Archive for Wednesday, April 18, 2001

I’m afraid I’m guilty as charged

April 18, 2001

The authorities are on their way. I am more than likely marked. The Federal Bureau of Investigation will have to get involved. Manslaughter, I think, will be the charge.

I don't think there were any witnesses. The clothing store was almost empty. The employees were busy stocking polo shirts and flip-flops. It wasn't my fault entirely, with one slight bump his arms just fell off. One appendage hit the floor; the other hung in limbo on the end of his shirtsleeve. In all the commotion, the other guy lost his foot. Twisted right off.

Luckily, because they were mannequins, there was no blood and no screaming.

They both stood there, taking the pain silently, their suave expressions unchanged. I tripped. That was all it took. One off-balanced bump and suddenly I ended two once-capable plastic models' chances to ever model the tank tops or T-shirts, or a left shoe.

The only sounds that arose from the collision were one sharp clank, produced by a plastic forearm hitting the tile and a sliding sound that followed the detached foot down the aisle into the "Misses" section. I immediately ducked.

Feeling guilty for dismembering the mannequins, I picked up the closest garment and headed for the cash register. In hindsight, that was my only incriminating move. When the detectives come to the store and ask for identification, the cashier will describe my features.

"He was tall, brown hair, stubble in the shape of a beard," an artist will sketch my composite, "he had a strange look on his face, like he'd just seen, I don't know, a ghost, or a monster, or a leper."

I had to leave my dorm room. I'm staying in a freight car, but that's all the information I can divulge. I haven't gone back to the crime scene. I just can't bear to see that smooth, tan painted arm lying next to what was, until I came along, a complete man-nequin. And the foot, I just couldn't stand to see the foot. It came to rest next to a rack of halter-tops.

I'm not sure when reentry into society will be safe. A friend of mine is scanning the police blotters. Another friend is parked outside of the clothing store, just to make sure the mannequins don't die. Then I'd be looking at life, at least, maybe more. I can't imagine what a judge might do to a mannequin killer. I read once that a man in Utah was sentenced to 50 years in the front window of "Betty's Burlap Designs" for unscrewing the heads off of the store's mannequins. He had to stand completely still, for eight hours a day, in burlap slacks and suit coats. Supposedly, after a year or two, the burlap no longer itched.

Is that my fate? I hope not. Good Lord willing those mannequins will survive this. With technology the way it is today, surely there are mannequin prosthetics that could guarantee them another shot on the showroom floor. If they are banished to the storeroom, if some snot-nosed mannequin with four limbs takes their place it's solitary for sure.

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