“I do love a little magic. Let’s try writing some – Abracadabra!!”
I wrote this story for the following prompt.
Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Wordle — Weltanschauung, Secret, Admirer, Turmoil, Blessing, Honour, Beauty
Yin Yang, Toss, Tone, High, Nod,
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Kenspeckle
Your Daily Word — Deceit
Word of the Day Challenge — Notebook
Fandango’s One-Word Challenge – Better
Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge – Picture above by Natalya Vaitkevich @ Pexels.com.
Art galleries were supposed to be places of peace and calm. They were supposed to be free of turmoil to allow patrons to enjoy and contemplate the art on show. Weren’t they?
Meg approached the window with an artificial spray of eucalyptus and her notebook in her hand. She gazed at life passing by outside and sighed. It was alright for those people and their perfect lives. Meg knew hers was falling apart around her.
It was only 10 AM, and already she’d had to toss a thief from the gallery, and deal with a debt collector. Worse, her assistant Lizzy had broken a galactic piece called ‘Weltanschauung’ That was fifteen grand down the drain. Lizzy was waiting for stitches at the hospital having cut herself on Mars.
Meg gave a nod to a familiar passer-by. His smile made her feel better. He always had on a smart blue viscose suit. He could have been her secret admirer going by the number of times he passed the gallery. Of course, he worked nearby and was just passing for coffee, maybe lunch. Yet it was fun to imagine the possibilities.
Looking down at herself, Meg sighed. Maybe the thief and accident were the days ‘yin’ and now she could ‘yang’ into the afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day. However, her white blouse was lowering the tone today. The left half was hanging out of her trousers and that would never do.
Tucking herself in, she turned from the window and flinched. The man she’d just nodded to stood by the display of elephants, smiling at her.
“Good morning,” he began in a rich, deep voice. “I must say, it’s always an honour and a blessing to gaze at your beauty every day I pass your gallery.’
Meg blushed and made to speak, but he wasn’t done.
‘I’m sure nothing for sale in here is a special as you.” he finished like a Romeo trying that little bit too hard.
“That’s high praise, thank you,” Meg said through dry lips. She glanced at the door and frowned. “What — er — who are you?”
The man chuckled, “I’m Griffin Grimes and a genuine man; I assure you.”
“I’m not falling for your deceit, Mr Grimes. I saw you smiling as you passed the gallery door and window. The security bell did not tinkle either. You …” Meg’s words caught in her throat. She choked before forcing herself to say what she was realising, “You didn’t come in through the door. How did you get in here?”
“What? Of course, I came through the door. And please call me Griffin.”
“You did not — Griffin!” Meg strode over to the door and swung it open. The bell above tinkled gaily, then chimed once again as she shut the door with a thud. “The bell always tinkles and you didn’t make it tinkle when you got in here having already passed the door.”
“I see you’re quite astute.” Griffin perched upon an artistically decorated dining chair. “Did you consider —”
Meg pounced, “Get out of that chair! It’s worth five thousand pounds and I can’t afford your arse to devalue it!”
Griffin acted as if trying to look behind him, “I didn’t realise my posterior had such a negative effect on things. I do apologise.”
“I’m sorry too. My assistant cost me fifteen grand this morning.” Meg turned away as the weight of the situation crushed down upon her. She couldn’t afford that loss; she was already struggling to pay the bills.
“Good grief, what did she do? Clean up coffee with a Picasso or something?”
“She dropped the ‘Weltanschauung’ and smashed it.”
“The ‘Well to shag’, hey. What a shame, sounds erotic,” Griffin bounced his eyebrows amorously.
Meg couldn’t help but giggle, ‘Weltanschauung’ It’s German. The word means a comprehensive conception or image of the universe and the human relationship to it. The sculptor Gunter Weiss created a statue of our universe where each planet was a human face.”
“Oh, well, that won’t help in the bedroom. Sounds ripe for a political debate instead.”
“Hmhmm, Yup, and Lizzie smashed Mars, Jupiter and Uranus.” Meg flicked her mousey hair from her shoulder and indicated a box containing the remains of the piece.”
“Thank goodness, she spared Earth!” Griffin remarked.
“Well, if she smashed Earth, we’d all be in the contents of Uranus, wouldn’t we?” Griffin laughed.
Meg gave a wry smile. “Very impressive. You just morphed from a smart intelligent gentleman to a silly schoolboy in an expensive suit!”
“Ouch! You sting like a wasp you know, that?” Griffin looked affronted.
“Yes, and I have the memory of an elephant too!” Meg narrowed her eyes at him. “So, let’s try again. Who are you and how did you get in here?”
“Would you believe, by magic?”
Meg shook her head.
“May I?” Griffin indicated the spray of eucalyptus.
“Sure.” Meg handed it to him.
Griffin held it from the base of the branch. He took a deep breath and ran a hand along the length to the stems of leaves.
Meg gasped in surprise.
The leaves passed between his fingers and re-emerged with red-tinged edges. As the final stem came free of his fingers, a beautiful yellow rosebud unfurled into the most beautiful flower.
