When I was 8, I had a killer doll for an imaginary friend–two, actually. The one that was “mine” I stole from Stuart Gordon; in my head, she was a tiny thing with a big knife who wore a yellow raincoat. In reality, she was a not-tiny My Child doll whose haunted stare seemed perfect for someone who killed people when I wasn’t lookng. Her name was Francine–from some mostly-forgotten Arthur book, maybe–and she spoke with a lisp. The other doll, her brother, was Chucky.
The Francine-in-my-head had a problem; someone lit the glass case she lived in on fire. Her porcelain face popped off, revealing a not-very-dollish skull underneath. (Which is, of course, the Stuart Gordon-inspired doll equivalent of showing up to school in your underwear. Perhaps this is why she turned to a life of surreptitious crime). Francine couldn’t remember who did it, but she had plenty of theories, which her real-life stand-in and I acted out.
“Maybe it wathn’t a kid with a thsparkler, after all,” she’d say when we’d finished. “Maybe a dog ran by and knocked over a candle.”
By the time Francine left, I was twelve and she’d become a textbook Hannibal Lecterish sociopath, despite my never having seen or read about one. Her glibness, her unconcern with hurting other people’s feelings made her a veritable Barbara Walters: she interviewed all kinds of imaginary beings whose names I don’t remember, and asked them tough questions. She might have made some of them cry. (In third grade, the other kids started playing less games at recess and talking to each other more. I found conversation-having much more difficult than game-playing, and while other kids tried to include me, both parties got frustrated and would give up. Perhaps Francine’s interviews were practice for me).
But Francine was not so heartless as to leave me without an equally glib and sarcastic replacement. She even let this replacement have her brother’s name, although said replacement tends to change sex like clothing. (I don’t think xe is transgender; xe just likes to annoy me. Or maybe xe is transgender/genderqueer in a uniquely imaginary-person way…and likes to annoy me. Case in point: one reason there are so few comics is because xe has been a boy for the last several months).
**Holy homunculus, Batman! This post was supposed to be about something else entirely.