I think the muse might be on holiday (or strike – her pay and conditions are not, I suppose, generous) this week, because I’ve really struggled to get anything out of either the FF prompt yesterday or the InMon prompts today. Nevertheless, I think there is something useful in forcing yourself to write even when you don’t feel like it, or when the ideas don’t flow, so here I am, in front of the computer, pondering the prompts.
The “everything wrong” prompt could sort of have applied to yesterday’s story. I’ve gone for Curiosity Shop instead.
Outside Her Comfort Zone
She only went in to look. It was one of those shops where nothing had a price label and if you had to ask, you couldn’t afford it. She didn’t even like that kind of shop: white walls and only ten items on display and staff who made her feel like Julia Roberts without Richard Gere’s credit cards. She almost turned around again, but curiosity got the better of her and she found herself right in the middle of the shop, looking at a pair of black shoes covered in black sequins and standing on a bright white plinth.
They weren’t even her sort of shoes. She preferred a shorter heel; it was more comfortable and made her feel less trashy. Less like what her Mum would have called a “tramp”, or, at her most coarse, a “trollop”. Of course, Mum didn’t know what she did. Mum thought the money came from a nice steady office job; something she could discuss over lunch with Lady Oliver and Mrs Farthingshaw. Something to keep Minty occupied until the right chap came along and saved her the indecency of working at all. If Mum had seen her out on the streets, she’d have … but Mum didn’t come to this part of town.
The shoes, Minty reminded herself, as a gentle cough brought her attention back to the shop.
“Can I help you, Madam?” There it was, the slightly curled lip, the doubtful expression and even … Minty waited until she saw it … the flick of the eyes to the Security guard at the back of the store.
Pa had given her a credit card and encouraged her to treat herself occasionally. Minty could have bought the shoes, saved herself any embarrassment, and walked straight out of the shop with her head held high. But she didn’t even want them. She was just killing time, taking a break.
Minty looked around at the shop. A few pairs of shoes on pedestals, three handbags elegantly presented against the back wall, a single rail of glorious dresses. She didn’t want any of it. She was suddenly desperate to get out, back to the streets where she felt at home, back to the offensive refusals of the people she tried to stop, and the cheerful competition of her colleagues. It wasn’t classy, but there was something real and alive about working out in the rain, doing something you loved, and maybe making the tiniest difference to the world in the process.
Minty pulled her clipboard out from under her jacket.
“I hope so. Are you interested in children’s welfare?” she said to the assistant. The lady took a step back. She was off her stride now, and Minty was back into hers. “Only, we’re looking for people to sign up for a small regular donation to help reduce infant mortality in Africa.”