I saved up and bought a 3-D printer. It is the 2600 polymer extruder, the largest I could afford. I had to upgrade my Mac, which dented my savings severely.

And man, it is sure worth it. The first thing I printed was a quail. I’ve had this ceramic quail sitting on my desk for years. After reading the printer’s instructions I took a dozen pictures of the quail from all angles, printed it out and set it on the shelf next to the real one. Now I have a replacement in case the ceramic one breaks. It looks very good side by side with the original.

Then I had an idea. I went to my files and pulled out my collection of Marilyn Monroe pictures dating back to the 50s and 60s. I selected a couple dozen of the best ones and scanned them in. Then I filled in specifics about size, surface texture and colors. The program took some time, then gave me a read out of my project: it would be printed in five pieces, legs, arms and torso with head, printout time: 2.5 hrs. I held my breath and hit the print button. Two and a half hours later the pieces lay on the kitchen table, and my canister of soft tissue thermoplastic was almost empty.

Fortunately I had a quart each of two-part polycement and I glued it together very carefully, trying to make the connections as clean as possible. I say “it” but, of course, I mean “her.” She is beautiful as I had expected, but kind of a funny texture. Well, not funny really, just not quite flesh-like, but close. I suppose I didn’t really expect her to feel like a real girl, but I was hoping. My friend Dominic says hope is the most disappointing virtue of the three, and he’s right.

I dressed her in a lovely silk gown, spaghetti straps, mid-thigh length, a lustrous silver material, very sheer, very Marilyn, very sexy.
I’ve thought a lot about it, and I can’t really explain why I wanted one of her. She didn’t invent the comedic blonde, she only perfected it. In my earlier years no one else was quite as wonderful to look at. And, a good sense of humor has always been important to me.

Now, she’s sitting on the couch in my living room, waiting for me to finish typing this report. She’s absolutely, convincingly beautiful. Time means nothing to her, of course, she’s only a plastic doll. If I get sidetracked with another project, she won’t say a word or make an impatient face.

However, she’s probably wondering what we’re going to do today. Yesterday, I took her for a drive. We went to the park. I drove slowly, enjoying the fresh air and allowing her to enjoy seeing all the trees, birds and people. I thought she might feel connected to them, to us. She might acquire a feeling of belonging, something beyond her extruded teflon reality, her roots you could say being made of primarily petroleum products and all.

She is so beautiful quite a few people notice her in the car and stare. I don’t think she gets embarrassed at all when people stare at her. Marilyn always had a very calm stage presence.

I try to act normal when I carry her out to the car and arrange her in the passenger seat. It makes me a little nervous toting her around like you’d carry an elderly person to their bed or a bride across a threshold. I feel a little nervous and a bit self-conscious, supposing a neighbor might think I’m transporting a dead body. She is kind of limp and her joints seem a bit clumsy, but so far, either nobody’s noticed, or maybe they’ve become used to my quirky projects.

I find that seeing the admiration on everyone’s faces is almost as satisfying as creating her in the first place. Next, I am going to look for every picture I can find of Labrador Retrievers. I want to print one for the back seat so we can look more like a family.

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About the Author

Dan was born and raised in Little Rock, AR. Educated piecemeal over 41 years at 6 universities and colleges, including the San Francisco Art Institute, Pratt Institute, and a BFA from Millersville University. Having a paternal grandmother and sister who were and are professional writers, Dan naturally started making art as a youth and never stopped. He worked as a graphic artist for over 40 years and started writing fiction around the year 2000. Currently, Dan is the Artist-in-Residence at Eureka Springs School of the Arts and belongs to a writing group that meets regularly at WCDH.

Dan Morris
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