Emily stands up like somebody dumped an ice cube down the back of her shirt. She looks at the doll in her hand with some new kind of reverence.
“Daddy!” she nearly shouts. “Did you know that Barbies and zombies all end the same way?”
“With the downfall of humanity?”
“No! With B-I-E-S.”
“Well,” I say, “a lot of words that end in ‘b’ give way to a cutsie plural by…”
“Hey, Emily!” Mira interrupts. “I know what we should do! We should make our Barbies be zombies and chase all the other dolls around.”
“Yes,” Em hastily concurs. “They are chasing the other dolls because they rose from the dead and are stuck wearing last year’s fashion. So they need fashionable new clothes, but by the time they tear them off, the clothes get all ripped, so they have to keep going.”
“There’s probably a metaphor in there somewhere,” I toss out.
“Dad! Stay out of our game!” they both yell.
By now, Kirsten has heard them talking and picks up a doll they aren’t using at the moment. She proceeds to take off the doll’s clothes. Mira starts to yell at Kirsten that she’s not doing it right.
“Oh! I know what Kirsten’s doing,” Emily says, watching Kirsten throw the clothes around the room. “If the dolls aren’t wearing the clothes, they won’t get attacked! So all the other dolls will want to take their clothes off before running away.”
“And they have to sing,” Mira insists.
“Why?” Emily asks.
“Because zombies don’t know how to sing. So if you can sing, you’re not a zombie yet.”
Mira picks up one of the Barbies and begins singing a song about “so many zombies — what will we do?”
Five minutes later, all three girls are flying around the house with the two older girls holding naked dolls in each hand and singing a lament-filled but up-tempo song called “If Only I Had Practiced Running for the Olympics.” Meanwhile Kirsten, giggling, chases them around with an armload of ZomBarbies yelling “EAT YOU! EAT YOU!”
I think about it for a while, and decide to just go back to writing, which then seems a hell of a lot more boring in comparison.