Tag Archives: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

“Of Course Not, Silly”… Revisited

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This is the prompt for PhotoChallenge #305. When I saw it I was overcome with a great sadness and I knew I wanted to write a story. But, no story came to me. I tried, but it wasn’t right for Little Sally or Ethel & Cheryl who seem to have obsessed me lately. I was at a loss and then realized why… I had already written a mannequin story for Suzanne Purkis the editor of the Speakeasy at YeahWrite. It was for a writing contest, and I won that week. That story is one of my favorites, it’s on my past favorites page, I just couldn’t think. So rather than try to write a new mannequin story I’ll just tell you my old one…

 

Speakeasy#162  “OF COURSE NOT, SILLY!”

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“OF COURSE NOT, SILLY!”

“Until the day I die, I’ll never forget those glassy, unblinking eyes.” Her last words. She has been in a catatonic state since that day.

Elizabeth Grace had been a promising designer, and her sudden decline had been most disturbing to friends and colleagues.

After graduation, she had taken a position at Albrecht’s Department Store, as an assistant window dresser. She fared well under the tutelage of Miss Bethany, and advanced to first assistant in just months. Feathers had been ruffled.

It was just after Albrecht’s shipment of new mannequins arrived that it began. Elizabeth started talking to the old ones. People noticed. She had not done that before.

Hammered by younger hipper stores and internet shopping, Albrecht’s Department Store had been in decline for years, something had to be done. When Oswalt Albrecht III came on board, all department heads had been instructed to find new ways to bring in shoppers, or look elsewhere for employment. In Display, it was Elizabeth who suggested that changing to more stylish models would certainly bring in younger shoppers. “After all”, she said “they have been here since my grandmother was a child. Besides, they’re falling apart. I had to use one of the men’s hands on a lady, to hold her purse.” Oswalt III thought that was a great idea and authorized a sizable expenditure. Miss Bethany was pleased she would keep her job, and put Elizabeth in charge of all floor displays.

Oswalt III loved the look of the new mannequins, with their sleek unstaring faces, but could not bear to part with the old ones. “Save the old ones. I feel I know each one personally, and could not bear to see them go.” Oswalt II had grown up with them too, but was more pragmatic, since storage space was limited. “Save two dummies and all the heads.” So, the display heads were lined up on top shelves around the workroom, and the two old mannequins set in a nostalgic display.  A different set of feathers had been ruffled.

Elizabeth took her new position seriously, and could be found working late most nights. Displays were constantly being changed and mannequins dressed and redressed. No one could remember when the voices had started, but sometimes it seemed a violent argument could be heard coming from the display office. When one peeked their head in the door, only Elizabeth would be found, deep in concentration at some task. Miss Bethany was thrilled that Elizabeth had taken charge, it had made her life so much easier. When the voices started, she became concerned. The girls had always named the dummies, and she could only imagine how many different names those old mannequins must have had over the years. Even old Oswalt had his favorites, and called some of them by name. But Elizabeth had taken the relationship to a new level. Miss Bethany knew she talked to them, and swore she had heard them being asked for their advice. But try as hard as she might, she could not catch her. When she asked point-blank, Elizabeth smiled and said “Of course not, Silly!” Miss Bethany had never been called silly, but was not going to press the point, since she had been given a raise and was smart enough to know how she got it.  She also was not going to criticize the condition of the work room, which had gotten seemingly messier.

Suzanne in Children’s was the first to notice. Little things at first. A sweater here or skirt there askew on a dummy. Made right, it would be back that way the next day, exactly the same way. Then the switching started. Suzanne asked Mr. Silverleaf, in Men’s, if he had noticed anything strange, he said “Well I wasn’t going to say anything, but if you have seen it too.” They went over to Teen’s and checked with Jessica. Jessica suggested they talk to security, as it had to be happening at night. Mr. Kumar was not aware of any strange goings on, but agreed to have the night guy keep an eye on the displays.

When the mannequins in the windows started losing their clothes the whole store was on alert.  And then, the positions of the dummies started changing.

It was Eric who found her. The workroom was in shambles with heads strewn everywhere, their eyes pried out. Elizabeth was in the center staring down, her body shaking, calling their names.

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http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/fiction-challenge-badges-162/

The Challenge is by Editor Suzanne at Apoplectic Apostrophes: “This week’s sentence prompt, provided by last week’s winner, Bethany, must be used as the FIRST line in your piece.  Reference must also be made to the media prompt, a painting by Albrecht Dürer… Portrait of Oswalt Krel, who was a merchant for the Ravensburg House in Nuremberg from 1495 to 1503.”

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To read other stories on this week’s prompt, go to… THE SPEAKEASY

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Well, I am in shock…

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✤   ✤   ✤   ✤   ✤   ✤   ✤   ✤   ✤   ✤

2020

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Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie ~ Photo Challenge #305

I hope you like my story as much as I do and I don’t get kicked out of the Menagerie for submitting an old story… Ted

 

 

🎶 Snowdrops Keep Falling 🎶

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Little Sally, face upturned, stuck out her tongue.

