Dear Diary,

I swear there are cycles in pop culture.. The giants who rule our collective consciousness run out of ideas from time to time and try to sneak old ideas into the mainstream as new ones. And corporate culture keeps its secrets well, but does not keep public records, so we notice these resurgences and can feel nothing more tangible than overwhelming deja vu.

It was like a ghost kissing me on the lips. Children don't come here. It was inexplicable.

I should start at the beginning..

I lost an earring in one of the upper rooms last night. Wealthy client, but not quite wealthy enough for the penthouse. I don't work in the penthouse, anyway. Not yet. It's high profile, noticable. You have to be 21 to work the penthouse. It was about four, nice evening, and I went back up while the maids were cleaning. Before the seraglio was as big as it is, these were the girls' quarters. When I first came here, we lived and ate here, most of us half-starved and high and scared. We've all cleaned up since then, or died, or been thrown out. Not me. I know how to take care of myself. This is a good job, safe, nearly respectable.. I'll keep it as long as I can.

The earring wasn't on the bed, or the floor, or the nightstand. One of the maids yelled at me, because Chloe was coming up with a customer, and told me to hurry up. I was looking underneath the bed. And there was a bump in the rug, against the wall. Too large to be my earring, but incongruous and it caught my attention. I reached under the rug and pulled out a tiny plastic doll, a cheap, two inch Barbie with plastic clothing. And it hit me, the sense of being here before.

Her synthetic blond hair was matted, sticking out at a bizarre angle. I tried to push it down, but it refused to stay. And her smooth candy brown skin was dirty, covered with stains I couldn't wipe away. Some of the paint had chipped from the features of her face. She bore the mark of the hamburger gods, the empire of epicurean complacency.

And then the maid was yelling again that Chloe was coming up the stairs with her customer, so I pocketed the toy and left the room.

I found my earring in the lost and found.


Dear Diary,

I saw a picture today, from a long time ago, of the girls. Divinity is leaving, because she's too old and no one will pay, so we threw her a party, in secret. We couldn't get alcohol, so we got glue. And she showed us her pictures.

There was a little girl, no older than thirteen. Dirty and skinny with dim, feral eyes. Emerging from the top of her fist I could just make out the grimy blond plastic hair, and the purple heels on once smooth legs poking out the bottom.

I wonder who she was. I have her doll.

I looked in the mirror, and we could have been sisters. Our features are similar, though I have a difficult time remembering exactly what I looked like before I got my face fixed. They didn't do much. Cheekbones, nose, lips, similar. Same color eyes. And her hair would be nearly the same color as mine, if it were clean. I'd have to be the older sister.. Or maybe not. I'm not sure how old I am. I still get the pedophiles, so not too old. But she looked like a kid, and I don't. Not my eyes, at least, unless I'm working.

She's probably dead now, or gone.

Children don't last here.