Thank you, author and editor Dennis De Rose for sharing this flash-fiction inspired by this Visual Writing Prompt below. I’m happy to be sharing your story here! It’s awesome!
This will be Part 1 of a flash fiction series that Dennis will be sharing here!
Dennis is happy to hear any feedback so comments are welcome!
Greetings, it’s so nice to see you again. Please take a seat. The staff will be right with you. I am here to assist you if you’ll allow me to help. I will gladly guard your things while you wait. No one will touch anything… I guarantee it. …Uh, hellooo. Thank you for keeping me busy. Your things will be here when you are done.
I remember the old olden days. People seemed more personable. They talked to those sitting next to them while they waited for the man to help them. The little ones played quietly with each other in the corner. It was so quiet and peaceful. There was no loud talking picture box hanging from the wall. The lighting was softer, no harsh bright tubes to disturb my contemplations. The young lady, she always wore a white pointy hat and she was so nice to me, dusting me every day. Her cloth made me joyful as she tended to me. Oh the old days…
Hello madam, do come in. Don’t forget to close the door. Take your time, there are plenty of seats. Mind your step, may I hold your coat and cane for you. I have a special hook reserved for canes and other walking devices. Uh, hellooo!
Her cane and jacket rested on my upper left hook. Before I forget, let me tell you a true story. I remember the day I was brought here and placed in this very spot. I have been standing here for many years but I cannot tell you how many. It seems like forever. I think I remember standing in another location, a run-down dusty second-hand store. But I wasn’t alone, surrounded on all sides by other wooden contraptions. There was so much dust, it was hard to breathe.
My mind wanders sometimes. I am getting off-track. Where was I? Oh yes, the day I was brought here. Oh that bumpy ride, traveling in the back with all the other stuff. A man dressed in dirty clothes carried me inside; he almost dropped me. His hands felt greasy and his breathe smelled like old paper. The delivery man leaned me against a wall as he walked over to collect his commission. I even remember the young man dressed in white handing him a one-dollar bill.
The next morning an older heavy-set lady, also dressed in white, placed me gently in one corner. I remember looking at her, wondering what was on her mind. Next thing you know she picked me up and placed me in the opposite corner…
Oh, hello little girl. Hello Mom. I was just reminiscing about days gone by. Welcome to our helpful office. How may I help you today? Feel free to use me as you see fit. I see you have a little dolly in your hand. You may place her on my shelf, the one near the floor. I will guard it with my life! Uh, hellooo little girl; hello Mom!! The little girl smiled and looked at me as she sat her doll on my bottom shelf. The mother hung her coat on one of my hooks.
… Back to my story, the lady stopped what she was doing when a funny-looking black thing made a ringing noise. She actually walked over to it, picked up a piece of it and started talking to it. I laughed so hard, I thought she had lost her marbles. She glanced over at me, I wonder if she heard me cackling. A minute later, the lady stopped talking to the black thing and walked back over to me; she was carrying a rag in one hand and a glass jar in the other.
I’ll never forget that day. The lady began to rub me lightly, removing every speck of dust from my body. I was dust-free for perhaps the first time in my life. She looked me over, smiling at what she saw. Next, she applied this smelly stuff and rubbed me real hard. I felt renewed as she rubbed me harder and harder, faster and faster. When she finished, I was jubilant. Ah, to be young again…new and shiny!
But time moves on, even for me. The first lady grew older and older. One day, a new lady rubbed me lightly with a new cloth. It was nice; she did that almost every day but with much less enthusiasm. The man who helped everyone grew old as well, but at least he used me from time-to-time. He never talked to me like the old lady did. I noticed him moving slower and slower, sitting in a wooden chair, trying to catch his breath. Waking up the next day, I noticed a young man dressed in similar white entering through the door. I tried to talk to him but he was looking at the tired old man. As the day progressed…
Good day, young man. Do come in and welcome to the office. May I assist you with your rain wear? Feel free to place it on one of my hooks. What is that made of, not cloth I see. It is dripping all over the floor. I suggest you hang it on me. Uh, hellooo there, hey!
Oh well, at least I have his wet cap on my hook. How loud can I shout without disturbing the others? So, where was I? Ah, now I remember, the younger man. I couldn’t help thinking how much he looked like the older man. He even sat and crossed his legs like the older one, swinging one leg back-and-forth when he talked. A few days later, I saw him but I never saw the old man again. I liked the old one because he hung his hat and coat on me and he often took a moment just to tug on my hook. It felt nice to be used, to feel useful by him and others in the room. The man made some changes to the room: new chairs not made of wood; mirrors were hung here and there; flowers that were no longer real (Yuk!). I just remembered the oddest thing, the day the black talking boxes were replaced with yellow and blue ones. I heard music coming through the walls. It was like magic and I almost felt like dancing the Lindy.
Sir, please come in. You look cold. Let me take your heavy coat. May I suggest sitting by the heat register in the far corner. I noticed the heavy snow when you opened the door, and the wind, wow! Are you sure you won’t let me hold your coat? No one will touch it. Please? Uh, hellooo sir, look at me!
Many years have gone by since the day I heard the invisible music maker. The people have changed drastically. I think they have forgotten how to talk to each other, sitting like zombies tapping on little boxes and talking to tiny machines that talk back. The kids do the same thing, only more frequently. People seem to be rushing here and there, as if the world is going to end tomorrow. The staff, now there are three girls and one guy, they rush around and spend time tapping on thin desk-top things that beep incessantly. The man in white has been replaced by a helpful young man dressed in a casual shirt and a nice pair of pants. The peace and quiet I recall fondly has been dashed by a talking picture box hanging from a hook on the far wall. I see it every minute of my long day, every day.
Everything in the room has changed, but not me. I have stood in this same spot day-in and day-out, ready to help when needed. Over the years my load has grown lighter and lighter. I have become a dusty ignored relic, the last vestige of days long gone. I am no longer dusted or rubbed; oh, how I wish for that again. Only the occasional breeze will release me from my dusty burden. My bones have grown weak and shaky. My voice is nearly mute; my hearty yell is but a whisper…
Wait, I think I see a little girl and her mom walking in. They are both wearing light spring jackets but what’s the use of talking, trying to get their attention, offering my help for the millionth time. The little girl has something cradled in her arm. It looks like an antique doll, in fact it looks like that same doll I saw those many years ago when I was young and strong. I am in luck; they are sitting very close to me. I wonder if I can, one last time. They are going into the man’s room next. I better gather my strength. …Little girl?
“Mommy, did you see that? See that wooden thing with the funny wire things hanging on it? I just saw one of them move all by itself.”
“Dear, it was probably just the wind.”
“Hello mam and hello little one, please follow me.”
The little girl looked at her mom, then back at me. Walking over to me, she tugged on my hook and placed her precious dolly lovingly on my bottom shelf.
…Thank you, little girl!
copyright© 2021 Dennis De Rose
Dennis is a wonderful storyteller and a good friend. See below for links to his other writing and his editing business.