I’m in a boutique toy store, walking with my daughter, when we see it.

It’s a little house that you can open up into four rooms. The colors are pink and blue. I’m trying to make sense of it but my daughter already wants to buy it.

Okay, I say, because I don’t want this thing to get away. There is only one left. It’s our most popular item, the woman at the counter tells me.

I have to lean in to see it. It reminds me of a story I once wrote. It’s a little playland for the never-born. Two plastic fetuses, with dangling rubber umbilical cords, come with the house. You can put them in playpens. Correction: those are coffins. There are tiny white dresses for the girls and black suits for the boys. I understand, finally, that one of the rooms is a funeral chapel. Another is a delivery room, with a little operating table that pops into place. The other two must be crypts but they’re decorated like nurseries. A plastic angel functions as the clasp that keeps the house shut tight when you are done playing.


The story was a joke. Should I sue? They have taken my satire and made it into a toy, and now my daughter wants to play with it.

I’ll tell her the story while we walk home. The facts. How they arrested some of us and kept us for days without counsel. How I got so thirsty I had no tears. How they pushed my head into a flowerpot of loose soil until I almost suffocated. How they played recordings of women and children crying in the background.

Here, I’ll tell her, as I hand the playset to her. Have fun.

Jan Stinchcomb

Jan Stinchcomb

Jan Stinchcomb is the author of the novella, Find the Girl (Main Street Rag, 2015). Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Unbroken Journal, Hypertrophic Literary, Gamut Magazine, Spelk, The Forge Literary Magazine and Storm Cellar. She reviews fairy tale-inspired works in Notes From Rapunzel’s Tower, her column for Luna Station Quarterly, and lives in Southern California with her husband and children.
Jan Stinchcomb

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