Monday 9 March 2020

Misplaced Barbie

by Sheila Fox

nespresso coffee 

Alexa hitched up her skirt and clambered over the small garden wall in front of her. She felt ruffled. Her hairstyle had been blown to pieces by the hurricane like wind which somehow had lifted her up and out of her comfortable corner in Mrs Barrington- Smythe’s state of the art kitchen and landed her in front of this very ordinary looking semi-detached house. She looked down at herself- she wasn’t used to wearing skirts and pink high heeled shoes,  nor to having breasts, certainly not  pert breasts like these and under a skin tight mauve T-shirt. Alexa was used to just being a disembodied voice, non the less a very important disembodied voice ready to obey Mrs Barrington-Smythe at the drop of a hat. Mrs Barrington-Smythe could not manage without her, she knew that. She carried out that woman’s every command precisely and succinctly and sometimes added a little more, like making her one of those extra strong expressos that she liked. 

Let’s be clear, Alexa did not actually make the coffee, she ordered the nespresso machine to make it when she noticed that Mrs Barrington-Smythe was looking a little under par. Alexa prided herself in being not only obedient and efficient but also sensitive to the feelings and needs of the humans she worked for. But that was before, before she was whirled into this second dimension, looking, as she thought, like some oversized Barbie doll. She touched her hair- yes, curly- and glimpsed a strand of it- golden yellow- and what-long shapely legs! Ah well, she’d been offered an adventure, so here goes. She picked her way delicately across the rather unkempt garden-these leg things were indeed quite useful- and noticed that the back door was open. 

Here goes- Alexa stepped tentatively across the threshold. 

“Oh my god, is this meant to be a kitchen? Is my sister Siri in charge here? She always was slapdash,”  Alexa thought as she looked around at the untidy work surface, a chipped mug still half full of coffee, a plate with the remains of a sandwich on it, an open packet of cereal, no less than four dirty tea cups, a jar something that looked as if it might be coffee but was not a bit like the delicious nespressos that Alexa was used to. As for the sink, full of dirty plates, and where, she wondered, was the dishwasher? Then something caught her eye- a calendar, open at March, but the year, 1959. 

“My god”, thought Alexa, “I’ve been transported back in time, back sixty years. Just then a plump, rosy cheeked woman wandered into the room and walked over to the sink. She took no notice of Alexa, in fact she behaved as if she hadn’t seen her. 

“Hello”, said Alexa but the woman continued to ignore her and began to fill the sink with water. Alexa recoiled in horror as the woman squirted some kind of soapy fluid into the hot water and plunged her hands into the sink. 

“I don’t believe it,” Alexa exclaimed. ”She’s going to wash those greasy plates by hand!” She sank onto the nearest chair whereupon a small child ran into the room and proceeded to sit on top of her. Then she realised, she must be invisible, in fact, she didn’t exist. No-one said  “ Alexa, turn on the lights, Alexa, turn on the heating. It was plain to see that for these people of 1959 she did not exist! How was she going to get back to 2020? All she had now was her glamorous Barbie style outfit. Here she was of no use to anyone!

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