The challenge: can a short story (possibly a small series of short stories) be created out of a vintage Barbie commercial from the early 1960s?
The answer: at the Literary World of Tom Raimbault, this certainly is possible. What you will read, below, just might evolve into a small collection of Barbie doll stories.
Have a great weekend!
One Friday night, at Barbie's dream house, Barbie lay on the floor of her bedroom, alone, while studying the many photos in her modeling portfolio. You see, Barbie is a highly successful teenage model. She travels the world and earns on average a million dollars per shoot. She's been on the front cover of many fashion magazines; been featured on billboards, and has even appeared on TV commercials.
So why would someone as successful as Barbie need to study her modeling portfolio?—you might ask? Was she looking for the perfect head shot to send to an agency?
No, Barbie doesn't need to impress a modeling agency in hopes to find work like an average commercial print model. She actually has a personal agent who receives countless requests every day for Barbie to do shoots. Whoever bids the highest, wins a shoot with Barbie.
How about studying her countless poses and headshots while thinking of ways to take her career to the next level?
Well... come on... How much further can the world's most successful teenage model take her career? The next step would be acting and appearing in movies. And Barbie doesn't want to do that.
So why was Barbie lying on her bedroom floor on a Friday night, studying her modeling portfolio? Well, you see, Barbie has a little problem with making friends at school. Yes, although she is a highly successful teenage model, Barbie attends the local high school like all the other kids in her neighborhood. But being that she's a model, most of the girls at school are jealous. And Barbie spends many nights with her burning question in mind of why kids don't like her. She often does this while studying her portfolio.
As for the boys, they are only after one thing. They automatically assume that a female model is nothing more than a sex object. Oh, there are nice boys who truly like Barbie for who she
"I look so pretty in this shot." sadly commented Barbie to herself. "And I bet all the other girls at school would love to wear an outfit like this. I get plenty of clothing gifts and accessories from fashion designers, and would love to share them with everyone. I mean you think more kids would like me." Barbie sighed, turned the page and examined another photo of herself playing tennis on the court.
Just then the doorbell rang downstairs.
"Barbie!" called out Mother.
"What????" shouted Barbie in a somewhat irked voice.
"Come down here and see who's at the door."
Who could it have been? Whenever Mother ordered Barbie to see who was at the door, it was usually a surprise visitor for Barbie. It couldn't have been Ken. He was in Hong Kong, and wouldn't return to America for a couple of days.
Like a teenage girl, Barbie skipped down the stairs of her dream house in anticipation of who might have been at the door. When finally opened: SURPRISE, there stood her friend, Midge!
"Friend?"—you might ask in a challenging tone of voice. "But I thought Barbie doesn't have friends."
Yes, despite how Barbie complains that she doesn't have any friends, she actually has Midge who has been a close friend for a number of years. You know how teenagers are: they think they don't have friends—depends on what mood they are in.
"Oh, hi, Midge." greeted Barbie with a somewhat confused look on her face.
"Hi!" returned Midge.
And then the two stood there in an awkward few seconds of silence. Barbie couldn't remember inviting Midge over.
"Did we have plans?" asked Barbie.
"Your Mom told me to come over." explained Midge in a somewhat nervous tone of voice. You see, Mother is often concerned with Barbie. Barbie isolates herself, and rarely goes out with friends. Mother is friends with Midge's mother, and often requests that Midge come over to spend time with her daughter.
Barbie sighed, "Well come on in." Then she explained upon closing the door. "I wasn't doing anything terribly important. I was just studying my modeling portfolio.”
"Oh, how exciting." answered Midge. Midge is thrilled that Barbie is a highly successful teenage model, and really adores her for this.
Well... then again... that's only partly true. You see, this is what people are made to think. Both Mother and Midge's mother re-assert Midges adoration to Barbie. And to be nice, Midge goes along with it—pretends to be thrilled that Barbie is a successful model. But secretly, that's one of the things that Midge doesn't care too much for with her friend Barbie. It's almost as-if Barbie is supposed to be worshipped. And this sickens Midge.
"Well hello!" cheerfully greeted Mother while stepping into the foyer. She was wearing an apron.
"Hi!" returned Midge with a friendly smile.
"I was just baking some cookies." informed Mother. "They're almost done. In a little bit, I'll order a pizza for you girls."
