Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Christmas My Sister Blew the Head Off Malibu Barbie

Congratulations to Kathy Branfield ~ winner of Kimber An's Alaska ornament giveaway! It's on its way to you!!

by Bianca Dawson
(As dictated to Kimber An)

My sister’s a geek. Seriously. She has the original Star Trek ringtone on her cell. People don’t believe me when I tell them Ophelia’s always been a geek. She chucked her rattle for Mom’s iPod right out of the crib, I swear.

But, the biggest early childhood geekness story is how she blew the head off Malibu Barbie. My Malibu Barbie! On Christmas morning! And everyone thinks she is so sweet and innocent. Ask the sister, people. The sister always knows!

It started out like any Christmas. We were six and always wore matching clothes because we’re identical twins. I was wearing my fuzzy pink snowman jammies Grandma made for us. Of course, Ophelia had changed into her Buzz Lightyear jammies right after Dad tucked us in the night before. Why is it they never noticed what a rebel she was anyway? They still don’t!

So, we came tumbling down the stairs, me first, of course, and squealing my little heart out at the mountain of presents under the tree all lit up with blue lights and a white satin angel on top. We weren’t allowed to rip into the presents until Mom and Dad got up, so we rounded the bottom rail and raced into their room. I leapt up onto the bed and started singing, ‘Joy to the World!’ Ophelia climbed up too and we jumped up and down like a couple of beans until they finally rolled out and staggered into the living room.

I dove into the presents head-first and shredded open Malibu Barbie first thing. I’d been begging for her since the Fourth of July. She wore a mint-green swimsuit and I announced my intention to go blond just like her.

Dad told me to dream on.

Meanwhile, Ophelia sat politely on the sofa and waited for Mom to hand her a box. You know, that’s the thing. It’s all an act! They see her sitting there, sweet and innocent, and they have no idea she’s quietly plotting world domination!

Ophelia carefully peeled back the Christmas wrapping paper, not ripping even the edges.

I wanted to throw something at her. Instead, I shredded open another one of my own presents.

“A chemistry set!” Ophelia announced a minute later.

“Robbie!” Horror filled Mom’s voice. “She’s only six!”

“I’ll supervise her,” promised Dad.

Mom glared at him.

Meanwhile, Ophelia’s eyes lit up in what I now call her ‘Mad Scientist Look.’

And I was scared.

Dad clasped Mom’s hand and nudged her. He stood up and led her back to the bedroom for reasons my adolescent mind does not want to contemplate.

As soon as their door closed, Ophelia yanked an ornament off the Christmas tree and removed the hook thing. Then, she raced into the kitchen, pushed a chair against the frig, climbed on top, and used the hook to pick the lock on the cupboard above it.

I swear to dog this is true!

She picked the lock and got out a knife. A knife! She climbed down and put everything back exactly where it was before and used the knife to slice open her chemistry set.

I kinda just cowered against the sofa and watched, clutching Malibu Barbie.

Pretty soon, she was mixing things from the set and the kitchen. I think she even grabbed something from the back porch. Finally, she grabbed Malibu Barbie right out of my arms and set her on top of a cardboard tube thing. Where she got the match, I don’t know. But, she lit it.


The black smoke blew into my face. I couldn’t see. Everything was hot. It cleared and Ophelia’s face was gray with ash, her hair stuck straight out, and the Christmas tree was on fire next to us.

Mom and Dad came flying out of their room with blankets wrapped around them.

Mom scooped us both up and ran us out the front door while Dad grabbed the fire extinguisher and hosed everything down. We came back inside and Mom started yelling at Dad.

I found Malibu Barbie, but her head was gone, nothing but little bits of singed hair scattered around. I remember gripping my doll, feeling like my own head would explode in rage.

And as I began to shriek expletives my parents were sure I shouldn’t have known, my sister sat on the sofa, hands clasped neatly in her lap, looking for all the world like the sweet innocent girl I know she is not.

Took a month for my eyebrows to grow back.

So, there you have it, the dog-honest truth, the story of how my geek-sister blew the head off my Malibu Barbie and burned down the Christmas tree when we were six.

Happy freakin’ Holidays.


Bianca is the identical twin sister of Ophelia Dawson, heroine of Sugar Rush, which is book one of the Ophelia Dawson Chronicles. If all goes well, Bianca will have her own short story in the New Year called Bianca and the Blood Sucking Dead Guy.

Please comment to enter the drawing for a free electronic copy of Sugar Rush and an Alaska holiday ornament, which I will send to you by regular mail. To participate in this drawing, you must include or link to your email address in the comment, so I can contact you. Thank you!

Find Kimber An: Website

Ophelia Dawson Chronicles Blog


  1. Okay, you win. I'll never complain about my sister again. ;-)

    jacarnda at

  2. Yeah, people go on about how hard it is to be The Chosen One. But, it's much, much harder to be the SISTER of the Chosen One!

    By the way, I didn't get to grow up in the same house with my sweet, wonderful sister, so it was a lot of fun writing the sisters in this series.

  3. Thanks for bringing back such familiar childhood holiday memories...I'd almost managed to block them from my mind;) What a hoot!;))


  4. Wow! Brings back memories of my sister and I beating the crap out of each other. Cool.

  5. What a great Christmas story. I think my four sisters and two brothers could all tell similar stories about me. But I NEVER burned down the tree.
    These sisters sound like a lot of fun.

  6. Thanks, Amanda, Jennifer, and Susan!

    It's great when I sibling does something like this and you go, "Oooh, you are gonna get it!"

    Poor Bianca, 'cause Ophelia never 'got it!' Didn't you just hate it when a sibling should've gotten in huge trouble, but didn't? The injustice of it all!

