Darren J Beaney

The real Barbie 

Barbie settles her tired arse into the depression of her old, battered armchair and momentarily feels a connection, knowing when she eventually gains the enthusiasm and energy to stand again, her saggy leggings will be covered with cat hair and cookie crumbs. She rests her bulbous ankles on a dainty foot stool and glances at the black & white portable TV, just viewing enough to feel jealous of the unblemished image, still crisp and clear. She sighs, all too aware she is the fat lady singing her way through repeats of her own crappy soap opera. Her worn-out thinking is interrupted by an echoing clatter emanating from the kitchen, pursued by a string of profanity. Barbie knows dinner will just about be bearable, maybe a happy meal? 

She pictures Ken breathing heavily as he bends to clear up microwaved debris, battling his beer belly. She believes he is perpetually one large scotch from a coronary and imagines him grimacing, holding the small of his back, as he slowly straightens. She reminds herself she loves him. His rolls of elastic flab, roughly sculpted double chins, and his rouge drinkers’ nose. She still adores his prosthetics and cute toupee. She sighs, oh how she regrets, deeply, toying with his affections and feelings. Is so, so sorry (but will never tell him) for the affairs. Hates herself, with a vengeance, as she recalls her least favourite episode – the one where Ken discovered her deep in carnal knowledge with GI Joe and Action Man. But, despite remorse that leaves a bitter taste, she cannot help a crooked grin. Her warped smile makes her dentures pinch the inside of her mouth, she groans and heaves her arthritic joints from the furniture, reaches around to the seat of her leggings to fish panties from her crack.    

She looks into her dusty mirror and sees a dull far-off expression, ‘is that the real me’ she mutters to herself and looks down to see her shapeless boobs escaping south.  She wishes her mammoth crow’s feet would scuttle off. She wants more than anything to simply stretch out her aging arms, flap her disco wings and fly back through time to see, once again, the reflection of her perfect plastic smile.

Flights, Issue Seven, December 2022