Tuesday, January 19, 2016

All My Toys: Powder Puff Girls

Dear Diary,

My toes are black and blue on account of working a series of long shifts in heels. I should have known better. I'm no longer a spring chicken. I can't wear these contraptions on my feet like I'm some kind of Barbie doll. I'm a human being. Anyways, aside from work I haven't been up to much. I've been neglecting my toy collection. I feel bad that everything is packed in boxes from the move back to my parent's place. I just can't return to my magical toy world. Right now I am stuck in the real world. And right, right now I need to get back to my counter because my break is up.

-Michael Lynn

Michael: (over the loud speaker) Attention Lacy's customers! Head to the cosmetics department for a beauty treat. If you spend thirty seven or more dollars in Bella Beauty products you will receive a free 7 piece gift with all your favorites to get you ready for the Spring. Our number one velvet mascara is so sumptuous it will have people asking, "Where did you get those lashes!" From the hide of a mink you'll reply! Find out what other beauty must haves will be in your free gift with purchase now, only at Bella Beauty. As always, thank you for shopping at Lacy's.

Michael: I think that was good. I'm getting the hang of this loudspeaker thing.

Michael: Now all I need is for the customers to come a runnin. Come on customers, where are y'all? I can't fail. I've already failed too much.

Jade: Ok get 'em good Michael! Your message is hilarious. If that can't bring customers in to that tired old Bella Beauty line I don't know what will.
Michael: A lot is riding on this. Lacy's has yet to hire someone for the Bella Beauty counter, and Rose keeps telling me they'll create a position for me now that the holidays are over. If I can save this cosmetics counter, I'll prove to them I'm great to stick around.

Jade: I can't believe they haven't given you an actual position yet. You mean to tell me you aren't getting commission or nothing on the stuff you sell?
Michael: Nope.
Jade: You are the weirdest person. I would have found another job by now.

Michael: Look, I'm not going anywhere. This is all I have right now.
Jade: Yeah but girl, come on, they can't have you as seasonal anymore. It's the end of January. We're about to be in February, you've more than proved yourself. The other girls are getting positions left and right.
Michael: Well it will happen.

Jade: Ok, well you keep being optimistic and I'll keep counting my coins as I sell the hell out of some make up for Lalique.

Michael: I am so jealous of you. You work for the best line.
Jade: Why of course darling, I'm just too fabulous for words. (they both laugh)
Michael: You're so funny. What are you doing when you get off tonight?

Jade: I am meeting my boo for some one on one time. What about you?
Michael: I was hoping to get to a nail salon and get a pedi. My toes look wrecked. I just don't think any place will be open.
Jade: You want the name to my place? They do a great job.
Michael: Nah, I think I'll try one of those places by that lady named Pro. She's got a little nail salon empire going on across town.
Jade: Who is Pro?
Michael: You know, Nails By Pro. She has one on, like, every block.

Jade: Girl, bless your heart. Pro is short for professional. As in nails by a professional. Those are not some chain of nail salons.

Michael: Are you serious? I thought Pro was a real person. I had a whole backstory and everything!

Jade: You are too much.

Michael: Now I'm sad. I thought Pro was some lady from Vietnam or something and she came to the U.S. without a dollar to her name and ended up working hard and becoming this bad ass business woman with a chain of nail salons and a younger male lover.

Jade: Oh, a younger male lover huh? You need a vacation, and maybe a young lover yourself.
Michael: Yeah. I wouldn't turn one down. (gasps) The vacation! I meant to say the vacation!
Jade: Have you gotten all your stuff moved out of the house you shared with your husband?
Michael: No. I have a few more boxes to load up. It hasn't been an easy process.

Jade: Sounds like it. What did he do?
Michael: I can't even begin to explain.

Jade: Wait, here comes the manager, I need to get back to my counter. Hey Rose!

Michael: Hi Rose.

Rose: Hi ladies. Great job on the announcement Michael. I think you should do the voices for every counter. There's an enticing amount of fun you bring to the beauty department.

Michael: Thanks. I'm actually glad you are here, I was wanting to talk to you about something.

Rose: Sure, what's up?

Michael: Has there been a position open yet for me? I don't mean to be bugging you about this, it's just now that Lacy's wants me here after the holidays, I would like to know where I stand.

