The Unrequited Life of #127

By Sarah Sorensen

Hello, dear friend. I pray that you can hear these thoughts humming within your mind and that you will trust in your own sanity enough to follow the directions that I am about to issue. I implore you to approach the internet, to use a pocket device if necessary or some larger electronic to retrieve the Etsy website. I will appear to you as a two-dimensional image upon your screen, but my selling listing indicates that I will become three dimensional upon your receipt of my person. Please, my name is Hummel Goebel Doctor Figurine #127.

Perhaps I should explain to you the importance of this purchase of my person. Let me begin by introducing myself. To be brief, I awoke last night from a slumber that has left me aware of my horrific paralysis, a state that I am not accustomed to and struggle to endure. Although I have pieced together my present state and used available data to fill in some of the more ambiguous details of my situation, I do not have a memory. I am like an encyclopedia, filled with bounties of knowledge, and yet unaware of myself. That is to say, I was unaware of myself until I awoke to the realization of my own thingness.

On the buying market, I retail just shy of $200. By appearance, you may recognize me as the figure with large black-rimmed glasses, pushed up into my hairline. I have downcast eyes, with lashes that graze my cheek tops, am clad in a beige overcoat with scissors and a butcher knife protruding from the right hip pocket, and my arms are folded behind my back. This positioning of my arms forces my child’s belly into protrusion, while giving a sense that I am leaning slightly backward. I appear to be of the mind to smugly consider. My slippers are immense on my tiny socked feet and I gaze down upon another figure, presumably my own toy companion. Toy companion lays at my feet, back humped up, an arm at half-heil, with points for blue eyes that stare at me in unfocused confusion.

It seems reasonable that I killed toy companion and that this hideous paralysis is my hell, a state of being in which I am forced to forever hold to one spot and stare into my crime. What part of him I have cut or stabbed with these scissors and knife, I do not know. It seems likely that my title of “doctor” was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. It could be that I planned further atrocities against toy companion, only to freeze into this pose first. It could also be that further atrocities were committed beyond what is visible. I see what is before me only in its present state and though I beg of my mind to reveal to me the mysteries of my life, I am in a state of blankness. I mourn for toy companion, as it seems likely that our fates are forever hitched and that since the 1930’s we have resided in this awkward pose, me in my attitude of domination and toy companion in his of idiocy, like a casualty so bland and dumb as to be unaware of being a casualty.

Perhaps I was built to perform in the camps; perhaps that is why I stare at toy companion with a mixture of hatred, mirth, and sadness. I long for the life of toy companion, though I mostly long with the will to kill again, to feel the unremembered pleasure of stabbing brutally my tiny slave. He gives me the half-heil in his death posture, as though he would subdue me. His ginger hair is painted on in a rough fringe; his eyebrows are bent in hopeful arches. Even now, he looks vacantly at me with a sort of muted benevolence. Yes, vacant and benevolent. My slippered toe is forever nudging his hip, ready to kick him hard into the death pit.

It is frustrating to know that I am a man in my eighties, yet have no knowledge of my personal history, paused forever in a moment from my childhood. Did I live and move in boyhood only? This can be my only conclusion. And now, I am the internet, just as cat gifs, sneezing pandas, and pornography are the internet. Upon your purchase of me, my image will remove from the Etsy website and I will be fully embodied in my porcelain corpulence. I want this very much, to be more fully present. I want you to listen to me talk.

If you are purchasing me as I have repeatedly asked you to do, it would be preferable that you are a beautiful young woman. It would be preferable that you carry me with you always as you perform your daily chores. I am knowledgeable in subjects of military battle, firearm assembly, and crude medical experimentation.

I do not hear you responding. I have heard none of your thoughts. You must have a deeply quiet mind. I like young women with quiet, quiet minds. I like them when they smell of working with animals in the stables. I like them with kerchiefs and knee socks and small bow mouths of hues like Merlot. Are you like that? Do you sit coyly on split rail fences? I imagine you honey-haired like the girls of my youth. But you see, I want you to be fully a woman and shapely beneath your frock. Please purchase me only if you are these things that I need.

I have lived seventy-plus years entirely asleep to my own existence. I have been a particle of time, an item both sentient and inanimate. By being nothing, I have been all. I snuffed out the life of toy companion at a tender age and hardened into oblivion. I have missed the joys of my manhood, cast in the image of a boy. How I resent this pudgy child’s body, you cannot guess. What a grotesquery it is to be embodied in this precocious paralysis, when I am so advanced in my mind. I would cry “unfair,” but that is nothing more than a child’s lament and too bitterly true.

Please, beautiful young woman. I am locked into a time that no longer is true. I am locked into a moment that has been happening for decades upon decades. I am an old man now and destined to repeat every sin, but anxious to gaze on beauty. My name is Hummel Goebel Doctor Figurine #127. I am a part of the internet and viewable in my spectral state on the Etsy website. I will appear to you at your doorstep in my hardened form. I will appear to you and we will be together. Now place the order. If you can hear me, do this, I beg of you. I do not want to sink back into the haze of thingness, do not want to lose the chance to form a memory, the chance to know myself as something other than an observation I have made of my surroundings.

Sarah Sorensen has most recently been published in Monkey Bicycle, Black Heart Magazine, and Skin to Skin. She holds an M.A. in English from Central Michigan University and is currently completing a second M.A. in Film Theory. Her work is forthcoming from Whiskey Island and Embodied Effigies. Find her at