"Awe... Your mom is so nice." commented Midge. "But maybe Barbie won't be able to eat because she's a model."
Barbie laughed through her lips, "Pff! That's not true. I'm a teenage model. I can eat like a horse and never gain weight."
"That's so very true." reassured Mother. "I don't know how you do it. There's not an ounce of fat on your body. Oh, and the same goes for you, Midge. How do you girls stay so thin?"
Midge shrugged her shoulders.
Then Mother looked over to Barbie to remind her, "Hey, don't forget that you have nearly a wardrobe of designer fashion wear given to you as gifts from all your shoots. Why don't you let Midge try some of these on? She's the same size as you."
It sounded like a great idea to Midge. Often, Midge gets to take some of these clothes home with her to wear at school. But then the other kids tease her, citing that she is Barbie's only friend and obviously got these nice clothes from her. Midge never cared. It was still nice to wear fashionable clothes.
The two skipped upstairs, together, into Barbie's bedroom where they stood before Barbie's walk-in closet.
"Wow, Barbie! Holy crap! You get all this stuff for free?"
"Yup!" affirmed Barbie. "The more popular of a model you are, the more gifts you get from fashion designers. They want you to wear this stuff for them in hopes that other people will notice you wearing them and then buy it themselves."
"Nice deal for you." commented Midge.
"Go ahead!" encouraged Barbie. "Try some stuff on. See, there are benefits to being my friend."
Midge smiled, stepped into the closet and began browsing the many never-worn-before blouses, denim jeans, shorts, sundresses and even swimwear. It was like stepping into a miniature store in the clothing department where she could privately shop around. The best part; it wouldn't be necessary for Mother to pay if she found something she liked.
In the meantime, Barbie lay back down on the floor to examine her modeling portfolio. Within a few minutes, Midge emerged from the closet in a pair of tight shorts with sleeveless t-shirt that showed off her cute figure. She was definitely ready for summer.
"Nice!" encouraged Barbie.
Midge noticed that Barbie was examining pictures of herself from the modeling portfolio. And whenever Barbie introduces or even remotely suggests her modeling career at a particular moment, it's Midges job to show interest. She walked over and commented on an image that was taken during a prom dress shoot. "They made the color of the dress match your pretty eyes." commented Midge.
"Eh... I didn't care too much for the dress." answered Barbie. She flipped the page over to a shoot in which Barbie laughed in the passenger seat of a convertible Corvette. Her long hair freely blew in the wind. Sitting next to her was her boyfriend, Ken.
"And that's the shoot where you met Ken." pointed Midge.
"Yup!" acknowledged Barbie.
"You're pretty lucky to be going out with a male super model like Ken." cited Midge. "I'm sure most of the guys at school are intimidated by him."
"And they should be." agreed Barbie. "Ken is a great guy."
Midge glanced at herself in the mirror and noticed how cute she looked. And she definitely had a nice body. "Hey Barbie..." began Midge. "You know what I don't understand?"
"What's that?" asked Barbie.
"I think I've got some good looks, and I have the same figure you do. I mean I'm fitting into all of your clothes. I've tried getting with a modeling agency, but I just don't have any luck. How come I can't be as successful as you? I mean you would think that some agent at last year's model search conference would have noticed me and selected me as a potential candidate. There were so many people there, and I really think I looked better than a lot of the girls there."
Barbie sighed, "Midge, we've been through this before. And you can't take this personal or let it bring you down. Yeah, you're cute and you've got a nice body. But you don't have the look. You don't have what modeling agencies require right now. And I'm really sorry, but the intellectual girl with short red hair and freckles really isn't in right now. Girls who are in all honors AP classes are not considered sexy or cool. So just be yourself and don't worry about it."
"I know..." agreed Midge while walking back to Barbie's closet that was crammed with designer fashion wear. She did a pretty good job of covering it up; but deep down inside, Midge's feelings were really hurt. Did Barbie actually think like that? Did she really believe that Midge's drive to be a successful, high-achieving student to be uncool and not-so-sexy?
As the evening progressed, Barbie's comment of Midge being un-cool continued to eat away at poor Midge to the point of nearly hating Barbie. Somehow Midge was going to have to prove Barbie wrong. Somehow, Midge would have to find a way to destroy Barbie.
To be continued...