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Amie Heasley

Marginal!!!

Picture the opposite of Macy’s at Christmastime. You’re in a burned-out hole where almost everybody will work for food. Nobody eats gluten-free. Nobody has ever heard of The Kardashians or Instagram. It’s two days after Labor Day, and you’re about to head into a department store called Marginal!!!, which is perfection because—OMG—the structure is in some major disrepair, the foundation is so about to collapse, the cement walls look all pockmarked and corroded. It reminds you of this girl from high school who got a bad chemical peel.

As an anti-rape measure, Mumbai passed a resolution banning the placement of scantily clad mannequins outside businesses.

Beneath a sunless sky, the few tufts of green offer little encouragement. Still, you need a dress for your five-year reunion that hides your baby weight. There are no pretty storefront windows. No skinny mannequins. You find this strange. And yet, you forge ahead.

The first fashion mannequins were made of papier-mâché in France.

Besides artists, tailors, dressmakers, and Buffalo Bill, mannequins are employed by first aid teachers in the teaching of CPR. In the fifties, they were used in nuclear tests to reveal the ill effects of nuclear weapons on the human body.

You manage to crawl inside, and then you realize you’ve misplaced your wallet, the salmon one that matches your Marc Jacobs handbag. No worries. You can’t seem to find a cashier even if you wanted to charge something, which is a definite no f-ing way. You are surrounded by rows and rows of dresses. Wait. LOL.

“Mannequins with heads without hijabs are prohibited to be used in shops,” Iran’s moral security police released in a statement.

Make that surrounded by dress. Rows and rows of the same hideous dress: a yellowed wedding gown chock full ‘o lace. That unlucky bride can forget about being princess for a day.

The music is cranked. Canon in D. How many times have you yawned through that sentimental crap? Your younger sister, who tied the knot before you (though you wound up in the family way), called it “Taco Bell’s Canyon.” Not wanting to break tradition and disappoint your daddy, she agreed to have it playing as she floated down the aisle. You would’ve never breathed a word about it, but since we’re dishing, she didn’t look as adorable as you would have in that Vera Wang. Pre-bun in the oven, of course.

How are you supposed to camouflage your bare ring finger at the reunion if you can’t find a little black, low-cut dress? Underscore low-cut. One secret about the miracle of childbirth: your boobs explode. No joke. Like, POW-POW, they’re like a second kid. Wait. Make that a set of bouncing baby twins. Twins that leak and sag to your cankles.

From an article in Smithsonian magazine: “When Howard Carter opened King Tut’s tomb in 1923, he discovered an armless, legless, wooden torso, made exactly to the pharaoh’s measurements.”

You want to shower your baby girl Alexis (Lexi for short) with the crème de la crème. You breastfeed despite your bleeding nipples. You dress Lexi in one-hundred percent organic cotton. You turn the volume way low during The Real Housewives of OC. You download the latest child development apps. When you carried her, you packed on a healthy forty.

A guy who resembles the star QB from your high school, the one you were hoping to do some serious flirting with at the reunion, sneaks up all stalker-like and taps you on the shoulder. You swear you smell bacon. If you were anybody other than a bona fide shopaholic, you might find this creepy, but you are on a life-and-death mission, so you pull out your iPhone 5S and ask where in this dump you can get a signal.

British designer Vivienne Westwood gave the mannequins in her store windows black eyes to raise awareness of the growing domestic violence problem in Italy.

Your daddy—who you had to move back in with because your supposed boyfriend just couldn’t abandon his dreams of moving to the Big Apple to become the next great celebrity stylist—suggests hiring a personal trainer if you plan to land Mr. Right. (Your dad’s been “Mr. Right” to four women and counting.)

That moron who resembles your star QB keeps shoving. You start running because you figure they’re about to go out of business. There must be some kind of liquidation sale up ahead by the way he’s pushing. You break your heel and trip, slamming into cheap linoleum. You drop your iPhone 5S and the screen cracks.

Mannequin is a 1987 romantic comedy starring Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall.

You soon discover where all the anorexic mannequins went. A shadowy, colorless storage room, the kind of room where serial killers in horror movies stash their victims. It’s official: you’ve decided this is beyond cray-cray.

You let out your first legitimate scream when you notice the mannequin propped on a table. She’s butt-naked, but, unlike her friends, she’s missing limbs. You try to reassemble her and that’s when you feel this unbelievable pain, a shutting down and hardening, like you just looked at a Medusa. You wonder if you’ll ever see your sweet baby again. If you’ll ever hear her call you Mommy. You wonder if your ex will make it to the reunion. If he’ll come out of the closet already.

Judy is a colloquial name for a female mannequin.

You kneel and beg for forgiveness. You promise to be a better mom, to sell off some of your worldly possessions, to limit your tweets to health and beauty tips. This is the last word you can think of: YOLO.

Amie Heasley is a Scorpio who has four tattoos plus one daughter plus one husband plus one dog. When she isn’t writing fiction, she works as a freelance writer for the marketing and advertising industry in greater Kalamazoo [as in, “Yes, There Really is a Kalamazoo” not (“I’ve Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo”]. She has an irrational fear of bees, voted absentee in the last midterm election and might have bought the CliffsNotes to Madame Bovary.

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