Moving Out With Barbie

Flash Fiction:

Moving Out With Barbie

I used to wish my parents would divorce, so my mother and I could have some peace.

We could barely afford school clothes as it was, so how much worse could it be without my father screaming like an outraged gangster in the middle of the night anyway?

As I nudged toward adulthood, it dawned on me that my parents could have lived totally different lives, separately. Instead of torturing each other for decades. Instead of inherently blaming the hypnotic vapor trail of a post-war society that told them divorce was B-A-D. Bad. But devout mothers didn’t leave their husbands, no matter what throes of insanity were unleashed.

One brawl cut through the 3:00 a.m., mid-seventies darkness and woke me out of bed. Mom threatened to run away. She sprinted through our wood-paneled hallway, yesterday’s make-up running grey trails down her cheekbones.

A Barbie carrying case the size of a mini-fridge sat in my closet, sturdy cardboard veneered with a layer of white vinyl as slim as typing paper. It held Barbie’s mod and glamorous ski apparel, gowns, tennis outfits, and plastic go-go boots, arranged in cardboard drawers and on orange hangers diminutive as paper clips.

I dumped the cloud of pink and yellow Barbie gear to the floor and stuffed the case with my less-appointed wardrobe, snapping closed its silver latch. Case in hand, I stationed myself at our front door.

Mom paced in the kitchen, left-over make-up swiped away, having transitioned into the next phase of the night’s argument. Never planning to attempt what she’d proposed. She stopped cold at the sight of me. “What are you doing?”

My grip tightened around the molded plastic handle.

I’m ready to go,” I answered.

I can still smell the vinyl.


Finalist:  Women on Writing WOW Spring 2017 Flash Fiction contest

Winner, First Place (revised version) in Pennwriters’  “In Other Words” contest, May 2017

An Enterprising Model

Did I mention I’m a Star Trek Geek?trek

Yes, my brother and I are both Star Trek Geeks, growing up with the same original toys that Sheldon and Leonard now fight over on “The Big Bang Theory.”  I therefore can’t help feeling a sense of ownership over the series—both Trek and Big Bang— having played with the now-vintage toys first-hand.

Note that my brother was a bit of a comedian, and my favorite memory of playing with his Star Trek Enterprise playset was the day he pretended that Kirk got gassed out in the transporter chamber by noxious farts.

We were young.

Upon seeing Sheldon on Big Bang playing with that authentic 1970s transporter chamber, which was basically a card board and vinyl-covered box with a psychedelic spinning panel, the moment came right back to me:  Jimmy making Kirk pass out in the transporter chamber.


Jim is now an Emmy winning cameraman.  Last month, he built a two-foot long model of the Enterprise, coincidentally finishing it on the day Leonard Nimoy died.  He was so excited about the results of his handiwork, he filmed it with his professional camera equipment.

To check out a link, click on the below image:


I can almost see little Red Shirts in there.

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