Rose: I promise you we are figuring it out. What will happen is that we will have you interview for every cosmetic brand here, and once one has picked you, we'll work on getting you a new position as well as finally getting signed up for commission and an increase in pay.

Michael: When should I expect these interviews to start?

Rose: I'm not sure, but trust me, we'll get this worked out. We can't lose you! You're needed here.

Michael: (nods) Right. I'm needed here. Ok. Thanks Rose.

Rose: No problem. Now I have to check some other departments. I left a new box of product for you to go through. Keep up the great work.

Michael: Thanks.

???: Psst. Psst.

Michael: Hi, welcome to Lacy's how can I help you? April?!

April: Yeah, can you recommend a good bronzer? I'm joking. M, what the hell is going on?

Michael: April, I'm not M here. I'm Michael. This is my job. Why are you here?

April: You left us. M, it's bad. You've been gone too long and the world is not the same.

Michael: My world here is not the same. I can't go back. I have to stay in this world.

April: You have to come back. Please, we're fading away.

Michael: Don't you see? I'm fading. I need to be in this world or there won't be anything left at all. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, but I can't go back.

Jade: Michael, who are you talking to?
Michael: Excuse me?

Jade: I heard you mumbling just now. I thought you were talking to a customer, but no one is there.

Michael: Oh... I was humming a song.

Jade: (looks concerned) Ok girl. Well, don't look now but you have a customer.
Michael: I do? Thanks for letting me know.
Jade: Sure you're ok?

Michael: Perfectly fine.

Michael: Hi, welcome to Lacy's, how can I help you?
Customer: Yes, I need an organic talc free face powder that's inexpensive.

Michael: The only thing we have is a hypoallergenic face powder, I'm not entirely sure if there is talc or not. Or even if it's organic. I'm not sure make up can be organic. I guess it could, but to be honest I have no real clue.

Customer: Don't you work here? How do you not know anything?

Michael: I apologize, I was working in fragrance for the last few months, so I'm still getting the hang of the cosmetics side.

Customer: That's fine. Whatever. I'm sure it will say on the box. How much is the hypoallergenic one?

Michael: I believe it's twenty four dollars.

Customer: That's insane! You don't have anything cheaper? Can I use a coupon?

Michael: I'm sorry, the cosmetics department does not accept Lacy's coupons.

Customer: (snaps) Than why does Lacy's send them to me? I won't accept that. I've never heard of such a thing. I want to use my 20% off coupon on the powder and if you won't do it I'll get a manager to make this right since you can't do a damn thing.

Michael: Ma'am, I'm sorry, but it says on the coupons that they do not work in the cosmetics department. There are restrictions.

Customer: This is ridiculous. I don't even know why I shop here. I'm going across the street to Billairds. What a waste of my time. Oh and another thing, you did the make up announcement right?

Michael: Yes.

Customer: Get someone else to do it, your voice sounds husky. It's unflattering.

Michael: Oh. Ok. Have a nice day. (sighs) You can't win everyone. It will be ok. Just remember, I'm needed here.

Customer: Hi, do you do makeovers?
Michael: Hello! Yes, I do!

Customer: Do I have to purchase anything?

Michael: We ask that you at least buy three products, but technically we are obligated to give you a free makeover. (whispers) I'm not supposed to let you know that, but I want to be fair.

Customer: Oh I'll buy something. Can you just fix me up though? I've got a special night tonight.

Michael: That sounds fun! Come on, I'll help you. I'm Michael by the way.

Customer: Michael? That's a boy name. You don't look like a boy.

Michael: (walks around the counter) I'm not. I was named after my dad.
Customer: Why would your parents do that? Seems odd.

Michael: It's just my name. There are other women named Michael. It's not Earth shattering.

Customer: If you say so.

Michael: What kind of look were you wanting?

Customer: I want a smoky eye with eye liner and mascara. I want a full brow. I don't really have eye brows, so I want new ones drawn on. Make them even. I can spot a crooked brow a mile away. I can't have uneven brows drawn on, tonight is very important. I also want a full face of foundation. Please cover up these spots on my cheeks. I also need blush and an ombre lipstick style, like in the magazines.

