Inspiration Call: While shopping downtown one day, you find an antiques store that has a rare, old doll. You buy it for your daughter. A few days later she tells you her new toy can talk. You don’t believe her, until one afternoon you find yourself alone in the house, and it starts talking to you. Write this scene.
Finished with the dishes, Karen moved into the living room pushing the vacuum in front of her as she went. The kids would be home from school soon and she wanted to straighten up a bit and get all their things in their boxes for them to put away before they got their homework out. They had just started a new organization/cleaning system where each member of the family has a box on the stairs. When anyone finds something belonging to someone else in any of the rooms downstairs, they could just throw it in that person’s box and each day everyone was responsible to take their boxes upstairs and put their things away. The system seemed to be working, so before she started vacuuming, Karen searched the living room for toys, clothes, shoes, books, etc. that had been left out in the morning rush to get ready for school. She found the boots Billy had taken off when he remembered today was a field trip day and had changed to his more comfortable sneakers. Liza’s journal for her English class was under the pillow. Karen was tempted to read it. She stood there holding it debating whether or not to open the cover.
“I wouldn’t read it if I were you.”
Karen screamed and turned around looking for the person who had spoken. She saw no one. She threw the journal down and started moving around the living room searching for the owner of the voice. Her adrenaline was pumping as she moved quickly. All she could think was that if someone was in the house she wanted to get them out before the kids got home, but as she ran from room to room finding nothing and no one, she began to wonder if maybe she had just imagined it. She went back downstairs feeling weird and a little silly. She grabbed a bottle of water from the kitchen and went back into the living room to sit down for a second to catch her breath. As she sat there, her eyes wandered around looking for all the things to pick up when she got started cleaning again. She took a few more sips of water and then got up, filled her arms with everything she had seen and walked them to the boxes to be sorted.
The last thing in her hand was the doll Liza had gotten at Joe’s Antique shop last weekend. Karen hadn’t wanted to buy it because it was just the creepiest looking doll she had ever seen, but Liza had fallen in love with it the minute she saw it. Liza had an obsession with clowns. She loved them. On the weekends, Liza experimented with face paint and trying different looks. She would spend hours working on shows to act out for them. It had all started last summer when they had gone to the circus. Karen had gotten them front row seats and Liza had just been amazed by the clowns when they had come close. She talked about it for weeks afterwards and then as Halloween had rolled around, she begged to be clown. So, Karen had bought her the clown doll. Liza had come to her yesterday to tell her that the doll talked. At first Karen thought she meant she had found a pull string or something that made the doll speak, but Liza had insisted that it was magic. That it actually talked to her, it knew her name, and it had loved the face paint design she had created last night. Liza had tried to get it to say something to her, but the doll had remained lifeless and limp in her hands. Liza had been frustrated and upset. Karen threw the doll in Liza’s box and turned to plug in the vacuum.
“Ow, that hurt.”
Karen quickly turned back and looked at the doll.
“You didn’t have to throw me so hard.”
She had seen it’s lips move that time, but she still didn’t believe it.
“Liza said you didn’t like me. Why don’t you like me?”
Was she really seeing and hearing this or was she losing her mind? She walked back to the box and picked the doll up.
“Not so tight. That hurts.”
She loosened her grip and said, “Sorry.”
“It’s okay.” The doll’s eyes swiveled up to meet hers and asked, “So, why don’t you like me?”
Karen was a little scared that the eyes moved but answered, “To be honest, you’re a little…uh…”
“Creepy,” the doll finished.
“Yeah. I have never liked dolls with eyes like yours. My Grandma had this huge doll collection in her living room and whenever I went in there, I felt like their eyes followed me wherever I went. I had trouble sleeping at her house when I was a kid because I always imagined them coming to life and attacking me in my bed. ” She couldn’t believe she was talking to a doll. Was she having a mental breakdown? Was this a hallucination?
“I’ve heard that a lot. I think that’s why the little boy Donald painted my face and dyed my hair. He was scared of me and wanted his sister, Tara, to get rid of me, so he turned me into her biggest fear, a clown. Their Mom couldn’t get the paint off, so they put me in the garage sale box. I was really sad. I liked Tara a lot. The nice man at the antique store found me at the garage sale and bought me. He liked my clown look and almost kept me for himself, but his girlfriend objected.”
“I’m so sorry,” Karen said still feeling weird talking to a doll, but deciding to just go with it. “So, how come you can talk?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t know I could until I talked to Liza. I sat there watching her do her face paint last night and was so impressed, it just came out. I was surprised. That’s why when she brought me to you last night, I didn’t say anything. I was in shock and a little scared.”
“Why talk to me now then?”
“You were going to read Liza’s journal and I knew she didn’t want you to. Well, at least not yet. She’s been working on a new show and wrote about it in there and that would spoil it if you read about it before she got to perform it for you.”
“It’s going to be an amazing show.”
“Thanks for stopping me then. I had noticed she seemed to not want me read it and was worried something was going on at school or with her friends. I worry about this obsession with clowns and how it might be affecting her social life at school.”
“I wouldn’t worry about that. She told me all about it that first day she brought me home. Her friends thought clowns were weird at first, but Liza has included them in her show plans, asking for their help with different face paint designs, outfits, learning new moves/funny faces/jokes, etc. Their planning sessions have become something they all look forward to because they have so much fun. Plus, Liza did a show on a dare at school a few months ago and one of the boys that they all think is super cute stopped to watch and then talked to them all afterwards.”
This was news to Karen and it was good to hear, though knowing that boys were becoming apart of the picture scared her a little. She knew the day would come, but she had hoped it wouldn’t happen just yet.
“Thanks for telling me.”
“Your welcome. I really like Liza and you seem nice too.”
“Thanks. I worry about her. She’s going to be 12 next month and I wonder what her teenage years are going to be like. Is she gonna to stay this passionate young girl or are things going to change?”
Just then they both hear the school bus pull up in front of the house and the doors bang open.
“Don’t worry. I’ll watch over her for as long as she let’s me and I’ll tell you when something big happens. Now put me in the box before she comes in so she doesn’t know we’ve talked.”
Karen gently placed the doll in Liza’s box and quickly went to open the door for the kids. Before she turned the knob, she looked back at the little clown. It winked at her and she winked back. She still couldn’t believe she had just had a conversation with a doll, but she was kind of looking forward to having another pairs of eyes helping her through this crazy time to come in her daughter’s life.