Bare Bones of a Scare.

Pleated Jean Nightmares 9

In the 80s, I watched all of the television shows no one else in my age group would watch. With the cool cartoons on cable networks we didn’t get, and with shows like Miami Vice considered too violent for family viewing, I often ended up loving shows that lasted for a few seasons, if they were lucky. One of these shows was Blacke’s Magic.

The show was about a father and son magican and a con artist who solved crimes, but I’m sure it’s mostly remembered today as “that one show with Barney Miller and the guy from MASH.” It lasted for one year, and I’m fairly sure I’m the only person in the world to think about it this millennium.

The last episode of this forgettable show somehow managed to throw a scary image into my brain that has remained there for over 25 years.

I was giving the TV show some of my attention that night, but I was mostly playing with some knock-off Legos. They had much cooler pieces than my real Legos, but they wouldn’t connect with the official blocks. The show was going on about something Edgar Allan Poe wrote and then it added in a wax statue of Poe, purportedly built over a real human skeleton. At some point a dead body appeared, bloodless and peaceful like all nice family drama dead bodies must appear. Then, a woman began screaming and pointing.

The hands of the waxen image of Poe had been abraded, and skeletal fingers were peeking out from beneath the ruined wax. I remember staring at first the hands, and then the dead, dummy eyes of the wax figure. Then, back to the hands for one last stare at finger bones. The television show was turned off after that, and the show wasn’t on next year. I’ve never learned “whodunnit?” and I don’t care if I do.

Next time you’re at a store or museum, or anywhere they store fake humans, just remember murderous bones under fake flesh.

In fact, imagine wax and plastic dripping off of those skeletal bones as each figure turns to you. You see those finger bones flex as the plastic cracks and flakes off. You look into its eyes, but there’s no life to be seen. Then, you look back to the parts where the skeleton has broken the surface.

After all, you don’t really know what all those fake people are made out of, do you?

-Axel

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