A limited-edition Barbie doll of the Queen has been created for her Platinum Jubilee…
It was Happy Hour in the Pink Parka.
A group of younger Barbies were gathered on stools at the bar. Their Kens stood at far end of the room, a collection of Stepford boyfriends talking about golf handicaps.
The girls had arranged to meet – had got dolled-up to do so, in fact – to discuss the news story of the day.
“She has a tiara,” said Yoga Barbie, who had only one position, the Downward Dog, “and the Crown Jewels.”
“She has actual palaces,” said Bingewatch Barbie, who came with her own sofa, remote and giant bag of Quavers. “Nobody is going to want a Malibu Beach House if you can get Windsor Castle, complete with moat.”
“And she comes with pets,” said Instagram Barbie, taking a picture of the Quavers and uploading it. “She has corgis. They’re really cute.”
“They aren’t, they look like fudge-coloured Lego,” said Wheels, a Volkswagen Polo. This was Driverless Car Barbie – you didn’t get an actual doll, just a toy car.
They carried on with this light-hearted bitching, enjoying themselves, though every now and then they cast anxious glances at the one member of their of their group who hadn’t yet spoken.
Princess Barbie just sat, drinking morosely, staring into nothing.
“You ok, Babe?” asked Instagram Barbie.
A tear ran down Princess Barbie’s cheek, to the horror of the others.
“Don’t worry about her,” said Yoga Barbie, offering her a tissue. “People will still love you.”
Princess Barbie blew her nose, surprisingly loudly for someone with no discernible nostrils. Then she smiled weakly.
“You’re probably right,” she said, “and I know I shouldn’t mind. It’s just, I’ve always been the most popular-”
Bingewatch Barbie raised one non-existent eyebrow.
“Well, I have,” said Princess Barbie. “There’s no point in denying it. Young girls may say they prefer the career Barbies, and the sporty ones, but it’s me they really love, really want to be. I guess I just always thought of myself as the untitled queen. And now we have a real one.”
“Oh, stop moaning,” said a voice from behind the bar.
Princess Barbie started, spilling pink gin onto the counter. Behind that counter stood another Barbie. She wore a T-shirt with the name of the bar on it, and a tired expression. A wisp of hair had come loose from her bun and draped down one cheek. She had a tea-towel over her shoulder.
“Sorry,” said Princess Barbie, dabbing at the drink with her snot-soaked tissue. “I didn’t notice you there.”
“Well, I am here,” said Barmaid Barbie, snatching the tissue away and using the tea-towel instead. “And I have an opinion too, Princess, even if you have a better life than me.”
“I don’t have a better -”
“You own your own unicorn,” said Barmaid Barbie.
“But nothing. Try walking a mile in my shoes, behind this counter. I can tell you it’s not easy, since I have the same ridiculous foot angle as you, and have to do it in high heels. You do think you are better than me, and most other Barbies. Why isn’t Cleaner Barbie one of your little gang, or Waitress Barbie? There are dozens of us that no-one cares about. Has anyone ever bought their daughter a Tesco Checkout Barbie, even after they were among the real heroes of the pandemic? I don’t think so. And now someone is more important than you. Well, welcome to my world.”
Throughout this speech Bingewatch Barbie had sat cross-legged on her sofa, staring entranced at the barmaid, spooning snacks into her mouth. Now she turned and grinned at Princess Barbie.
“Well, that’s put you back in your box,” she said.