Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Past Deadline: Dude and the Barbie Quartet Do Battle

The tale of this Barbie-meets-NEO Shifter epic drama first appeared in The Perth Courier on Wednesday, Jan. 21/09.

Dude and the Barbie quartet do battle

Today I initiated an Epic Battle of Outstanding Proportions (EBOP) while at the in-laws. No, no. It wasn’t an argument about when the tea needed to be made – that would never happen. In fact, it was an intergalactic battle between a mighty NEO Shifters character and a quartet of Barbies.

A NEO Shifter is a weird robot-like creature that has a pile of pieces that snap together. He’s got lots of claws and wings and buttons and stuff. He can change shape.

So the NEO Shifter – let’s just call him Dude – is going around the living room all tough and everything when Mom Ineeda decides to start something, so she grabs a couple of Girlchild’s Barbies – one she calls “Candy,” who dates from the 1970s, and another one with great flowing hair that doesn’t have crazy curls that I would have idolized as a child.

Candy and her gorgeous friend, Stunningly Beautiful, who we’ll call SB for short, start yelling at Dude. “Hey! You don’t scare us! Where you going, you chicken!”

Girlchild, seeing a grand opportunity to be silly, seizes the other two Barbies. She has not shown great initiative in terms of naming these girls, but she calls the ballerina one Charlie. The other, a lovely lass with poker-straight long brown hair that, again, I would have seriously coveted, has no name, so we’ll call her something that doesn’t end in “eeee.” Hm. Dudette it is.

So Girlchild has Charlie, who is dressed in a black and white feathery number that used to belong to my Cher doll. Charlie screeches at Dude, who is shining some kind of laser light thingy at us and shooting us with a dull-tipped dart. Keep in mind, whenever you play Barbies in Girlchild’s world (that’d be DivaWorld for you newcomers), you have to use an incredibly high falsetto voice when one of your characters speaks.

“Hey!” she squeaks, “Come on over here everybody!”

I start flailing SB and Candy around wildly because, of course, they can fly. “I’m going to shoot you with my lightning arms and my laser eyelashes!” I trill to Dude.

Boychild is wielding Dude around the vicinity and having a darned good giggle about the fact he is fending off a fleet of clearly insane dolls. “Oh yeah?” he says, raising Dude’s weird arm and spinning some sort of saw thingy on it, “Well I’m gonna cut off your heads!”

“Oh, no you’re not!” I say, making shooting sounds. “Peow! I’ve got you with my laser eyelashes!”

We clash. There is a clattering of Made in China plastic and Dude’s face falls off. He also loses a wing. It’s no problem, though. He’s a shape shifter, so bits of him are morphing all the time.

“You’re not playing fair,” Boychild mutters. “I shot you but you didn’t fall down.”

“Oh yeah? Well I lasered you and you didn’t fall down,” I say. I’m so very mature about all this.

Girlchild, meanwhile, is making Charlie and Dudette fly through the air while she grins from ear to ear.

“Time for a song!” I falsetto cheerily before launching into “Do-Re-Mi.” We’ve been watching The Sound of Music quite a lot lately, although we never really seem to get much past the wedding scene. Pretty soon SB, Dudette, Charlie and Candy are dancing madly on my knees while Girlchild and I croon together. We sing the “Alphabet Song,” “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” and “So Long, Farewell” while Dude hovers nearby and casts evil menacing glances our way.

“Okay, the party’s over,” SB announces. “Let’s get him!”

Another clash of plastic is followed by another loss of face followed by another musical interlude. Boychild wanders off for a few minutes and while he’s gone I pull a teeny tiny NEO Shifter guy out of Dude’s chest.

“Hey! He just had a baby!” I call. “Dada Dada!”

Boychild leaps back into the scene. “It’s not a baby!” he scolds, folding the creature back into a little ball and tucking it into Dude’s chest. (So THAT’S how you do that….)

Meanwhile, Girlchild has bundled all the girls up in a sweatshirt. I’m told they’re having a short nap interrupted by bad dreams.

With playtimes like these, go figure.

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