Michael: I'm not sure I know how to do an ombre lip exactly. And could I write down everything you need done? I don't want to forget anything.

Customer: Aren't you a makeup artist? That's your job. Isn't that why you are here?

Michael: Not exactly. I'm not a makeup artist. I'm here because I was once a marriage and family therapist. I messed my therapy license renewal date up with my continuing education credits so my license to practice expired. I lost my job. After five months of searching, Lacy's was the only job I could get hired for. I've only ever put makeup on my own face. Putting makeup on others is actually terrifying. I will have to handle sharp pencils around your eyes to make you look pretty which means you are running the risk of becoming eyeless. I also can't sleep at night so if you don't lose an eye, the eyeliner for sure will be crooked since my hands are jittery. I don't want to start on how bad your brows will probably look when I'm done with them. I'm a mess. I was so focused on trying to make my marriage work and find some level of happiness that I let the rest of my life fall into the sewer. My soon to be ex husband thinks I was using him for seven years so that I could divorce him and steal our charger plates from the dining room. In all reality he is no longer attracted to me, he actually never was but thought I'd be a safer bet than the trash he used to date before he met me. We were happy for a moment but he realized he couldn't handle the massive amount of toys I own, among other things. I also talk to those toys, which has been a bit of a problem with my family as they feel I am certifiably insane. I am a thirty something year old woman with no fucking clue what I am doing with my life. That's why I'm here. This place is saving me.

Customer: Ok, too much info. Everyone has problems. So can you do my face up or not?

Michael: (smiles) Let's beat it into a glam submission.

Customer: What did you just say?

Michael: Oh my, I'm sorry, it was just an expression. It's what the younger employees say, beating your face just means applying the powder puff  and eye shadows to epic proportions.

Customer: Honey bunch, I'm just messin with ya. You need to relax more.

Later, at home and dressed in mismatched pajamas...

Michael: (on a speaker phone) I would have loved to have hung out tonight, but I was just too tired. Maybe tomorrow night?
Patrick: Sure. David and I will be around.

Michael: Thanks. Hey. Did you know that those Nails By Pro stores are not owned by a lady named Pro? It stands for professional.
Patrick: Yeah. Everyone knows that.

Michael: I didn't.
Patrick: Oh Nana. You're so old.

Michael: Love you too Patty Cakes. Talk to you tomorrow. Bye!
Patrick: Bye.

Mrs. P: Hey honey, we're home.
Michael: Oh, hey mom. How was dinner?

Mrs. P: Dinner was a disaster. I get so tired of these big dinner events. All anyone wants to talk about is their grandchildren or how the world is ending. I tell them they need to come to my house and see what the end of the world really looks like with all these boxes of toys everywhere.

Michael: Mom, I promise, I'll get everything out of the way.

Mrs. P: Please do. I can't keep living like this. Your father and I love you being back, but I'm not living in a cluttered disorganized house. You might like living with all that trash around you, but it won't happen here.

Michael: Mom, please stop. I'm exhausted. I just started moving back here a week ago. It is going to take me some time.
Mrs. P: I don't have much time. How many more boxes are you bringing over from your old house?

Michael: (lies) Only a couple more.

Mrs. P: Michael, why do you have so much stuff? Do you think you might need to get rid of some of those toys?

Michael: I'm not even entertaining the thought.

Mrs. P: You just have so much! I worry about you. This isn't normal.
Michael: I got rid of other things. I've donated a ton of my shoes and clothes to Goodwill. I've tossed out so much stuff. I'm really trying to make sacrifices ok?

Mrs. P: But you're going to keep the toys?

Michael: You can't ask me to get rid of those items. You just can't.

Mrs. P: Of course not. My grown daughter has turned this house into a Toysrus.
Michael: It's not that bad mom.

Mrs. P: Mm hmm. Just be lucky we said you could come back here.
Michael: I know, and I am. Where's dad?

Mrs. P: In his cave watching television. Probably sleeping already. I'm getting ready for bed. Have a good night my love.

Michael: Good night mom.

She sits still thinking about how fast her life has changed in the course of a few months. 

Thoughts both good and bad rush through her mind overwhelming her. She can feel her eyes holding back a Mortal Kombat sized tournament, emotions fighting for the first drop to spill.

