This short-short story is another inclusion in the Wednesday writer's group I attend online. With only 15 minutes to write, it's hard to fit an entire story within two pages. This weeks prompt was: "Tomorrow, you are opening a brand-new store…tell us what you are selling and why. If you have time, tell us about your first three interactions."
I was only able to finish one of the customer interactions and of course, as is the case with most of my short stories, I have a feeling this one might take off into novella (or even novel) lengths. Time will tell...as of right now, I have too many other writing projects ahead of this one.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy, Dream On...
Grand opening tomorrow: Dream On—a store like no other.
I set yesterday’s newspaper down, smiling inwardly. It is a store like no other—where else can you go to turn your dreams into reality? My inward smile slides to my face as I remember those first few patrons. Such skeptics, such unbelievers—but I showed them, didn’t I.
“What is this place?” she asked, my very first customer—a young girl barely out of high school by the looks of her. I wondered if she was from around here. Her clothes were the worse for wear and her hair looked more unkempt than the dreadlocked style she was trying to impose. The way she twitched when a stray hair touched her face told me she didn’t like her hair that way at all. A runaway, I wondered? Or something darker?
I wave my arm across the store’s expanse like a magician revealing a tricks finale, “It’s a place where your dreams can come true.” And that’s just what I am—I am a magician. I smile again at the thought. Yes, I’m a magician—but these aren’t just tricks.
She crosses to the counter and notices an old rag-doll lying on the glass top. “Oh, my God,” she exclaims. “I had one just like this when I was a little girl.” She clutches it to her chest and a wave of satisfaction floods through my core—I have her now.
“How much is it?” she asks.
I tell her, and she tosses the doll back quickly, as if it’s suddenly made of poison.
“No, no, no,” I say, trying to ease her. “Maybe we can work something out—I see how much you adore it.”
She looks between me and the doll, brows pinched together in thought. “What do you mean? A payment plan?”
“Sure, you can look at it that way,” I say, gently picking up the doll and placing it in her hands. “You want to bring back the simplicity of your childhood, don’t you? You want to go back to the time when things were so much more simple?”
She eyes me suspiciously and I know I’ve hit the nail on the head. I continue, “I can bring all that back—I can grant you that dream?”
I step away from her and smile, giving her a few moments to think. She clutches the doll tighter.
“What do I need to do?” she asks tentatively. “I won’t do anything illegal or…or…you know!”
“Oh no,” I say, “It’ll be nothing like that. Just a simple task…something you won’t even have second thoughts about. You do this for me and the doll is yours.”
Another minute of silence hangs in the air but I know I have her even before she nods her head.