the beast or burden…


“Mom remember that we need to go and buy my Halloween costume” the doll reiterated several times during the past week. I always grumbled back “Can’t you just go as a ghost with a sheet over your head?” “Mom twin and I are going as Indians….I need an Indian outfit”. “Again that could be accomplished with a sheet…” I tried. Each time I was met with a stern look of disdain and disappointment. “Fine, we’ll hit Savers, and see what they got.” I finally relented.

We entered the thrift store and were immediately greeted by a man in a hula skirt promising the best prices on Halloween costumes in town. Alas if you wanted to be a princess, a superhero or a whore; they had the perfect costumes for you. Finding Indian (as in cowboys and Indians) garb was proving harder to come by… That is until I spotted the most awful ugly tan colored women’s (floor length) dress in the world! It also came with a rock bottom price of $5.99! “Doll, look at this!” I proclaimed pulling the dress off the rack and holding it up against the doll for measurement sake. “Yeah what about it?” She scrunched her nose in disgust. “This is perfect for you!!” She must have thought I was joking at first, simply by the disgusting look she shot me. But then after taking a more scrutinizing look at the garment she asked “How?” “Hello..? Indian squaw..” I replied. “I don’t think so mom” she replied then went back to looking at the other racks. “Well whatever doll, but I’m not seeing a lot of other choices here…” I said before moving on.

“Mom! Where are you going?” The doll asked me. ” I’m gonna look over here… I said, moving away from the Halloween displays. “But mom!” The doll growled. “Doll find what you want..,and then we’ll discuss.” After a few minutes spent milling around the doll finally came to me and said “Okay that ugly dress will do, but I cannot be anywhere near you when you buy it”. “Afraid the ugly will wear off on you?” I asked amused when she harmlessly slapped my arm. Grabbing the dress off the rack I made my way to the checkout.

As promised, the doll hung back 10-15 feet away, pretending not to know me. “Did you find everything okay?” The young clerk asked me. “Yep, even an embarrassed eleven year old” I chuckled. Smiling the clerk asked, is that your daughter over there?” She asked pointing at the doll, whose back was still turned away from us. “Uh huh..” I said quite amused by the clerk’s actions. “Hey little girl, is this your mama?” The clerk asked loud enough for the doll to turn around and look. “C’mere…” She said and motioned for the doll to come over. Having been acknowledged, the doll walked over to me, slapped my arm and through gritted teeth asked “What did you say to her?” Before I could answer the clerk said to us “You really shouldn’t be embarrassed by anything you buy here right now; you have Halloween as an excuse right? You should be in here sometimes when men come in and buy large sparkled and glittery women’s underwear. Then it gets kinda freaky!” I couldn’t help myself and began laughing. The doll became more embarrassed and tried to hide behind me as the clerk continued on… “Yeah there are better times of the year to get embarrassed buying clothes here…but Halloween is not one of them.”

After paying for our costume and bidding good day to the clerk, we walked back to the car quietly. Once inside the car the doll said “I’d never be able to work here…” Smiling I said, “Oh I don’t know, sounds to me like those girls laugh a whole lot. Sounds like a fun job to me.” “Seriously?” The doll asked, eyebrows raised questioning my response. “Seriously!”


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