In her parents’ kitchen, 15-year-old Teddie fills a stockpot with water. She places the detached head of an American Girl doll (whose neck strings allow for such blunt dismemberment) atop a towel in a bowl, pours a small amount of warm water in the neck opening, and steps back to wait. Once the vinyl is heated enough to melt slightly and become squishy, she takes a wooden spoon from a kitchen drawer and pops out the doll’s eyes, laying them aside carefully — if they get any water on them, they’ll turn silver — before adding special fabric dye to the boiling pot on the stove.
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