Sensory Deprivation
Plastic People


(Oh baby, you're such a drag)
By Tim Howard

The bridge game was adjourned early
following a bout of decapitation

Lately, as I've wandered my local shopping center, begging for change and spitting at people, I've noticed a lot of shop window mannequins with their tits out. It's not that I'm ogling them or anything; they're just there, at the corners of my vision, plastic nipples pointing boldly at passers-by, with not a hint of modesty in their eyes. Especially the ones with no head.

What is with these women? These fake women? Their purpose, as I understand, is to model clothes. Why do they require nipples? Are they breeding? This seems highly unlikely, as mannequins with their pants down (oh yes, I've looked) seem to have, in place of genitals, a small lump which doesn't look like it would do much for anyone in the bedroom, even another willing mannequin.

Nipples on male mannequins are less common. So are bodies. Mostly, male mannequins are dismembered groins sitting atop a pair of thigh-trunks, modeling boxers and briefs. Occasionally you'll come across the full-body male mannequin, in a stylish suit and tie, polished black shoes, cufflinks - the works. He's a real go-getter, the kind of guy who drives a luxury sedan, lives in a nice house, and knows how to order dinner for two in twenty-seven languages. Women swoon over him, sending him scented notes and lustful glances, but, as tends to be the way, it's all too good to be true - he's a poor conversationalist and has no dick. And I hear he's gay, anyway.

There are mannequin children, but they're prefabricated there was no love between mummy and daddy mannequin, no stretch marks (or stress fractures), no infant years, crawling around the floor, being told not to go near the stove because they might melt. They simply came into being one day, moulded in a factory before being put to work modeling caps and t-shirts and other juvenile apparel. How they must wish, in the dark moments of closing time, that they could be real children; real children with real arms and legs, with real mummies and daddies. How much do you think it hurts these static kiddies, to see all the live children walking past, skittish and pink, arm-in-arm with their loving parents? I think they probably get quite sad, and maybe a bit angry. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they'd like to murder everybody, if only they could. So it's probably best they can't.

Yes, as I wander and watch, I'm noticing mannequins more and more. They stare through shop glass with their blank eyes, or nippled breasts, or boxered groins. And it's not a nice stare, either. There's bitterness there; hatred. And I don't blame them one bit.

Pure malice

We created mannequins in our own image; and what kind of existence have we given these things, our plastic doppelgangers? We've bequeathed them a life of drudgery and boredom, a daily routine of being stripped and degraded, posed and prodded. Of not knowing, one day to the next, whether they're going to have the same number of limbs as the day before. I wouldn't be surprised if, soon - next year, next month...tomorrow? - the mannequins rise against us, animating in their thousands to smash through shop windows and claw at passing consumers with their smooth, hard hands.

Pray youre not walking down Chapel Street when that happens!