“Dammit” muttered Boyd, angered at yet another interruption, “I’m getting sick of this! What do you want now?” Her unnatural pastel-blue eyes stared at him, framed by the machine-drawn eyeliner and mascara. “I just want to talk to you, on behalf of the others” she said, in her high-pitched whiny voice that irritated him to no end, “Just get back into your Dream House and stay there!” This admonishment sent her running off in the usual rigid but nonetheless dramatic huffy style.

The bee was buzzing frantically beside the tape-recorder, impatient that Boyd’s attention was focused on someone else. This was the bee’s moment, after all, five minutes of Anthophilac fame. Bee had had his fur combed through by some ants this morning and had practiced his honey-dance to perfection, despite the fact that the recording would be audio only. It just helped to get into the right mode. Now those bitch Barbies were interrupting Boyd’s concentration and throwing him off.

Now, finally, recorder on… and the Death’s Head Moth in the corner starts! Screaming white noise, drowning out bee. “One at a time, please. I’ll need to mix this in a medley”. Boyd wasn’t happy at all. Just then, he heard a crash coming from below. He turned off the recorder, ran outside, wondering what they had done this time. Becoming hesitant, he walked down the stairs to the basement slowly. Where he stood, the threshold, was the border between his part of the house and what had by now become Barbie-town. He peeked in cautiously, not sure if this was a trap. There they were, glaring up at him, dressed in various shades of pink. An ankle-high sea of pink and blonde plastic aggression. Beyond their truncated mass, he could see the devastation over in the corner and along the wall.

They had pulled apart the cabinets and knocked one over, smashing with it a cardboard box full of crockery his ex-wife’s mother had given to them that had been left there unwanted. Once a cellar of refuge to focus on work, plans, minutiae, was now a den of entropy. “What the hell were you doing?” Boyd said, his ire obvious. Bikini-Barbie moved towards him defiantly and fleetingly the thought came to him that the bikini would be sexy on an actual woman. “We just want some more of the fungus that you have hanging from the ceiling”, she stated insolently. Boyd gritted his teeth and vehemently then, “you can’t have any.”

Disfigured Barbie – who’d had the side of her face and one arm melted against a radiator in his fit of rage, hoping this would be an example to them all – tried a different tack. “Please Boyd. We’re begging you!” Boyd turned his back and began to move a cement block across the basement entrance. “Like that’s going to keep us in!” said Rockstar Barbie (who, in better times, had sung on two songs for his album) but Boyd proceeded. “Go back to playing with your stupid tape recorders, Boyd” one of them shouted. He didn’t know which one.

He had visited Charlie in prison, numerous times in fact, to get advice on how to control them. Charlie didn’t know how to control these kinds of girls, too hard to brainwash ones with no actual brains. He deplored the day he’d left his Barbie collection in a damp, dank basement. Various moulds, but who would have guessed the mycelium could form a fairy ring around the box containing his collection? He never would have believed in such things back then!
They were difficult to deal with, plastic scuttling keeping him awake and their constant questioning about what exactly he was doing at any given moment. “What bloody difference does it make?” he thought. He took some small comfort in the fact that he didn’t reside in the Tibet household. Noddy was an awful tyrant, or so he had heard. He guessed it was worth it for the morning milk and the pearls of wisdom that the Tibet household’s residents got from the ersatz Nodding-God though he dreaded to think what they had to do for it.

Aside from their incessant questions, he had the media and pestering neighbours to contend with. Cameras in his face, people peering in the windows, actually trying to force their way into the house to see his “massive Barbie collection”. It had somehow got out that he possessed the largest Barbie collection in the world. He had tried breaking off their arms and legs, decapitating them. The screams out of them! Somehow they always got hold of some mycelium, despite his spraying and cleaning. They knew how to use it to fix one another. And now they were a hate-filled, smooth-plastic throng out for his blood.

Night after night, lying awake in bed, he pondered on his situation. No sex for months now and so very lonely – it’s not like he could bring a girl back here. They’d kill her in a plastic-scraping massacre of flimsy treachery! A flashback of blood on Saran blonde hair. He felt a little tug on his blanket as Disfigured Barbie hoisted herself up. “What now?” Boyd said, weakly, not being able to take much more of this. She extended her thin beige arm, touching his left shoulder, tenderly almost. “It’s OK, Boyd. You can tell the media and them all out there that there is no Barbie collection: tell them you only have two.”

Dr. Jenny Butler writes about the dark underbelly of life’s surface existence. Her short stories are published in Fictive Dream Magazine, Literary Orphans Literary Magazine, Corvus Review, The Flexible Persona Literary Journal, Tales from the Forest Magazine, The Roaring Muse, Mulberry Fork Review, and many others. Her website is: www.drjennybutler.com. Twitter: @jenny_butler_ Instagram: @spiral_eyed_grrl