The dolls were drinking Jack Daniels and having an argument. The mother doll said she was through with the father doll and had rented a room in another dollhouse. This room was freezing cold, with torn pink curtains; but the dollhouse had witty occupants.
Who are these people anyway? said the father doll.
I don’t know their names yet.
What about your creature comforts?
I have everything I need there.
The father doll got out a notebook, looked at figures, and said he wouldn’t send her any money if she left.
You’ll be out on the streets in no time.
I don’t need your money, said the mother doll. I got a job as a furniture buyer.
A furniture buyer? Be careful you don’t confuse novelty with change.
I don’t. I learned the hard way by watching you.
A new roof isn’t a novelty.
I went back to the kitchen and poured a glass of wine. From the window, I saw my husband and our dog, making their way through the snow. Soon they came in, filling the house with cold, and I told my husband the dolls had been drinking Jack Daniels and arguing.
Do you think they have a drinking problem? he said.
They just try to copy our lives, but they never get anything right, I said. So no, I don’t think so. You’d never say creature comforts, for example.
My husband patted the dog and gave him a biscuit.
Seven people stopped to talk to him, he said. And someone waved from a window.
He’s a good dog, I said.
More than good. He’s the star of the neighborhood.
When my husband said goodnight, I went back to the dollhouse. The dolls had lit candles and were in their four-poster bed, twined in each other’s arms. The sheets were tangled in love-knot and Stevie Wonder was singing You and I. When they saw me they made the covers into a tent and dove inside. I poured more wine and raised my glass to them.
Thaisa Frank has published five books of fiction, most recently Heidegger’s Glasses (a novel, Counterpoint 2010, 2011) and Enchantment (short stories, Counterpoint 2012). Recent publications included work in New Micro (Norton, 2018) and Bloomsbury (2019). She lives in Northern California and is a member of The Writers Grotto.