Tasha Coryell’s The Time Marianne Gave Birth to a Plastic Baby

In home economics Marianne learned how to bake cookies and was given a white plastic baby to take home for the weekend to see what it would be like if she gave birth to a plastic body that couldn’t take care of itself.

The plastic baby cried at unpredictable intervals, which Marianne understood because she cried at unpredictable intervals too. Marianne cried at unpredictable intervals because her body was rebelling against her. The plastic baby cried because it had a voice box in its belly.

At the age of fourteen, Marianne thought the cure to crying was having a boy hold her body. The plastic baby thought the cure to crying was having a key stuck in the hole in its back. One of these solutions was more unreasonable than the other.

The white plastic baby recorded how Marianne touched its body. The white plastic baby gives trusted testimony. The white plastic baby never lies. Marianne dropped the white plastic baby. Marianne neglected it while it cried tearlessly. She wasn’t doing such a bad job, she thought. The head was still attached to the body. It still wore the ill-fitting baby clothes meant for a body with skin.

Marianne got an A in cookies and a B- in plastic babies. Next she will learn to sew on buttons. They will talk about the demands of the household.

Marianne would have preferred a carton of eggs. Something she could smash on the sidewalk. Something she could roll over in bed. Something that oozed and smelled when it was left in a hot car for too long.