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OLD LITTLE GIRL LOST

What made you so angry a few minutes ago? the reporter asks.
"I want my toys," Alexis says, pedaling slowly. "I want my Barbies." The Perrys say the Bucks have refused to send Alexis her toys. The Bucks deny it.

Don't you have any Barbies here?
"Of course I do."
Which one's your favorite?

She looks at the reporter as if he's the stupidest person who ever lived. "Hollywood Hair Barbie," she answers.

And you've got your bike here, too. It's nice to see you wearing your helmet when you ride.

"I don't want the boo-boo in my head to get more deeper," Alexis explains. Suddenly brightening, she asks, "Do you want to see it?"

Still pedaling the bike, she quickly removes her helmet. "It's right here," she says, pushing her fingers into a dent in her skull. "It doesn't hurt anymore. I can't even feel it. Do you want to feel it?" The hole in her head is rectangular. The tips of two adult fingers easily fit inside it.

"I got hit with a hammer," Alexis continues calmly. "That was what happened to my mom and dad, too. In the fire."

Did you see the man who hit your mother?
Alexis nods but says nothing.
Would you tell a judge what the man did?
Another nod. No words.
How would you feel about going back to New Jersey?

"Atlantic City," Alexis corrects the reporter. She's holding the handlebars again and steadily pedaling, her eyes fixed on the road beneath her. Chris is having to work harder to prevent the bike from jumping off the curb and running him down. "Not New Jersey. Atlantic City."

You'd probably get to see Don and Debra there.
"It's Debbie--and she's not my real mom," Alexis says, pumping her legs furiously.

Did you like living there? Do you like living here?
Alexis looks at Chris, as if she's trying to guess what she's supposed to say. "I don't know," she finally cries, her brow furrowed.

She's pedaling faster now, as fast as she possibly can. Her face is flushed, but she shows no sign of stopping. She seems to be trying to get away--to escape from the questions, the lawyers, the people who've made her the prize to be won in a contest that's been going on for nearly as long as she can remember and may go on forever, for all she knows.

Someday she may leave this place, but not this situation. She's trapped.
end of part 2

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