Back in the day when Star Trek first aired and there was no way anyone could tell you what the entire episode was about in the first 5 seconds and jokes about the crewmen in redshirts were still far in the future, the biggest, the best, the doll every little girl worth her salt asked for that Christmas was Baby Tahnoose.
Baby Tahnoose had bouncy blond curls and ivory skin and huge unnaturally blue eyes that were painted onto her plastic face along with her improbably pink lips by a machine the factory workers in Iowa called, for no particular reason, Shirley.
Baby Tahnoose had been modeled after a real girl name Dennie Cahill and she came in a box with an extra fancy dress and buckle shoes and a brush with a cat stamped on it’s handle.
Most people would never know that Dennie ( nicknamed Tahnoose ), the beloved child of the Cahill Family, the child whose face was the face that embodied the perfect child had smothered her new born baby sister because Dennie was a true psychopath by the time she was six years old and guess what- she didn’t need a reason for what she did and she never really gave one.
Anyway, Baby Tahnoose was the toy that every little girl in America wanted under her Christmas tree that year- most of they would have said they’d kill for one, which is pretty funny when you think about it.
The very same year that Star Trek and Baby Tahnoose made their debuts Gail and Sam Burns lived in a new house in a new subdivision called View Ridge where the yards and foundations of older homes had been buried under concrete and a school and a church and the new City Hall had been built over their remains.
Everything about Gail and Sam’s was life was executed to perfection- from the shade of Gail’s bleached blond hair, to the Martinis that Sam mixed for their friends when they came over to sit by the Pool when the evenings were perfect for that sort of thing.
Their daughter, Marina had been crafted to perfection too- not a hair on her head was ever out of place, her knee socks clung obediently to her calves her dresses never got wrinkled her shoes were never scuffed.
So when Gail saw those adds for that doll, that doll that was crafted to represent the perfect child…she just new they had to have one under their tree too.
Later on Christmas morning Baby Tahnoose took her place on a white canopy bed in the most perfect bedroom any little girl could have wished for.
The walls had been painted the faintest shade of pink and the pictures hanging from them were in simple white frames and the window was covered with lace curtains.
There was a music box on the dressing table with a ballerina that popped up and started to dance when you opened it- the box contained real jewelry- little pearl earrings and a necklaces with tiny gold crosses and flowers and a charm bracelets all them came from the finest jewelry store in Evanston
The shelves were lined with beautifully illustrated story books ( hardcovers of course ) and stuffed animals ( rabbits and ponies and bears ) all of the animals were as bright and colorful as the day they were brought home from the toy store.
The room was perfect absolutely perfect.
A few days after Christmas Gail was in Marina’s room. She had just finished making the bed and after several failed attempts finally found the perfect pose and the perfect spot to place Baby Tahnoose when Marina appeared at the door and cleared her throat.
Gail spun around, ” What’s the matter, are you coming down with a cold?”
” No. I fell when I was coming home from Maggie’s house and I skinned my knee. See?”
Gail looked down and saw that her daughter’s knee had indeed been scrapped and her white knee sock was sprinkled with blood.
” Maggie’s Mom put a band aid on it. I thought that was kind of her, wasn’t it?” Marina said with the same colorless voice Gail used.
Gail looked at the band aid and winced.
” That won’t do Marina, it will not do. Come with me and let me fix that.”
Marina looked down and then she saw what her Mother saw.
The band aid was crooked.
” Let’s go to the bathroom and fix this. Right now. Right this instant.”
Gail brushed by her daughter and Marina followed her down the hall into the bathroom where a few minutes later the water in the tub started to run.
View Ridge for almost 20 golden years was the neighborhood that was the jewel in the crown of Evanston- and then people started to move away because Ferndale had a bigger and better crown and along with many of their other neighbors Gail and Sam left too.
They were long gone when Gail’s perfectly crafted home was pulled down to make another perfect house for another perfect family. Only on the final walk through one of the demolition crew was up in the attic and found something wrapped in plastic and bedspread covered with a daisy print and mold.
He pulled some of the wrapping back and he stopped when he saw a sock and a band aid still attached to a small mummified leg.
Gail and Sam moved away to a brand new house in a brand new suburb and their lives spun on with clock like precision.
Gail’s hair is still colored to perfection, Sam still serves his drinks mixed with skill and their house is decorated and furnished to showroom standards and upstairs in their daughter’s room their child, their perfect child crafted and created by a machine named Shirley in Riverside Iowa stares out of her lace covered window and I think that if Baby Tahnoose has a single thought in her perfectly crafted head, she’s probably very glad she will never skin her knee.