the doll games
shelley and pamela jackson




P: But I think there was still some trauma behind it of the dolls as being human, because I remember the Laurie thing was really awful, it was terribly awful, and it lived on as a trauma—we couldn’t even keep the head after we mutilated it.

S: What did we do with it, did we bury it?

P: We had to bury it, I don’t know whether we buried it in the garbage can or in the yard, but we couldn’t bear to have it around.

S: Don’t you think we would remember if we had buried it in the yard?

P: Yeah, I feel like we put in the garbage can*, although it seems shocking that we would have done that. But we were so horrified by it.

P: And I felt kind of guilty about B***** and her stumps, too.

S: I didn’t, because I never liked her very much anyway. I never was quite able to relate to her as a person, so I didn’t really feel like I’d done violence to her.

P: I didn’t relate to her either, but it still was awful that she had to run around on her stumps, especially since then we joked about it, she became this joke because she had the stumps, even though we were the ones who had done that to her! It didn’t seem fair!

S: It’s sort of like this Marquis de Sade thing, like we became these weird tormentors of dolls.

P: "Oh, look at you now, you’re a freak, ha ha!"

S: Plus, what was so hilarious was that we did that so that she could exist on the same level as our other dolls, because she was too tall, but also so when she was wearing a dress she would be beautiful and not too tall to be loved. So under the dress would be the secret of the stumps*.

P: I know, but it never actually worked out like that.

S: It never worked out, because her arms were too long.

P: And our dolls had to be able to be undressed.

S: And she had a blue face. But she was different, because she came later, and she didn’t fit in, and we didn’t like B***** anyway—Wait, we can never call her B*****, or we’ll be sued. The B, the unmentionable B. We’ll call her the Unnamable*! Anyway, we had to make her NOT B*****, not the Unnamable, before we could even begin to relate to her as a character. So it wasn’t like we were cutting off the legs of somebody that already existed; we were trying to create someone by cutting* off the legs and changing the hair. So that was different from Laurie, who was a romantic hero, and already a full character.

P: That was way more tragic.

S: That was like mutilating someone. Oh God! My shame and pain will never die! And see, that’s interesting too, because it’s also about our lack of omnipotence. You know, we were God-like and omnipotent in relation to our dolls, but in fact we weren’t, because we tried to do these things that we thought we were masters of—

P: Like when you were chopping the legs off B*****, the Unnamable, and saying "Is this a good idea? This is a good idea, right?" And I was saying "Yes! It’s good!"

S: With hedge clippers*! (laughter) I remember doing it, it was kind of satisfying. Well I don’t feel bad about cutting her legs off, but it was a blow to my omnipotence, because it wasn’t a success. It was an idea I had that was—

P: Bad.

S: Bad!

P: But for me at least cutting off her legs did make her more of a person. It half-succeeded in making a likable character, but a hopeless—

S: A disadvantaged one.

P: A hopeless disadvantaged one, who could never have love!

S: Did we play with her though? Did she have a role in games?

P: We did try at least, I think.

S: Even once her face became blue? Because we saw blue faces as a pretty damaging characteristic.

P: Right, but I remember we at least tried to have games with her. I don’t remember how successful they were, or whether they were always the kind where we would make her run along on stumps and laugh at her, but I do remember at least doing that.

S: I remember a game where she was at court, where she wore a dress. Because that was the whole point anyway, that we were going to — that she would be beautiful if she were short enough. And there’s only one way to achieve that. I mean there’s also a recognition that B*****’s —oops, the Unnamable’s legs are too long. They are unnaturally long.

P: But we never thought about the fact that the arms would be too long if we shortened the legs. You might have thought to cut the arms off at the wrist*.

S: Well, we hated B*****’s feet. We didn’t want a doll with those feet, the Unnamable’s feet. We should write about stump fanciers. Amenatophilia or something, people who are obsessed with—is it cutting off their own legs or is it just stumps in general? Anyway, how she became an icon of that world, a sex icon.