|A Science Fiction Fanzine||Summer 2004|
Faye Best was one of the friendliest and sweetest of my writing students at Greensboro, North Carolina's Guilford College in the early 80s. She's kept in touch, and sent the following.
It's Me, Katy, Talking
It's me, Katy, talking. I live in Granny's house. I used to live at sears on a shelf with lots of other dolls. We were in see-through boxes. When I got pushed to the back of the shelf I slept a great deal, even though my eyes were open. It was boring back there.
Then one day a clerk straightened up the shelf and I ended up on the front. I could watch all the shoppers come and go. That was fun. I listened to them talk and learned lots of new words to think about.
A woman called Granny was shopping in the store. My box says, "has new-born eyes - somewhat out of focus". I heard Granny read it out loud. I winked at her so quick she didn't know she had seen me do it. It was my magic wink and it made her pick me up and go pay twenty-five dollars for me at the check out. I was on sale.
I couldn't see out of the bag on the ride to Granny's house. So I relaxed and listened to the music playing on the car radio.
At Granny's I came out of the box and she laid me on a daybed. I had on beautiful white long lacy dress with a bonnet to match, a diaper and white socks and booties on my feet. I was just gorgeous; Granny said so. My bed was a wicker basket with a ruffled pillow for a mattress.
After I looked around real good and saw everything in the room, thing began to get pretty boring at Granny's house too. Sometimes she would throw a robe or some sewing across me and I couldn't see anything. But sometimes she would run the sewing machine and play the portable TV. I learned even more words watching those shows Granny called "her soaps." But then sometimes she wouldn't come into the sewing room for days. So I practiced my new words to myself and slept a lot.
Then one day Granny came in and a little girl was with her. They were talking about a Halloween costume. Granny rummaged away in the old trunk she kept clothes in.
"Look Hannah," she said and began to pile cloth on the daybed. Granny can make the biggest mess when she does that. Soon cloth was draped everywhere all over the daybed and some of it on me. She just left my head sticking out. "What do you think of this for a Princess outfit?"
While they were deciding, real quick I winked my magic eye at Hannah. "Granny," she said, "can I play with your doll?"
"Well, now, i don't know," said Granny. "I really wanted to keep her pretty. Like a keepsake."
"I won't get her dirty," promised Hannah. She picked me up and held me and smoothed down my long dress. Right away I worked more magic and soon I knew Hannah loved me lots and lots.
We went into the living room while Granny folded up her cloth and stacked it back in the trunk.
Hannah made up things for me to say to her Barbie dolls that she had brought with her. I didn't like them Barbies much, skinny long-legged old things. So I jumped up and down on them and made them yell. Hannah put me in time out. I didn't care. I just sat there and giggled.
Hannah got out the Teeny Beanie Babies that Granny collected from McDonald's. She tied a shoestring on the end of my wicker basket and soon the Beanie Babies and me were riding around all over the house. Whee! That was fun. Hannah dragged us so fast that Snort, the red bull, fell out.
I was so happy and tired that night that when Granny put me back up on the daybed in my basket, I just wiggled real good one time under my clothes where she couldn't see me and fell right asleep with my eyes open like always.
Soon I found out that Hannah was going to come to Granny's to stay after school. "Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy," I said to myself.
Hannah is holding me by one hand and on her other side she has an old rag doll called Elizabeth. She walks us up to Granny and I say, "We are orphans and we are looking for a family. Our mother was a deer and a hunter came and shot her. Santa came by and turned us into humans. But we don't have a Mama and Daddy. Can you help us find one? This is me, Katy, talking: Hannah's lips are moving but she talks different from me."
"Well I can't be your Mama and Daddy because I'm just an old Granny," says Granny. "But if you all get together you can make a big family." Hannah makes us a family place on the couch along with two Barbies and the Beanies. I still don't like them Barbies so pretty soon I make Hannah take them to the other end of the couch. Then we have parties and go visit each other a lot.
Today's one of my mad, bad days. Granny says she has to wash the dishes and can't play. I say, "Old pooh pooh."
Granny says "What?" real loud.
"Old bag of booty," I say.
Granny says, "Hannah, now that's enough of that."
"This is me, Katy, talking, not Hannah," I say.
Granny says, "Well, Katy, how would you like to go sleep in the storage building with the spiders?"
I say, "No! No! No!"
Granny says, "Well, stop talking ugly then."
"Yes Maim," I say in my Southern talking voice that is not a bit like Hannah's even if you can see her lips moving while I am talking.
Granny says she has to go down to the store. Hannah asks, "Can Katy go?"
Granny answers, "I guess so, if you'll look after her. I don't want her to get lost."
There was a light snow falling when Granny, hannah and I went to the drugstore to buy Halloween candy. I never saw anything as magical as snowflakes, all those tiny pieces of white fluff falling straight down from out of the sky. Hannah had put on my red velvet cape and I wasn't cold a bit even though she had forgotten my shoes and socks.
We were headed for the Food Lion store to get milk and stuff when hannah got tired of carrying me. "Here," said Granny and held open the little shopping bag full of candy for Hannah to drop me in.
The checkout line at Food Lion is slow and long. "Munch munch" is coming from the drugstore bag. I am eating all the Halloween candy. "Crunch, munch, munch," Hannah stands close up behind Granny where nobody can see her mouth making chewing wrinkles. I am still munching in the bag. Grrumph-uh-oh, I ate too much and now I'm throwing up inside the paper bag.
People in the line turn around and look at Granny and Hannah. Hannah steps closer behind Granny and hides her face in the back of Granny's blue wool coat. I keep on munching on some more candy. Granny doesn't say anything or act like she sees the people looking at her. I can't see what's going on cause I'm still in the bag but Hannah told me all about it later. I eat up all the Halloween candy but I magic it all back and clean everything up before Granny even opens the bag.
After Granny puts me in my bed, I giggle, hee, hee, hee a long time, just thinking about eating up all that candy. Granny didn't even see that chocolate stain on my white dress.
My stomach is still so woozy the next day that I didn't even make Hannah come get me up. I just let Hannah and Granny paint and color all evening at the kitchen table and sing real loud about "Down By the Bay".
Most days while we wait for Hannah's Mom to come pick her up, Granny has Hannah do exercises on the long front walk. She goes all the way down and back doing hops, skips, jumps or running or galloping. When she takes me, I always win. I get out in front every time.
On Thursdays, we go to the library to hear a lady read about customs of different people. We have a snack there. We check out books to take home. We like library day.
One day Granny takes us to the mall to see a dinosaur exhibit. I stay close to Hannah. Those dinosaurs have big mouths.
Then Hannah stops coming to Granny's every day. It is summer and Granny stays busy canning tomatoes and beans. I sit on the daybed and get sadder and sadder. I begin to sleep a lot like I did at the Sears store.
After what seems like a very long time, Katy hears voices from the kitchen. Another little girl has come to stay with Granny after school.
"Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy," says Katy to herself. "I am going to magic her. I am going to magic her real good and we are going to have the bestest time together. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy."