The Lisa Diaries

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The Lisa Diaries by Lisa Carver  

The Mannequin

July 8, 1999

On the fourth of July, Dave and I were descended upon by my father, the drunken, coked-out stragglers always encircling him, and their stray children. One of the kids was retarded and talking about poop. A single mom (barefoot) had three fingermark bruises on her neck. To round out the menagerie, two of my father’s girlfriends lay passed out on my couch with their legs braided. I hoped their vodka drool would not stain. I also hoped that the poop-talker confined her obsession to talk. I didn’t want to find anything hidden in a closet a week from now.


Dave comes from a long line of entrepreneurs and artists. Not beatnik-types, but accomplished artists — the kind that get commissioned to paint generals’ portraits. I come from drug dealers, fishermen, preachers, and discount store clerks. I come from a long line of people exactly like these feral creatures currently throwing bits of hot dog and hamburger at each other in my back yard (an essential element of my father’s portable universe is a grill). Dave and I hid in my bedroom upstairs.


In the room with us was a mannequin. It had real glass eyes, and they were very soulful: tan, knowing and fundamentally sad. Black hair fell over one of the eyes and travelled halfway down the giraffe neck. Dave bought it a long time ago because his then-girlfriend wanted it for a photo shoot, but the girlfriend was scared of the mannequin and it became his. Now I was scared of it, and I told him it was me or it. Unbelievable though it sounds, he actually hesitated over his choice.


“You have a crush on the thing, don’t you?” I asked.

He did. He told me how he’d become possessed by the mannequin. He’d tried to resist, he said, but she was so close, so beckoning . . . day and night. In a weak moment, he gave in and made out with her, and two days later they went all the way! I was shocked and repulsed and interested.


“Do you want to see how I kissed her?” he asked. I admitted I did. She was taller than him. He hesitated, and brushed against the length of her with the length of him, and touched her hand with his, moved up her arm and down her back. He was actually coming on to an inanimate object. I thought, What’s wrong with this guy? I was also weirdly turned on. He was looking into her eyes, still hadn’t kissed her, and when he finally did, it felt all wrong in a dozen different ways. I flashed into her identity, as if I were frozen and helpless against the kissing, then I was back inside me, watching. Dave unscrewed her arm and brought it over to the bed. He made her delicate hand brush over my nipples and up my thighs, and then he had her play with my hair. I was screaming, “Stop, stop!” He did, and put her arm back where it belonged. Then he started making out with me, human lips against human lips — two soon-to-be-married humans. It was very right, but I was longing hard for more of that cool plastic touch.


Dave said, “Let’s pretend we went to a bar separately with the agreement we’d each try to make out with a stranger there.” He used the mannequin as his stranger. At first it looked good to me, then I got jealous and smacked the poor frozen creature. Dave said I had to make up with her by making out with her. One peek into those heavy-lashed brown eyes and I knew I never could. I felt like she was in there, a real soul trapped by some cruel magic, and she was sending out messages with her eyes: “Help! I’m in here! Save me.” Her imaginary pleas mixed with those drifting up from my yard: “Make him get off me!” “Make her stop saying ‘poop’!” “You better pay so-and-so back his $500 you ripped off in the coke deal, because he’s talking about coming to my house and fucking shit up — for some reason he thinks you live at my place now . . .” The mannequin became a symbol for so many trapped lives. All the troubled, set-upon souls of the world, small and helpless and resigned, worn down by pattern — I used to live like that. I considered reassembling the mannequin and washing the children and loaning the mom with the strangle-marks the $500 she owed for the coke. Instead I put a chair under the door handle to lock it, and I jumped on that fallen mannequin, symbol of lost hope, and I had my way with her. I ground my desire into the rubble of broken dreams. I raped her! Dave joined in, there was a wild conglomeration of limbs — some human, some not — while firecrackers, lit by my father and the drunken whores, flew past my window and little kids screamed.


I felt bad when it was done. And ridiculous. There’s nothing tackier than doing it with a human facsimile. I don’t care how fun it was. What would it look like if one of the kids pushed the door open and tumbled into the room: the mannequin with wig askew and dress torn, broken into three parts; the sheet off the bed; Dave and I sweaty and red and guilty-looking, wearing shirts but no pants. Truly wrong things had gone on in here. Still, this was our last sexual experience for a week (I’d read in Mademoiselle that you’re not supposed to have sex for seven days before your wedding night), and at least we literally went out with fireworks.

Lisa Carver and