Video Review: Martika "Toy Soldiers"

In black-and-white, a young Martika and her friends play Ring Around The Rosie.

Martika leans against a violet wall.

She leans against a brick wall on the beach in black-and-white.

Against a screen, a mother kisses her young son on his temple.

In black-and-white, a man sits on the edge of the bed, counting his change before making a phone call. She turns in her sleep. As a little girl, she played Hopscotch with her friends during recess. At twenty-two years old, she rides on the back of her boyfriend’s motorcycle. She sifts through the laundry on the bed and turns her face away at the mirror.

In the aquamarine ocean, her boyfriend drowns.

In black-and-white, he plays with a strand of hair as they talk on the corner after school. She was only sixteen years old at the time. With her four of her best friends, they continue to walk home. Now, she pushes her sunglasses to her nose while he sells drugs

She dances on the pure white beach.

In black-and-white, she and her friends run home from school. It had been their routine since they were eight years old. It stopped one day when her boyfriend pulled her from the group. Now, she stands with four other women at the park every day who she knows she can’t trust.

Continuing in black-and-white, she smiles at her former group of best friends as she walks hand-in-hand with her boyfriend. They walk on the ledge of an apartment building. Now, she waits on the stairway, tugging his arm, begging him to listen to her. She hugs him after their fight. Running on the beach, she heads to the brick wall. On a Sunday afternoon, she places a rose on a grave.

Rating: 3/5

Martika sifts through community college brochures, looking for a G.E.D. program. After meeting her boyfriend, she dropped out of school. They would hang out all day on the corner as he worked. One evening, he introduced her to cocaine. She snorted the line on the mirror and wanted more.

By twenty-two years old, she had helped his boyfriend launder his money and finding places to store it in their apartment. Some days, the memories of her close friends flooded her mind and she searched through every corner for his stash. He often hid it from her, saying she cut into the profits and his boss would question him regarding his low numbers.

However, he overdosed. In a panic, she called the police and abandoned the apartment. She returned back to her parents’ home, in tears and apologizing. At their insistence, she entered rehab and cleaned up.

She thinks of who she once was: an honor roll student researching colleges, hanging out with her childhood friends and dreaming of becoming a nurse. Now, she thinks, she’ll be fortunate to get her G.E.D. as she attends classes around her schedule of her part-time job. Becoming a nurse is no longer feasible. She can hardly afford tuition as she lives paycheck to paycheck.

Director: N/A Year: 1989


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Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit , Greatest City Collective & 45 Magazine and forthcoming in Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kristofia anthology.

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