  7. So now I'm wondering if that event turned Ophelia away from becoming a chemist. LOL

  8. I spent the better part of my life dreaming that I had a sister. Well, you kicked the snot out of that dream. I've never been happier (well, maybe once or twice) that I have three brothers. : )

  9. Hi, Deena,

    Nope! Ophelia was even more determined after that. Poor Bianca. Brings to mind a line from Sugar Rush, "You're about to be served up as an entree and all you can do is techno-babble!"

    Hey, Leanne! (Sweater Curse) Oh, well, if I can add to your gratitude for your brothers, then I'm happy.

  10. I was the little sister always getting my brothers in trouble for things I was too young to know were wrong. Like the time I told Mom to roll her own cigarettes just like my brothers did, but their tobacco smelled funny... Yeah, they just loved me to pieces. *snicker*

  11. Oh, Ann, that's hilarious! I hope everything worked out for Mom in that situation. Poor moms and dads having to sort these things out.

  12. Oh my goodness, the book looks fabulous!!

  13. Thanks, Kathy. Dara England did the cover art and banner. She's brilliant.

  14. This book sounds great and very reminiscent. My kids decapitated their Barbies and then they cut off the left leg because my middle daughter is a lower left leg amputee.
    debby236 at att dot net

  15. Thanks, Debby. My brother chewed the fingers and toes off all my dolls. We didn't need a puppy! Although, we always had one.

  16. No sisters and/or brothers, but my grandparents always gave the exact same gifts to me and my slightly younger cousin (male cousin, mind you)This tale is quite like the year I was eleven and he was eight, and it included a chemistry set (two actually) We decided to make money by creating a new perfume, except we added something wrong, and it erupted all over my grandmother's white carpet and pale blue couch. It was a lovely shade of violet, but not what she was happy with. Cost us both our allowance for a year. That was a lifetime ago, and I hadn't thought of it in a while. Thanks for the memory.

    Nancy G

  17. Whoa, white carpet! I can picture it. Thanks, Nancy!

  18. I have an evil sister too and they have that sweet innocent look down pat, don't they?

  19. What a vivid explanation. It reminded me of the time my son burned the side of his snoopy's face and turned him to sit in the corner.

  20. I forgot my email address.

  21. megleigh, they learn early they can get away with a lot more when people underestimate them!

    Kathleen, awww, poor Snoopy!

  22. I feel for you, Bianca. This would be worse than the time my brother jumped out from behind the tree with his new, real metal-tipped bow and arrow set and shot my sister's and my dollies out of the swings. My doll just bounced because it was a sort of rubber, but my sister's was the old plastic kind. It had a large dimple it its back for the rest of its life. I think she sobbed for a week.

  23. Thanks for the comment, Becca! Poor dollies.

  24. Awe! My cat once ate one of those icicle stringy things off the Christmas tree. I know this sounds terrible but it did eventually come out and I've not been able to look at them the same way since then. Talk about childhood trauma!

    Fun post!

  25. ROFL! That was hilarious, Kimber :) Thankfully I have no such tales to retell about my past Christmases ;)

    f dot chen at comcast dot net

  26. LMAO!!! thats freaking hillarious really truelly it is and poor barbie lollthen again im more ageek then agirl so id of wantedteh chemestry set too lol ty kimber great post

  27. Thanks, Carlie, flchen1, and SiNn! I was hoping to bring you all some holiday cheer. Glad to know I succeeded! Thanks for stopping in.

  28. I'm late to the party, but what a LOL story! congrats on the new release!

  29. Thanks, Pauline! Congrats on yours too.

  30. We blow-dried our Skipper doll's hair--and it melted. From then on, she was a boy because we didn't have a Ken doll. Didn't want one, as I recall.

    My daughter has a Ken doll, and he is disturbing anatomically precise for most of his torso. I don't think they made them that way in the 70s ...

  31. Poor Skipper. My girls aren't really into Barbies. One was only interested in a Barbie who could ride a horse and the other one only wanted a Barbie who came with little babies.

  32. I must say I am glad to have grown up an only child. An odd kind of only child since I have 9 brothers and sisters but I am the only one from my mom and dad the rest are from their exhusbands and wives. I have to admit that I can relate to the geek although. I love star trek and always have. I also neatly take off the wrapping paper one little stip of tape at a time, always have and still do. Drives my kids crazy. I didn't blow up any dolls with my chemistry set and thank goodness never set the house on fire, but I did bury my dolls. My dad knew me, I watched football and made roads with my big tonka trucks, but my mom I think wanted me to actually be a girl...shivers just thinking of the concept...and she bought me dresses (that I didn't wear) and dolls (that I didn't play with). One day she told me to take them out and play with them so I did. I used my excavator to dig a ditch. I used my crane to place my barbie across it. I used my dump truck to cover her up and my road grader to smooth out my new bridge. Now I was playing with barbie and I have to say she made a bad bridge. I drove over her with the smaller cars but had to be careful. You can't build a bridge from materials that are hinged in the middle and made to bend.

  33. Good for you for being so imaginative! Barbie as a bridge, ha!

  34. I think is hard To be The Cosen one's sister/brother but it could be hard sometimes to even be best friend with..:)

    raluk.93 at gmail (doT) com

  35. Later edit ...Chosen instead of Cosen ..Sorry .

  36. Yes, very hard. I mean, look at Zander and Willow with Buffy. He fell for an older woman who turned into a gigantic praying mantis. Poor Ron and Hermione following Harry Potter around searching for those dang horcruxes. And what about Obi-Wan having to whack off Anakin's limbs when he turned to the Dark Side? You've got to expect general weirdness and mortal peril when you hang out with the Chosen One. It's not a job for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.