Sunflower Skins

July 29, 2010

Experiment 15: Means of Survival

Filed under: experiments, prose — Tags: , , — Sunflower Skins @ 3:09 am

Incidentally, cork sales were up due to deuterium figures sliding, which meant that May’s cork-and-pipecleaner-reindeer keepsakes weren’t as abundant this year, nor as affordable. The rest of the Christmas stock remained the same, as it always did, Yes, I always tried to keep my prices reasonable, but now one of her most prized items, the one all the neighbourhood kids bought each year for their parents and grandparents alike, was not as available as it had been in the past; O they’re still just a beautiful—so cute! and lively! May shakes her head a bit, amends Lifelike! Their spindly legs and googly eyes—they sometimes look as though they’re about to leap off the table, Flying Santa’s sleigh! And then there’s the accompanying mini-sleighs, made with heavy paper and wire, dotted with glitter, ribbon for reins—May’s so proud of this, as she is with every season’s best seller: Spring’s handmade robin’s nest with tiny, bright eggs, and a hand-painted bird house for the pompom-and-pipecleaner Mother Robin; Summer’s sunhats, decorated with ribbons of all colours and false flowers; Fall’s dried-leaf, ironed tissue-paper placemats in orange, brown, and green. Often her seasonal stock was different each year—she’d been here a lot of years—but these four items were a constant. My customers depend on me! May worries a lot. Especially after Anthony, creepy that he is, told her that something about hydrogen levels drying up cork the way the sponges we paint with dry up if we don’t use them—I haven’t painted with sponges in a while, haven’t I? Or with potato shapes either.

May! What are you doing? You’re off in space again, y’old grandma, worrying about getting enough cork to make enough reindeer to please enough of the neighbourhood urchin. Doesn’t that seem a little, I dunno, stupid to you?”

Nurse Morrison leads away Anthony, and she turns her head around to smile blandly at May—who, startled and taken aback, twists some red pipecleaner around her finger and wonders if it’s possible to rehydrate cork.

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