, fabric, lace, dried plants, food coloring, stain, acrylic paint, enamel paint, glue

It was October in Detoyt – a failing industrial town that was once a rich bustling toy community. It was 2:57 p.m. Becky sat at her school desk, her sneakers rubbing the metal book cage beneath her seat. She counted the minutes on the square wall clock above the blackboard. Same clock every day. Sometimes she would count the pages she could read between minutes. A contest almost. She’d think, “If I read seven pages within the seven minutes left, I will be a Master!”. But she knew this was not true. The looks of disdain from Alexis, one of the newest Barbie models, and Griff, the new machine-gun-clad G.I. Joe were enough. The grimaces were an intrusive reminder during the long, lingering space in between the :57 and :58 minute hands on the clock. “A Master can do things, conquer things, reign over things, but I’m merely a puppet in life’s repulsive performance,” she thought.

 

The bell rang. Becky flew out of her seat. Her shoelace snagged on the book cage and she crashed to the floor, banging her head on the linoleum floor with violent thunk. The laughs rang out like wild banshee screams she’d heard so many times before. The pull-the-string dolls were the worst. Their mechanical kackle repeated like a heartbeat. “You are a loser. You are a loser. You are a loser.”

 

A wave of dizziness flooded her body. She sped out of the school and clumsily raced through the wet empty lot until she reached the abandoned warehouse. The Hot Wheels sign hung by a wire on the crumbling brick.

 

The rain began to fall, seeping its way into the gaps in the rotting roof. It was decrepit and sad, but it was a safe place. Its unappreciated industriousness, emptiness, and grit felt familiar to Becky.

 

Then there was the nausea. “I have to lay down before I pass out.” She lay staring at her surroundings for what felt like days. She studied the black dot constellations splattered across the crackling walls, swearing one was the Big Dipper. Soon the black and white began to move. Dots and flat space became roving waves of color, like a psychedelic Aurora Borealis.

 

Frightened, Becky turned to the left. There lay a skull. Most of its flesh had fully sloughed off. “Was it a dog? Or maybe a cat?” she wondered. “I bet it was a coyote. A fierce beast who reigned over all things,” she imagined.

 

Trying to ease the worry, she grasped the rusty nails laying beneath her hand. She shuffled them in her palms like she did with pens in class. She fidgeted with an old auto tool in the other hand. “Fidget, fidget, fidget. Focus, focus, focus! You are NOT losing it.” But the madness kept creeping in.

 

Then there was the “bzzzzzzzz”. A fly flurried around her, first landing on her porcelain cheek, then her ruffled sleeve, then her tear duct. The insect’s frenzied repetitive loop only exacerbated her feelings of internment. “Fucking fly!”, she screamed.

 

She was desperate for distraction. “My Walkman! Yes, I’ll listen to music. This will get me back on track. I’ll listen to Wendy until this passes.” She found comfort in her favorite Plasmatics album. The grinding beats giving her strength to push through the fear. But soon total mania set in.

 

She no longer felt grounded. She was in a different place now. The chains and metal that clacked in the abandoned warehouse where now attached to her, welding to her skin and attaching themselves to other contraptions.  She thought, “What’s happening to me?!?”. It was strangely unpainful.

 

Nails split out of her fingers. “I could use these to scare people like Freddy does”, she imagined, recalling her favorite vengeful horror character. A feeler gauge emerged from her wrist. Her hand projectiled across the room. “Imagine the sounds I’ll make with these!”

 

Hard, filthy, ragged metal wings burst from her back. She flew about the warehouse with a kind of freedom she had not felt before. Soon her blushed porcelain face cracked. Emerging from it came the nasty, gnarly coyote skull with all the gooey pieces holding what was left of her face together. Her eyes became fly eyes with a range of sight that felt endless. Nothing could escape her gaze now.

 

The long-felt notion that she was a puppet was now real. But she wasn’t a puppet in life’s repulsive performance anymore. She was a different kind of puppet now.

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Becky 5
Becky 6
Becky 7
Becky 8
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