Monday, November 26, 2007
Chet Baker had a baby, a little stuffed Boston terrier I bought as a puppy placebo for the kids before Chet was weaned and ready to move to Ohio. He had it for several months, which is much, much longer, by months, days and minutes, than he usually keeps a toy. Give Baker a stuffed dog toy and you can count down the seconds before it is reduced to strewn Hollofil, extracted squeaker, and a limp gutless skin on the Berber rug.
But Chet's babeh was different, and it was a testament to his visual nature that he seemed to believe it was somehow real. He treated it like a puppy, sniffing its ears and endlessly licking its face and checking under its tail for any hint of scent that might confirm his belief in its realtude. Of course, the more he loved it the more real it smelled to him. It was his Velveteen Rabbit.
I didn't like to leave Baker alone with his babeh, because he would lick and lick and then nibble and then kind of chew...and I'd take it away and put it on a high shelf, where he'd stare at it for minutes on end, a worried expression on his sweet face. He managed to get one of its eyes out, and then about a week later he done blinded that babeh altogether. I still kept it away from him, even after that, because once the eyes are gone the stuffin' ain't far behind.
But we got distracted by packing for New Mexico, and Baker got ahold of his babeh, and in a few blinding seconds, an orgy of excess, he kilt it. An Otherness crept into his eyes. He done got crazy and kilt it, and he didn't seem to feel in the least bad about it, either. A switch got flipped in my sweet little doggeh and he turned into a babykiller.
You were the one who called it my babeh. It was just a toy, and it was delicious.
Hollofil ball. Gaaak!
Chet's baby, Chet's schmabeh. You cannot make me feel guilty. Boston terriers were born to kill stuffed toys.Having said that, it would be nice to have a real real babeh again...Sometimes I hate myself for the things I do. I am helpless to resist a torn seam. I did not tear that seam. It happened when I kissed his eyeball out. It is not my fault.Ohh, Mether. What have I done?
This is all your fault, for giving me a babeh in the first place. Now I am lonely and I bet you will not buy me another babeh, ever ever ever. You are so mean, and you chuckle at my pain, which is real.I will go to sleep now, my head pillowed on the corpse of what used to be my real real babeh, and dream about a new babeh with eyes and stuffing, waiting for me under the Christmas tree.
Phoebe points out that there is another babeh in the Land of Misfit Toys in our basement. Little Chet's sugarplum dreams may just come true.
Chet Baker will be accompanying us to my show opening at the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art in Millersburg, PA, this coming weekend, Nov. 29-Dec. 1. We'll be at the Center all day Friday and Saturday, and Baker will, too. The 70 works of art will continue to hang at the center through mid-February, 2008.It's a full-blown Zick retrospective. Hope to see you there!