“For you,” Griffin said with a regal bow.
“That was beautiful!” Meg smell the rose and smiled. “Thank you.”
“Now, you see. With a little magic, one does not need to set a bell chiming when he enters through a regular door.” Griffin picked up the box containing the remains of the ‘Weltanschauung’ He placed it on the counter beside the till.
“What are you doing?” Meg came over tense. The sculptor was already going to murder her without more damage being done to his piece.
Griffin took a shard of Jupiter from the box. The Jovian planet was kenspeckle by its lines and red spot. Something that made it all the more remarkable to realise it was the face of an old man. “I dear say, Lizzie really cracked it when she dropped this one!”
“Ha! You’re a real comedian, aren’t you?” Meg placed her hands on her hips. “Don’t break it anymore, please.”
“Trust in me, and you’ll be in a world made of fewer pieces,” Griffin sang as he took out a large red handkerchief. He laid it over the box, smiled and removed it again. The ‘Weltanschauung’ was gone in place of a large chestnut-brown teddy bear with a red bowtie. “Once again, for you.”
Meg took and hugged the bear. “Thank you, but Gunter is coming to collect his piece soon. So, you better make it reappear.”
“Of course.” Griffin had a swift walk around the gallery. He admired paintings on the walls and paused to look at a few of the sculptures. “Ah, so the piece resided upon this Romanesque inspired pedestal, correct?”
“It did,” Meg joined him. “I’ll have to find something else to put there now.” She reached out to remove the label and flinched as Griffin took and kissed her hand.
“Mmm, skin as soft as silk and flavoured with peaches and strawberries,” he remarked.
Meg swiftly withdrew her hand, “What, are you going to eat me now?”
“I should say not. I did dine with cannibals once — it was the most inhumane feast imaginable.” Griffin shook himself. “Anyway.”
“Anyway?” Meg repeated
Griffin flourished the handkerchief and played it over the marble pedestal.
The material began to take on spherical shapes. Then as it was whisked away, the pedestal was no longer empty.
Meg gasped, the ‘Weltanschauung’ was back in one piece and looking beautiful again. Each of the planets shone as the multicultural faces looked back at her with wisdom that said they contained the vast knowledge of the universe.
“How’s that?” Griffin asked.
Meg was dumbstruck. She turned her shock widened eyes from the valuable piece to Griffin and smiled at him.
“You just saved my life and my business,” she managed as she flung herself on and hugged him.
“Honestly, the pleasure’s mine.” Griffin grinned and pointed over her shoulder.
Meg turned to see Lizzie standing in the doorway. “Lizzie, you’re back. And … Now, you can get in without ringing the bloody bell.”
Lizzie was in her early twenties. She had the cutest ginger pigtails, which set off her midnight blue pinafore dress perfectly. “Hi, Meg,” she said closing the door so the bell tinkled.
“What the — how in the world?” Meg spluttered.
Lizzie held up a remote control containing just the buttons. “This is how. If we switch the magnet on, it holds the bell so it won’t ring.” Lizzie demonstrated, then opened the door without a sound. She pressed the second button then closed the door setting the bell tinkling again.
Meg looked between her and Griffin with narrowed eyes. “Which means, Lizzie. You know Griffin and you both set me up.”
“We must confess to being in cahoots,” Griffin said. “Lizzie told me of your financial difficulties. She explained that she offered to take a pay cut to help you. That you continue to pay her in full while maintaining your kind-heartedness and care for her despite the turmoil and despair you’ve been going through. I knew then, I had to do something to help. You cannot let the one you’ve fallen for suffer, can you?”
“So, you had Lizzie break the piece as an excuse for you to sneak in here and magically repair it?” Meg stated while ignoring his last sentence.
“Something like that.” Lizzie came over and hugged her boss. “I didn’t cut my hand when I dropped the piece this morning. I faked that as an excuse to leave the gallery.”
“What did you do?” Meg said in an accusing voice
Lizzie opened the door again. This time maybe a dozen people entered. All wearing expensive suits and dresses. “I met with lots of wonderful people and brought them here. This is Pierre Domengeaux. He has a cheque for sixteen thousand pounds for the ‘Weltanschauung’ everyone else here are art and sculpture enthusiasts. Each is eager to buy and sell pieces here. Griffin owns the art gallery at the Castle Museum, he arranged for everyone to come here today, you see.”
“Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Meg-a-lithic art and sculpture gallery and shop. Please come in and take a look around,” Meg invited. Turning to Griffin she added, “Thank you so much for helping me.”
“It’s been a pleasure. Although, I did have one request.” Griffin said having shaken the rich Frenchman’s hand.
“What you have in mind?”
“Will you allow Lizzie to take all these people’s money, and come to dinner with me? You see, the rose and the bear weren’t just romantic magic. I really do feel long to get to know and love you.”
Meg took a breath. “Lizzie, you’re in charge. Don’t bloody well break anything!”
Thanks for reading my friends.
Have a great day!