2.7.2015 Journal Prompt

Photo by Jessica Dimmock
Photo by Jessica Dimmock

February 7, 2015: If you listen…

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One thought on “2.7.2015 Journal Prompt

  1. ‘Course it’s like the doll is talking. You can see it’s wooden lips moving and the words must come from somewhere, and so it seems they come from the doll. That’s the act. That’s part of the act. It took Marty years of practicing, being able to say stuff without his own lips moving, the voice coming from the back of his throat so that it sounds small or far off and not like his own voice at all.

    Then there’s the doll, only Marty doesn’t call it a doll. He has a name for it. He calls it Col. And if you ask Marty why Col, he shrugs and he says cos that’s his name.

    Marty sits it on his knee and his hand slips easy into the back of the doll. He can work its mouth and its head and even its eyes so that they blink or look startled. It took some getting used to, all the different movements. Now it’s as natural as breathing. Now it’s like the doll is doing it all by itself – Col.

    And the doll has a personality all of its own. It’s different from Marty. It is less inhibited and it says what it thinks calling it like it is. ‘Course it must really be what Marty thinks, but because it’s the doll’s lips that are moving we think it is just the doll.

    Col is a bit rude sometimes or a bit forward. He’s funny with it and because he’s small as a child and a little cute, and because it’s all an act, Col gets away with it – Marty gets away with it. Col it is that gets the girls; they even talk to the doll, touching its face and kissing its cheek and laughing. He makes jokes about his wooden heart, singing the song like a strangled Elvis, playing up the bit about there being ‘no strings upon this love of mine’ and winking when he sings about not being made of wood, and under his breath he says something about the wood in his pants, ‘if you get my meaning’ – but it’s Marty who sleeps with the girls afterwards.

    Marty apologises for things Col says. The things that shock and the things Marty would never say. He makes you believe it is all the doll. Marty is mild mannered and he’s mostly quiet and that’s not Col.

    ‘It’s just an act,’ his wife says. ‘It’s all just an act.’

    But it’s an act he doesn’t let drop. Col goes everywhere with him, and he never stops talking and making with his eyes and his head turning this way and that and looking as though he sees more than Marty does. And they do alright together. TV and live shows all over the country and enough money for now.

    And on those nights when Marty sleeps alone, those hotel nights between girls, and the room smells of sweat and cigarette smoke and cheap perfume, and Marty’s got to get up early to catch the train to the next place, well, on those nights he isn’t really alone, not really. The doll lays down beside him and it talks till Marty sleeps and then it lies with its eyes open and its mouth still and not a thought in its wooden head, and it just listens.

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