Michael: Don't you dare cry. Don't you dare cry. It could always be worse. Don't be stupid and cry. You will figure this all out. You always do.

She sits there alone whispering to herself, trying to muster the strength to figure out what she will do next.

Eventually she stops lying to herself and gives in as the tears roll out one by one. Her hands quickly cover her mouth to prevent the sobs from echoing in the kitchen. She isn't alone though. She's never alone.

They are there with her, those tiny pieces of plastic. Some are trapped in bubbled boxed prisons. Others are casually on display in unique places throughout the house.

She has no idea where they will eventually all go. It causes so much anxiety that she feels as if her chest will burst.

A head spinning so fast with pulses of light flashing in her eyes, she can only hope that their worlds will be linked again soon.

To be continued!

All My Toys is back in a new way for 2016. Miss a beat, and well, you'll miss a new fresh face! Take care everyone.


  1. This...was awesome! I loved it! Billaird's shoppers are the worst sort of people.

    1. Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed it. Billaird's is just the worst. lol I have a lot of fun things in store with this. Hope you are doing well!

  2. I adore your vision. I imagine you working on each photo. I know I recognize Crystal from Dynasty? Am I right?

    1. Thank you! I have a blast putting these photos together. That is Krystle from Dynasty! I needed a more mature doll. lol Krystle it was! Hope you have been doing well!

  3. Glad to see you're back at it for the new year!

    You weren't kidding when you said this was going to be a more personal story!

    I'll spare the details, but its eerie how your retail experience mirrors a lot of my own moments this summer learning the retail ropes while drawing caricatures at the park.

    Kudos on the camera work you've got going on here! Starting with the camera panning out from your face to show the wider world at work, then gradually zoom back in to your "head space" when the fantasies start to set back in. It's a remarkably subtle touch.

    *sniff* excuse me, my eyes at getting watery. Must be this arid winter. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

    1. Hey Erik! It is a more personal story. I wasn't sure if I should tell it or not, but I know people have asked and I also feel like there are aspects to this that other people will relate to and enjoy.

      I try to make each picture have some sort of story to tell. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not, I am glad you get something out of them.

      Retail is an interesting working experience. I've had numerous retail experiences but the one with the cosmetics department was something else. I hope you are doing well!

  4. col new take on the all my toys world. love the new look for toy miss m. a little bit of art imitating life you have going michele

    1. Thank you demoncat! I hope it will be a fun new story. I have some fun places that it will go to. I thank you for the comment and I really hope you will keep following along. There will be a lot of art imitating life. Hope all is well!

  5. As painful as this story is for M-I gotta say, the dolls you are using to represent you, are vey nearly as sexy as you are in real life! Sure,Toy Miss M is adorbs, but these dolls are more Barbie style sexy! I think you will be going back to the old style when you reconnect with April and your other toy friends but I LOVE the fact that you used these sexy dolls to represent the real life Michael! So true!!
    And don't blame anyone for giving you flack about the whole you being named Michael thing! It's just a tough name for anyone to get! (Much like Nick Moose!) when I was writing that Mac Tonight article with you, I showed it to my mom and she pretty much said, "Are you are SURE she's a girl!?" Well, I am pretty sure you are one! And one of the BEST ONES EVER! Glad to see you back writing again!
    Now it's time to bust out your Fluppy Dog!! Haha!

    1. I have been on the hunt for awhile now involving Barbie dolls that have similar features to myself. I wanted to make this part of the toy world more realistic. lol I'm not going to say a word on if things will go back to the old Miss M or not. lol

      I like your rationale about the name thing. It is tough name and I used to hate it but I rock the hell out of it now as an adult. I am too old to really care. lol Your mom is funny. lol I like her comment.

      I have not forgotten about the Fluppy Dog! It's in one of my plastic bins and I just need to not be lazy and get it out. I will do this! I promise! lol Thanks for reading. I hope you are doing well.

  6. Wow, I'm speachless! This is my favorite story of yours! A lot of real hard hitting reality mixed in with some good old fantasy magic.

    I love the idea of toys with their own toys. I love putting Mighty Max figures in the hands of larger toys for this reason. :)