Karen Marron

Girls and Horses

There is a thing that happens to Breyer horses. Those plastic horses that, if you were a girl at a certain time, you probably had, because girls love horses. They weren't for playing with, really, more the type of thing a girl might save up her allowance to buy, or get as a gift for a birthday, or as consolation for a traumatic event, getting stitches, a grandparent dying. And girls who have these horses eventually box them up, because there comes a time when girls must box up all their things because they take up too much space. A girl might get a call from her mother one day, that she needs to clear her shit out of the attic, because mothers at a certain age decide that it is necessary to clear everything out of the attic, and if the girl doesn't clear her shit out of the attic it will be thrown away. And when the girl opens the box labeled "Breyer Horses", she will see that the horses—appaloosa, pinto, Clydesdale, Arabian, and more names she doesn't remember, though at one time she knew them all—are dissolving in a puddle. The technical name for this is vinegar syndrome, a thing that also happens to old films, where acetyl attached to cellulose degrades, resulting in a vinegary discharge, and the plastic of the film becomes brittle, and breaks. Girls on the internet have their own names for what happens to Breyer horses. They call them "oozies" and "shrinkies", the latter referring to the warping and shrinking plastic, the thighs turning in on themselves, the muzzles diminishing into nothing, and the former referring to the vinegar, dripping from nostrils, trickling from eyes. Girls whose Breyer horses are oozing and shrinking can throw them away, of course, though it is also possible to wash them off in cool water, put them on display in favorable conditions, and care for them regularly (girls have much knowledge on the appropriate care of horses), trying to slow down the process by which they eventually disappear.

Karen Marron lives and writes in Tel Aviv. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Bar-Ilan University and edits creative nonfiction for The Ilanot Review. Her work has been published in Beeswax Magazine and in Small Spiral Notebook. Follow her on Twitter @marronglacee.