“Mom! I got a snowdrop in my mouth.”

“You mean a snowflake, Sally. That’s what they’re called when it’s snowing, flakes. Now come inside, it’s freezing outside. And, shut the door!”

“Well this must have melted because it’s a drop now.”

Little Sally runs out across the front lawn, twisting and turning, tongue skyward to catch more snowdrops. Mother, not happy, starts to follow. Grandma’s wellies, way too big for her, she slips out falls in the snow and hits her elbow. Mother’s closing in fast.

Sally decides she better start crying.

❅ ❆ ❄︎ ❅ ❆ ❄︎ ❅ ❆ ❄︎ ❅ ❆ ❄︎

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WORDLE #166 @ MindLovesMisery’s Menagerie

This week’s Wordle listed 13 words to use in a story. I managed to use 4 words in this 100 word story. Little Sally is always 100 words.

 

“Shut up!”

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“Shut up!”

Little Sally has stepped into it now. As those two words escaped her lips she froze. Afraid to look at Mother, she pretended to be busy fixing her doll’s hair, knowing full well the boom was coming. That’s what Grandma called it, ‘Lowering the Boom’. Little Sally didn’t know what the boom was, but it wasn’t good.  She had had quite a few time-outs after hearing that.

Mother said, “I think I will fix parsnips tonight.” Little Sally hated parsnips.

In a small voice she said, “I’m sorry Mother.”

Mother just looked at her. Worse than a spanking.

❒  ❒  ❒  ❒  ❒  ❒  ❒  ❒  ❒  ❒  ❒

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Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie…  Sunday Writing Prompt: “Shut Up”

Fruit Stack

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“Sally! I’m going to paddle your bare bottom if you don’t play fair.”
Little Sally rolled her eyes, which put Mother into even more of a tizzy.
“Don’t you put on an air with me, Sally, give Bobby back that pear right now.”
Bobby and Little Sally had been playing Fruit Stack when Mother saw her sneak one of Bobby’s game pieces.
Little Sally muttered something under her breath like “Such a flair for the dramatic, don’t be so square.”
Bobby heard her and his eyes bugged out big time.
Mother heard her too. “Fruit Stack is over, young lady!!!”

🍐  🍒 🍋 🍎 🍇  🍓 🍊 🍏 🍑 🥥 🥝

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Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie ~ Saturday Mix – Rhyme Time

Here was the challenge posed by weejars

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I am not a poet  rhymer, but her words caught my attention, so I hope that Sarah does not mind if I used her words to write a story instead.

Little Sally’s New House

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Little Sally wanted a doll house in the worst way. But she knew what mother would say.

“No!” That’s what mother would say. “You have enough stuff cluttering up your room, Sally. I don’t think you would last five minutes playing with a doll house.”

Maybe Mother was right, but Little Sally still wanted one. She had seen a beaut at The Toy Box, it even lit up and it wasn’t that big, she decided to enlist Grandma.

“When you were little did you ever have a doll house?”

“Oh yes, dear, I did.”

“I would love one for Christmas.”

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(where there is a will, Little Sally finds a way)

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Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie ~ Photo Challenge #292
I knew the moment I saw this fabulous photo by Oleg Oprisco that I had to write a story. 100 words of course. Check out the other stories at MM, maybe write one yourself.

Unoriginal Thoughts

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“What do you think about this for a start to my story, ‘The raging winds’?”
“Hmmm, seems familiar.”
“Okay, I’ll go in a different direction, ‘The wise owl’.”
“What exactly are you writing? That’s not exactly that original.”
“A piece demonstrating personification in literature. I think I’ll do ‘The warm and comforting fire’.”
“Uh, this wouldn’t happen to be for Weejars by any chance? You know, I follow Mindlovemiserie’s Menagerie also?”
“Gee, I wonder if that was what was influencing me? Like one of those spirit hands guiding me.”
“Right. Let’s try a little experiment. Here’s a pencil and notebook, no computers. Now write something.”
As he began the test, all words and ideas fled from his mind.

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For Weejars’ Saturday MixMindlovemiserie’s Menagerie

Our challenge is all about the use of personification in our writing. You will need to use the statement provided in your response – which can be poetry or prose… ‘As he began the test, all words and ideas fled from his mind.’

Bits-and-Pieces

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“Bits-and-Pieces!” Little Sally was perplexed, Granny always said ‘bits-an-pieces’ when she was bothered and it made her feel close to her grandmother by saying ‘bits-an-pieces’. It was her new thing. What had Little Sally in such a dither was that her new bow would not stay in her hair, she needed her bow. She would be playing and all of a sudden it would be in her face flopping around. It was pretty, pink with yellow spots, Sally’s favorite colors. She liked pink and yellow for everything, except chickenpox. Her brother had had chickenpox and he did not look good pink and yellow. Little Sally had been bundled off to Granny’s soon as that happened, but she remembered how icky he looked and hoped she would never be chickenpoxed.

