Malibu Barbie

by Jenny Butler


The door was locked. Yet, they got in. On August 9 of 1969, the murder tag-team somehow got past my locked door and into my house. On that same door, unlocked, they would write the word PIG in my blood.

Some say the package of life you are given on Earth contains the exact nature and weight of a burden designed for you to lift, and only you. You are only given what you can handle and your life is predestined. I don’t know why I was given so much darkness. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a fairy princess. I would sit in the garden among the white lilies and I’d imagine myself as an adult. In my little girl mind the adult version of me was a taller type of me, doll like, in a voile dress. I had a long golden shimmering dress and stunning blonde hair like sunshine (my hair is naturally chestnut brown). I was adorned with sequins, shiny streaks in my hair like bits of tinsel except finer, and I had massive gossamer wings. In my mind’s eye, fairy-princess-me was surrounded by gorgeous light scents, pretty colourful flowers, and loving gazes. Fairy-princess me was beauty and purity incarnate. It is all I have ever wanted, to be pure and good and beautiful to behold.This world, I discovered to my dismay, is ugly at its core. Life is disgusting and extortionate and cruel. I can’t look at a flower now without thinking how it will wilt, smell wet and sodden, and go brown. Consider the drooping lily.

It was funny in a way that I did become a big doll-like version of me, one that lived in a Valley with other “dolls”. Glamorous, pill-popping dolls! If I am there, the badness will come.

Once I hit my mid-twenties, I became out of step with all that I was, dropped out of pace with the world. Before then, I used to drive along the Pacific Coast Highway with my head full of dreams of being a famous movie-star, having people adore me. I’d walk along the beach in bare feet, twine around my foot and looped around my toe in an imitation sandal. My toe looked like a little fat body in a noose. That fake sandal was the fakest thing I could do, honestly! Everything I do is with absolute rectitude. I may do stupid things, I may be naïve, but I am one hundred per cent real.

Studio guys, photographer guys, they think I’m a dumb blonde. I just don’t have any problem with nudity or sex. I’ve never been a prude. I’ve always found it strange that little kids are allowed to watch people murder one another on TV but they aren’t allowed to watch two lovers be naked together. In this world, being a murderer is accepted easier than being a blonde bombshell. The studio guys think I’m sexy but stupid. I’ve overheard them:“only got where she is because she married the director”. Over time, I couldn’t walk along the beach or seek solace in the sea without my mind jumping to how the waters would become turbulent and violent, how people were going to drown! When I was a child, I loved robins and watched them in garden hopping about. I thought them sweet, red-breasted and chubby. As an adult, I read about their viciousness, their territorial and mean nature. Male robins will peck at a rival’s nape to sever his spinal cord. Thinking of how a creature so innocent in appearance can have such murderous intent inside makes me frightened. I found out the robin is a harbinger of death!

I’m nervous and I feel I draw ugliness out of the beauty around me. I’m very sensitive to bad situations, can sense something bad is coming. I always overhear things I’m not supposed to. This world makes me sick to my stomach.

My director, being my husband, is a source of stress. Some days when he comes home after being on set, it’s like a bomb going off but the shrapnel never landing; an outburst and then this eerie stillness where you’re waiting for the follow up aggression that doesn’t come. He would fall asleep or be reading scripts. I loved him but there was so much bad that I could sense. I used to pretend it wasn’t there, that he wasn’t cheating, that his eyes didn’t rest for much too long on girls who were far too young. Even when the puzzle pieces came together, I ignored it. We’d get into a loop where he would lie to me and I would pretend I believed it, and around and around we would go. Acting schedules, missing cues, close-ups, cutaways—it’s easy to shut your eyes to the problem when you barely have enough time to shut them to sleep!Each instance I tried to forget, brush it off, pretend it never happened, but it took its toll in emotion and time spent worrying. I got so thin from stress the press called it “hippy chic” and I started a trend!

I always think that one should live for today. Then, tomorrow is taken care of because we’ll always be alive just for today. As such, every sunrise is a new start for me but every shining ray gets blotted out by some dark force. The badness always gets in to every today.

For the Devil film we went to a beautiful chateau. My love of architecture and history combines in my love of castles. The fairy-princess version of me lives in one, of course. It has both candles lighting and twinkling chandeliers. It has walk-in closets for my many voile dresses and hoop skirts, burnished gold wands with crystal tops. My fairy-tale castle shifted to being in the French countryside where it smelled like lavender. I bought pots of lavender for our home in California. Even though the plants received eight hours of full sun in the Canyon, they never flowered. There was just too much negativity emanating from me for it to bloom, I guess.

My final day on Earth started out as a lovely one. I spent the afternoon and early evening with my close friend (and one-time boyfriend) and our friends. I was eight-and-a-half months pregnant. One of the maternity outfits I bought was a twist front kimono with sequins that made me think of my fairy-princess alter-ego. Maybe I would have kept the badness at bay had I worn it that night. Or maybe nothing could have stopped it happening. The bad came for me, the evil troupe sought me out. They took the beauty and the good right out of my insides. They took the life and the purity and the goodness and sliced it in two. I could never keep anything good in me. I never, ever, planned anything that has ever happened to me.

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Jenny Butler
Jenny Butler's writing is inspired by secrets, conspiracies, and dead celebrities. She has had short stories published in more than twenty literary journals and is currently working on two short story anthologies. You can read more about her on her website



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