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Doll Caper Blown Out Of Proportion?

Tue., July 11, 1995

Well, you can say this about Joshua Doherty.

At least he wasn’t caught with any inflatable barnyard animals.

At the Spokane Valley Erotique Boutique - where police say Doherty kidnapped a blow-up “Super Shirley” doll - shoppers actually can purchase inflatable “Luv Ewe” sheep and the everpopular “Ms. Piglet” party swine.

“Good thing he didn’t take the pig,” says a straight-faced boutique manager Mike McGlothen. “It would have squealed on him.”

Doherty, 20, got his 15 minutes of fame the hard way last week. Alert sheriff’s deputies apprehended the South Hill resident after he allegedly had shoplifted Shirley and two adult magazines.

Following a chase, “Super Shirley” was recovered in a deflated condition in a stolen truck police say Doherty was driving.

Since then, practically everybody in Spokane has yukked it up at the young man’s expense.

“I went to the bank, and the tellers were laughing,” says McGlothen. “The mailman came in, and he started asking about Shirley.”

Being the intrepid reporter I am, I drove to the Erotique Boutique, hoping to discover what it is about “Super Shirley” ($29.95) that would drive a man to such desperate lengths.

Unfortunately, my interview with the doll fell flat. Shirley wasn’t there.

“Police still have her in custody,” said a Boutique employee. “We’re a little concerned. We’d like to know just what they’re doing with her.”

Some questions probably are best left unanswered.

My time at the store, however, was not wasted. I was able to examine a “Rita” doll, which, employees say, wears the same popeyed, “oh, my,” expression as Shirley, only with dark hair.

According to highly trained Erotique Boutique staff, people buy naughty inflatable toys mostly as gag gifts for bachelor and bachelorette parties. To their knowledge, this is the first dollnapping in store history.

For those who haven’t been to the Erotique Boutique, it is stocked with hundreds of items my editors won’t let me describe in a family newspaper.

I was quite amused by a cute action figure called the “Merry Monk,” which bears a strange resemblance to Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. Get this: When you push on his head, out pops his …

(Editors’ note: We’re not letting Mr. Clark describe this, either.)

Fortunately, I’m an open-minded guy. I’m not at all shocked by any of these strange, mostly latex items.

For the record, I have nothing against any adult who wants to develop a serious relationship with an inflatable woman. Just keep her in the privacy of your own home. Don’t show up at the lake claiming it’s a beach toy with two extra flotation devices.

Not getting any answers at the Erotique Boutique, I drove to Doherty’s home to get his side of the story. Joshua wasn’t available, but his concerned stepfather met me on the porch.

“I don’t have a clue what’s going on; I’m just as confused as anybody,” he said, adding that Joshua isn’t talking. “I don’t think it had anything to do with sex toys. Maybe he just wanted to get caught.”

Well, something weird is going on, if you ask me.

The day after Doherty’s arrest, we learned that Spokane mining magnate Neal “Say Cheese” Degerstrom has dropped $1 million over the last 20 years paying young women to pose naked for private photo sessions.

On Thursday, a 21-year-old Hayden man walked into a North Idaho beauty salon and began rubbing himself and dancing to a Madonna tune. The weirdo expressed himself in pink high heels, a golden spandex bodysuit and a blond wig.

Are Montana Militia loons spiking our drinking water with some powerful sex drug? Or is this more proof that the Hollywood movie industry has warped American minds?

For answers, write: “The Country’s Going to Hell,” in care of Sen. Bob “The Merry Monk” Dole, Washington, D.C. 20548.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Doug Clark The Spokesman-Review

Tags: column, theft

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