As Sally was sticking her bow back on her head she got creamy filling from the Twinkie she was eating all over and now it was in her hair. “Bits-an-pieces!” Mother did not like Little Sally eating anything fun. She was fond of saying, you are what you eat. Sally didn’t quite know what that meant, but knew she would rather be sweet than something like artichoke, broccoli or, God forbid, liver and onions.

Mother looked at Little Sally a little more suspiciously than Sally would have liked, but didn’t say anything as Sally traipsed through the kitchen on her way to the backyard to play. Mother’s raised eyebrow was enough. At least the bow was now firmly stuck in place.

🎀 🎀 🎀 🎀 🎀 🎀 🎀 🎀 🎀 🎀 🎀 🎀 🎀 

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Sunday Writing Prompt “5 by 5”

Include the answers to these questions in a story or poem
1. An item you just can’t live without
2. Your favorite snack
3. A bit of wisdom for the youths of today
4. A coincidence that unites two people
5. Your favorite word
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Editor’s note: The answers used in this story are Little Sally’s, not the author’s, he would not be caught dead wearing a pink and yellow bow in his hair.
250 words

 

Little Sally’s Mishap…Wordle #144

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She was in a capricious mood while eating her Cap’n Crunch when the catastrophe occurred, making her feel lower than dirt and wanting to shrink into the woodwork. She had been banging her spoon on the bowl, and told to stop with fulgurant eyes from Mother’s rigid face she didn’t. Then, with a mighty blow causing her bowl to flip, her capacity for annoyance had reached a new level.

Mother made Little Sally wash down the table and all of the fiberglass seats before going out to play.

OjtwG
🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄🥄

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Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie… This week Yves has challenged us to write a story using these words:

1. Catastrophe
2. Dirt
3. Lower
4. Shrink
5. Crunch
6. Rigid
7. Flip
8. Blow
9. Capacity
10. Fiberglass
11. Capricious
12. Fulgurant- flashing like lightning

Darling

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“Boy, old man Dietz is fit to be tied.”
“What’d Tonya do now?”
“How’d ya know it’s Tonya.”
“Who else would it be? She really knows how to get his goat.”
“Is it serious?”
“Maybe, you should have seen him, he was red as a beet.”
“Well, what the hell did she do, Mark?”
“Called him ‘Darling’.”
“Oh, sweet baby Jesus, she calls everyone ‘darling’ or ‘hon’. She worked at a truck stop in Ohio once.”
“Well he doesn’t know that. Hey, I know, Kate, why don’t you call him ‘Hon”. Then when he starts to flip out, you tell him it’s just a friendly term like ‘Darling’ and doesn’t mean anything.”
“Maybe, if you call him ‘Dude’ first.
“Dietz! Are you crazy?”
“My point exactly. Tonya’s a big girl, she’ll figure it out. Maybe she can bring him a slice of cherry pie.”

🥧 🥧 🥧 🥧 🥧 🥧 🥧 🥧 🥧 🥧 🥧 🥧 🥧

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Tale Weaver – #233 – Darling

Thanks to Michael at Mindlovemisery’s Managerie for the prompt.

The Office Supply Section

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The pen wasn’t worth anything, but Maddie pocketed it anyway.
Jerry saw her do it and didn’t do anything. Maybe if it was one of the Cross ones, but this was a Bic.
As store manager, Jerry figured he had the right to look the other way, and this kid looked like she could use a little ‘looking the other way’.
He followed her, slyly he thought, thru the office supply section and watched her pocket a notebook.
She turned and looked at him, eyes of sadness, not fear, and it looked like she was about to cry.
“Hey, it’s all right. You aren’t in trouble, I’m the boss and I won’t tell myself what you are doing.” Hoping for a laugh.
She looked from right to left. “Hey don’t run. Let’s go get some ice cream and talk about this.” Kids like ice cream, Jerry does, and his store has good ice cream.
Maddie agreed, and with a cone in one hand and her bic pen in the other she poured out her heart to him. The school has no money to give out pencils and paper and she has an English assignment due, her mother has no money, she is only nine and has no job, neither does her mother.
Jerry listened to her, asked the name of her teacher, and took her back to the office supply section, stopping to get a cart first.

🖋  ✒️   🖋  ✒️   🖋  ✒️  🖋  ✒️  🖋  ✒️  🖋  ✒️

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Your line for this week is:  The pen wasn’t worth anything, but Maddie pocketed it anyway. That was the prompt for First Line Fridays at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Dylan Hughes is in charge, head on over and check out the stories, maybe add one of your own.

This was interesting to write, because when I saw the line I had to use, I immediately thought of something I saw on the news the other night and the story formed instantly. That’s my kind of flash fiction. I usually write 100 words, but this one went elsewhere, and I didn’t need Ethel & Cheryl’s help this time. 

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I got this message from my sister Mariya after she read this story. I thought I would share it… Good story! It is so true, even in my time of public school teaching 20 years ago. I cried reading it. I cannot tell you how many supplies I purchased, including books to keep, for kids whose parents just couldn’t because they were so broke, or because the parents had other problems and the children were neglected. Many teachers do this, even on their low-paying salaries compared to the amount of responsibility and workload involved in the job.

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