Chapter 20: Mulling It Over

(Episode 5)

Mitzi stops in to visit Mabel the next day.

She finds Mabel in her bedroom wrapping presents.

"Hi Mitzi! Merry almost-Christmas. Have you got all your shopping done?"

"Actually, I was wondering if you could watch Randi while I finished getting my presents."

"That's not a problem. Is she downstairs?"

"Yes. What're you wrapping?"

"Earrings for Molly. Do you like them?" Molly is another of their sisters. There are four in all.

"They're nice," Mitzi says absently. She turns to the mirror over the bureau.

"Do you think I'm old and scaggy?"

Women know this kind of talk. Especially women who are sisters. "Oh-oh. You've met someone, haven't you?"

"I meet lots of people at the coffee shop," Mitzi says evasively.

"You know what I mean."

"Well, what if I did? Do you think anyone could find me attractive?"

"You are attractive."

"You only say that because you're my sister. I mean do you think other plastic people would find me attractive?"

"Of course. What about that Sammy guy down at the coffee shop. He's always making moon eyes at you."

"Oh, him. I mean a normal person."

"You really do have it bad, don't you?"

Mitzi's eye falls upon the wedding portrait sitting on the bureau. She picks the picture up to examine it more closely.

"You seem to have found happiness," she says. "I wonder if I ever shall."

"Of course you will, dear."

"Did you know right when you met Jeff that he was the right guy for you?"

"Actually, yes. We're very different, but I knew."

"How is he different? I mean, in the important ways."

Mabel's thoughts wander back in time as she works.

"Well, he is much more detailed than I am. Look at his hands, how finely shaped they are. I think I fell in love with his hands first."

Mitzi studies the picture. "He does have nice hands. And I'm sure it's such a relief to live with someone who isn't smiling all the time. That can get so annoying."

"It is. I recognize that, and so I try not to be ostentatious with my own smile. But he doesn't seem to mind if I walk around with this vacuous little grin painted on my face."

"That's just your personality, what makes you you."

"At least I know he loves me the way I am. If he didn't, he would have left by now. And then there is the fact that we come from totally different backgrounds. You and I were raised to believe in a Great Maker called Mattel, but he was taught that he was made by a deity called DID--Dragon in Dreams, or something."

Mitzi carefully replaces the portrait. "Bizarre. Does he really believe he was made by a dragon?"

"Oh, he's pretty casual about it all. The differences in our background have never stood between us. But his family has never been comfortable with the fact he chose a mixed marriage. Most of his relations are in the military, and they think our kind is frivolous and shallow. His father always referred to me as 'dolly'. That's why we see so little of them."

"Funny. Remember how we were always taught that we were the 'real people', that everyone else was to be condemned? In fact, preferably wiped off the face of the planet. So much intolerance. I have to say, that's one of the things I respect and admire most about you and Jeff--and other couples I know like you: you're the proof that plastic beings can cohabit peacefully, in spite of their jealous Gods."

"It's not difficult when you realize that, at the bottom, we're all made from the same old petroleum. Could you hand me that bit of green ribbon over there?"

"This one?"

"Yes, that's it. So now, who's on your mind?"

"Okay, I'll tell you the truth. I did meet someone interesting."


"Lots. But..." Mitzi lets the sentence hang as she slumps into Mabel's bedroom chair.

Mabel finishes her sentence for her. "But he's married."

"How did you know?"

"I'm your sister. I consoled you after your first heartbreak. Remember when you were seven, the boy next door? He left you for an older woman?"

"Ri-ight. Molly."

"Doubly painful. I was there, remember? So tell me about this fellow. How did you meet?"

"I accused him of stealing my wallet. Or at least training the children who did."

"I can see why he was attracted to you."

"And he is married, but only kinda sorta. His wife has been gone for three years." Mitzi launches into the whole tragic tale of Finnegan's Sorrow. "The worst kind of married--she's not there, but she's not totally gone, either. He can never be sure she won't return." She adds thoughtfully. "Maybe a little altered if she does."

Mabel says, "Isn't there something about this story that seems a little odd to you?"

"You mean the part about her serene expression?"

"Exactly. Now, granted, I've not yet experienced an alien abduction, but isn't it the kind of activity where you scream or at least look really really scared?"

"That's what I thought. So what do you think? Is he making it up? He seemed so genuine."

"You said he's a detective? You'd think he'd be smart enough to put in a scream or two if he was lying. No, I think it's more sinister than that."

"You think she expected it? That she knew her abductors?"

"Either that or she'd downed a few too many of the happy pills.

"But they were from Outer Space...Maybe Mars, or I'm guessing Abaradomunikum.

"Where's that?"

"I don't know. I just thought of it. I told you I was guessing." She fingers a belt from Mabel's stack of presents. "This is nice. I assume it's for the flower child."

"Margaret, yes."

Margaret is the fourth sister, the youngest one, who has lived with Mabel since their mother died.

The conversation is interrupted at that moment by a rap at the bedroom door. Mabel calls, "Just a moment." She turns to Mitzi.

"Don't be afraid of love, Mitzi. It can only hurt. But what else is there? We were made to be loved, and to love in our turn. There is no other reason for our existence."

"Don't tell Sharon that," Mitzi says. "She'd tell you somebody's making a profit. Somebody always is."

"She's so cynical."

"She's had a hard life. It's made her a little bitter."

Mabel throws a bathrobe over the presents on the bed."Well. Don't you go there. You have so much more love to experience in your life."

"Whatever else, I have Randi."

"Yes. You're blessed there."

The rap on the door is louder. "Mo-om. The cake is burning!"

"Omigosh!" exclaims Mabel, rushing to the door. "I totally forgot about it!" She hurries out, leaving Mitzi alone to mull over life, love and alien abductions. And maybe to snoop around for her Christmas presents, if she is so inclined.

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