Friday, March 19, 2010

#fridayflash: The Collection

The Collection
By Louise Dragon

“Wait, did you see that?”

“See what, Sis?” Bart asked, trying to keep the Blazer on the road with his left hand since his sister, Stephanie held his right arm in a sumo wrestler grip. He knew there was no point in trying to find the newest object of her appraisal somewhere out there on the landscape. She'd be sure he didn't miss it anyway.

“There’s a yard sale back there. And I’m sure I saw a blue glass hand”

“A who?” Bart asked.

“A blue glass hand, damn it. Will you turn this thing around and go back? Blue is the last color I need for my collection.”

Bart sighed but turned the car around as requested. He knew that there was no use arguing with Stephanie once she got a notion in her head.

Bart parked the car in front of a large Cape Cod style home, its yard littered with used clutter. In moments Stephanie, a thin elfin women in a flowered housedress, was out of the passenger side door and racing to a folding table covered with various old glass items. Prominent among the items was indeed a glass hand – it was a right hand – tinted cobalt blue.

Bart took a moment to tug down his gray knitted sweater and straighten his metal-rimmed glasses before following his sister out into the cruel world.

Stephanie, hands clasped in front of her like a grammar school kid, danced from foot to foot. Bart elbowed her gently in the side and whispered, “don’t look so eager. If you act more casual, you might get a better price.”

“That’s the one,” Stephanie whispered back. “I’ve been searching for it for years.” She gently picked up the glass icon and ran her small hands over its smooth surface. She pointed out to Bart that the small yellow tag was marked $7.50.
 Bart just shook his head slightly. Stephanie and her collections, he thought wryly, she seemed to think these collections would actually “do something” for her; she acted like they might help her in some way. Dolls, buttons, teacups, and now glass hands – she kept them on bookshelves throughout the small house they shared and frankly, Bart was getting sick of all the clutter.

A huge woman in a flowered caftan bustled over to them. Her bejeweled, purple tipped fingers held a giant wad of cash.

“That’s a nice choice,” she rasped to Stephanie as she made change. “Aunt Sophie – she’s gone now – had a large collection of glass hands. This is the last one to go.”
“What did she do with the glass hands?” Bart inquired.
“You don’t know?” the huge woman winked at Stephanie. Her large dark eyes glittered weirdly as she stepped closer to Bart, she smelled like cough syrup and licorice.

“Why Aunt Sophie said the rainbow of glass hands could only help a true collector. Only a true collector would be able to embrace the power of the sixty-five fingers.” The large woman cawed laughter. Flecks of spittle shot from her purple tinted rubbery lips. “I’m no collector, Dearie! To me this stuff is simply clutter. Aunt Sophie’s doll and teacup collection are for sale on the back porch, if you fancy yourself a “true” collector.”

Bart winced, but Stephanie seemed not to notice the invitation to check out more “collectibles”. Her eyes were on the blue glass hand, which she held cradled in her arms like a baby. Bart grasped the opportunity to shuffle her back to the car.

Once home, Stephanie leapt from the car with her treasure. Bart shook his head sadly as he watched his older sister lope into the house cradling her glass hand. She left the car and house doors wide open behind her.

Dementia? Alzheimer’s?

He just wasn’t sure these days. Stephanie may have to be institutionalized for her own good. She seemed to be getting daffier with each passing day. And those bizarre collections . . .

Bart entered the cluttered house a few steps behind his sister. He closed the door behind himself and looked up in time to see Stephanie place the blue hand into the open space on top of the alter-like bookcase holding the remaining twelve multi-colored glass hands. He watched in amazement as a spark began to form at each end of the collection. A blazing rainbow of bright light shot from the new blue hand and struck Bart squarely in the chest. He knew no more.


Gently Stephanie picked up the new doll. She straightened the little metal-rimmed glasses and adjusted the little gray knitted sweater before placing her latest doll into its new spot on the proper bookshelf.

Coll. Encyclopedia of American Composition Dolls 1900-1950 (Collector's Encyclopedia of American Composition Dolls)


Marisa Birns said...

Wow, that ending was such a surprise!

I know someone who stops at every yard sale possible, so this story made me shudder. :)

Great details here.

Nicely done.

V.R. Leavitt said...

Weezel, I'm not sure where you met my mother or how you know so much about her, but this story freaked me out. ;-) Nicely done again!

Garry M. Graves said...

...goof stuff Wzl, why don't we talk about ebook'n some of your collection of shorts? Advise. --gg

Laura Eno said...

Understanding came too late for Bart... I wonder who her other dolls are?

ganymeder said...

I wonder who the other dolls were also? Great, creepy story!

Eric J. Krause said...

Creepy, creepy stuff here. That's quite a collection, all right. Good story!

Laurita said...

I did NOT see that coming. I guess she really is a true collector. Creepy.

pegjet said...

I was hoping for magic but she did prove daft by making a doll out of the only person caring for her!

LOL. I especially liked this story, because, though i don't collect them, i have several hands and my family thinks they are creepy.