Sambo, or: The Last of the Gibson Girls

    You don’t want that one.

Yes I do, please . . .

Look at it!

Why can’t I—

Just look. What color is it?

Black.

And the mouth?

Red.

And?

Big.

What else?

He’s smiling—

Grinning. What else?

Pretty eyes . . .

Pop eyes, chile, those are pop eyes. Don’t you know who that is?

Just a doll, a funny doll, can’t I have it? . . .

Chile, don’t you recognize an insult when you see one? That’s supposed to be you.

On the bus she eased the new purse out of its wrappings and studied it carefully. It was black and shiny; she could almost see herself in its flat face. She unsnapped the clasp and peeked inside. A little mirror came with the purse; it dangled from a golden chain.

Skin brown. Hair black. Eyes small and far apart. Unsmiling. I don’t look like that—why she say I do? No one said any of those other dolls looked like anybody.

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