It’s too early in the day and I don’t know why I’m doing this, but I am. Handing me her vape stick, Candy tells me it’s sixty-percent indica dominant, which would either impress or terrify me if I were cannabis fluent. Taking a baby draw that goes nuclear, coughing from the depths of me, outputting smoke like one of those industrial chimneys in Gary. I’m one with the three-sectional, a remote nearby but I’ve no idea what’s on, defaulting to my most basic needs, crushing a leftover sushi roll, pinching goop-coated rice tires with yellowfin tuna wheels with chopsticks, guiding them to my mouth. Kitty gets hungry smelling the food, eating her kitty crackers like cracking open crab claws with her kitty molars, shutting her eyes when she bites down, her head angled for maximum PSI.
Candy is watching me with amusement. I’m either adorable or pathetic, or adorably pathetic. Come on, she says, extending her hand, too far away for me to take, nonverbal instruction to get thee off thy bum. She has drycleaning to pick up, the drycleaning place next to an adult entertainment center we peruse at her playful instigation. I remain close, following her by the fishnet stockings, away from the magazine racks and saloon doors to the peepshows, past the ever-popular do-it-yourself items, dildos and vibrators and butt plugs and hand-held vaginas, Jane Doll with the O-Shaped Mouth™, in a box with a cellophane window displaying her most prominent, trademarked feature.
Next to the stacked boxes of Jane Dolls is a half-inflated, unboxed, real-world facsimile her, webbed hands and feet, in all her glory. At the front half of her perfectly oval cranium a clump of frizzy fake hair the texture of a mule’s tail, pulled to the side in a white, eighties-style scrunchie, the back half of her head painted brown and shiny. Her anime blue eyes, wide and unblinking, as if she’d been held underwater in a moment of passion and inadvertently drowned. In a black bodice, braless, exposing breasts with lipstick-red nipples, in desperate need of several hearty breaths to recapture their perkiness. Her O-Shaped Mouth™, with its kernel-sized, perfectly aligned row of painted-white upper teeth, opened wide, permanently astonished at the extent of human depravity.
I consider the origin of things, in my indica-dominant state sorting it out thusly: Nascent Jane as artist’s rendition, a pencil and paintbrush or pastels depiction by a failed cartoonist arriving at some dour professional inevitability, posed for by a random coffee barista in search of the easiest and best-paying of side hustles, immortalized as a mute and inflatable friend with benefits. The barista in wig and garters, make-up garishly applied, her body stuffed into an ill-fitting bustier, lying on a bed or sitting in a chair with her eyes impossibly wide open, her mouth in the shape of an O.
In the dark ages before Internet porn, the inventor of Jane Doll drawing hair, eyes and a mouth on a beachball, mouth open, drawn with mom’s lipstick, humping it like it’s luxe-haired Paula, coveted by many but the quarterback’s GF, thanks for playing. And how much better everyone feels in later years, when at the reunion the QB wants to know who has a whole life or term policy, and Paula, hair in a mom-bob, going on about her caterwauling kid-bits. The winner in this B-movie scenario is Jane’s creator, for skunk-blasting a beachball smeared with mom’s makeup and inventing Jane Doll with the O-Shaped Mouth™, living famously off the royalties, benefitting from being of the same ilk as the depraved demographic availing themselves of his creation.
When the B-Movie streams well the subsequent push for a sequel: Revenge of the Jane Dolls, a Bergman-esque black-and-white turn ominously scored, the inventor haunted in his dreams by used and abused Jane Dolls. Jane Dolls crowding his bathroom, his walk-in closet, kitchen, wherever he turns a corner there they are, battered and partially deflated, stained, meat-sauced, some with their mule hair missing, some with blonde wigs haphazardly affixed, some with duct-taped arms, legs, torsos, heads, some with headshots of actresses or models taped over their faces, otherwise wide-eyed and unblinkingly ubiquitous.
Jane’s inventor turned successful entrepreneur waking up screaming in the dead of night, increasingly sleep-deprived, the less sleep the more intricate his dreams, nightmares, nightmares and hallucinations conflating ‘til indistinguishable, then the denouement: Returning home, unlocking his front door to find wall-to-wall Jane Dolls waiting for him in open-mouthed, astonished protest, occupying every square foot of his home, Janes spilling out on the front stoop when he opens the door, floating past him. Jane Doll’s creator fitted with restraints, wrestled into the back of a padded white van, pan to a drone shot of the van driving away down a tree-lined street as the final credits roll.
We’re on our way home with Candy’s drycleaning and some edible panties, cranberry flavor. She turns to me at a stoplight, watching me. I’m awfully quiet. What am I thinking about? Working on an idea for a screenplay, I tell her. I’ve even mapped out a sequel. Really, she says with an arched eyebrow, holding out her vape stick. Does this help?