It’s time for this month’s writing prompt. The prompt will appear in bolded text in the story.
You need this job. You need this job, You need this job, I chanted silently to myself. Keep your mouth shut. You need this job.
When Aubrey had described her Aunt Beatrix as whimsical and a little eccentric, I’d been expecting that maybe she collected teapots, or salt and pepper shakers, or even creepy porcelain dolls, not…this. This was… Fuck me, I didn’t even have a word for what this was.
But, the job paid well–ridiculously well, I’d thought when Aubrey had first mentioned it, and it included on site room and board. Better still, it was close to the theatre district which would make it perfect for auditioning and any shows I might get cast in. On paper, it was a dream job. In reality, however…
“Now, as I’m sure Aubrey mentioned, I have a maid to take care of the rest of the apartment,” Beatrice was saying as she walked farther into the huge room, “but my gallery requires too much work for Elin to handle on top of her regular duties.” Beatrix turned to me with a smile. “Which is where you come in.”
“Right,” I murmured, trying not to let my revulsion show.
Beatrix smiled–a small curving of the lips, reminding me of a benevolent saint in a stained glass windows of my childhood church. That was where the resemblance stopped. I was fairly certain her dress cost more than the entirety of wardrobe plus my previous annual income.
“Now, I expect that you’ll have a busy audition and rehearsal schedule, pretty girl like you.”
“Thank you. I hope so, ma’am”
She nodded knowingly, then added, “But the contents of this room will need to be dusted thoroughly every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. There are archivist gloves in the top drawer.” She pointed toward an antique wooden filing cabinet. “You’ll need a fresh pair each day.”
She walked farther in to the room, and I followed reluctantly. “Each piece must be taken down, and both it and it’s spot dusted carefully. I know that they look clean, but dust accumulates quickly.”
Oh god. I was going to have to touch them. All of them. Every last one of them. Three times a fucking week. “Have you ever considered those vacuum-sealed display cases?”
Her laughter tinkled like broken glass hitting a tile floor. And I could swear that the hundreds of ventriloquist dummies that surrounded us were laughing, too.
“Don’t be silly. How would I play with them, then?”
“I am way too sober for this shit.” I muttered under my breath.
“What was that, dear?”
I pasted on my most convincing smile. “Oh, sorry. I said, I’m looking forward to it.”
That’s it for me, today. Be sure to check out Siobhan’s take on the prompt, too.