“Boy with Doll” contemporary figurative painting
One Saturday morning when I was about 12 or 13, I went outside and noticed that the people in the house between us and the highway were having a yard sale. The outside of their house was lined with tin like chicken coops are made from, so I thought it was strange that they would have a yard sale like people did in town. They had a ripped up couch and an old washing machine on their porch and old cars in the weeds behind their house. What could they possibly have to sell anyway?
I walked over and saw that half the front yard was covered in bright pink Barbie stuff and girl toys. There was the pink Barbie convertible, some doll houses, plus a bunch of stuffed animals and some other baby dolls, a few of which were the cheap plastic kind the size of a real toddler, the kind that looks like a mannequin or something a pedophile might have in his basement. Even as a kid I thought those were creepy as hell.
I couldn’t imagine why they had all that doll stuff, and then I saw Billy sitting in a rusty metal chair. Billy was about my age, or at least as old as my sister, but he was retarded. He was holding one of the life-sized dolls and crying. His face was red and he looked like he was choking. Billy’s daddy was sitting beside him in a ratty old recliner he had dragged outside.
There was only one person there at the yard sale, a black lady in a big 70’s Lincoln. Billy’s daddy was trying to convince her to make a decision about the dolls. “Take it all if you want. You’ll be doing us a favor.”
She had her money out, but she wouldn’t commit. She just kept looking at Billy and saying, “I don’t know. I just don’t know.”
Billy started to moan, and his daddy told him to shut up. “Shut up Billy,” he said, and then he got up and snatched one of the dollhouses off the ground. Then the door slammed behind me and Billy’s momma came out screaming like she always did. She was barefoot and wearing a home-made muumuu like she always wore because nothing else would fit her. Her hair was thin and greasy and she was completely bald in the very back. Many of her teeth were missing, and she was screaming, “You let that baby have his babies!”
“Naw, he needs to get rid of them. He ain’t no baby any more!” Billy’s daddy pushed the dollhouse at the woman. “Well, do you want em? Four dollars for it all.”
The black lady said ok or maybe she didn’t. I don’t remember. Billy didn’t get up while his daddy loaded the car. He had the creepy doll in death-lock and swayed back and forth in the chair like he was trying to bust his head on the ground. He had a nasal speech impediment and said “No Daddy, no.” while he swayed. The black lady was crying.
I think I was already out of their yard when it happened, but I can still hear everything behind me. I hear Billy’s momma yelling, “That one’s his favorite. At least let him keep his favorite!” I still hear it, her saying that and Billy going, “No Daddy, no.” in his nasal retarded voice.
Why did everything have to be that way then? Absolutely goddamm everything. I hated everything.