What could happen if mannequins were human
|Written for a Writer’s Cramp challenge to write a story or poem based on the prompt: What if mannequins were really humans
A young woman in a cherry-red mid-length skirt and pale lemon-yellow short-sleeve blouse glared at the narrow door that had just closed behind her. “Did you see where that guy put his hands?” She huffed and looked to her right for a response.
“I’m sorry,” said an older-looking woman in a flowered robin’s egg-blue sundress. “You’re new here. I should have warned you about him.”
“He should be arrested. Is he too shallow to know that we’re as human as he is?”
“We're more human, I’d say,” came a voice from the far side of the display area. Both women turned toward a man in tan work pants and a dark blue long-sleeve shirt, open at the collar. “That snake doesn’t deserve to be called human.”
“How does he get away with it?” the red-skirted woman asked.
“He’s Mr. Jacobson’s son-in-law,” said the woman in the flowered sundress. “And he thinks he can do whatever he wants just because Mr. Jacobson owns the place.”
“Well,” said the red-skirted woman, “If he tries something like that again, he’s going to regret it. I don’t care who he is.”
“I know his wife pretty well,” said the tan pants/blue shirt man. “I’ll talk to her. And if he does try that again, he’ll have to deal with me.”
“Thanks,” said the red-skirted woman. “And by the way, my name is---”
“No,” the tan pants/blue shirt man warned her. “We’re not allowed to use our names here.”
“Sorry,” said the red-skirted woman. “They did tell me that during my orientation. But they didn’t really explain why.”
“Their theory is that the less we know about each other, the less likely we’ll be to get distracted by conversation.”
“The more distracted we are,” added the flowered-sundress woman, “the harder it is to maintain a pose.”
“It’s difficult enough to stand in one position while people are watching,” said a nearby man in a gray business suit with a pale lavender shirt and navy tie. “But one thing that helps is to focus your concentration entirely on that position, and pretend that you’re alone in the window.”
Suddenly the narrow door burst open, and the owner’s son-in-law poked his head into the display area. “You people aren’t being paid to gab,” he spouted. “The store opens in five minutes, so I suggest you shut up and start staring blankly at anything but each other.”
“Oh, you do, huh?” The tan pants/blue shirt man took a step toward the son-in-law.
“Get back to your post,” the son-in-law shouted. He stepped into the display window and stood with his hands on his hips in an attempt to look threatening.
“You know what?” said the tan pants/blue shirt man. “I’ve had all I can take of you.”
“I’ll have you fired.”
“I don’t think you will. And if you do, go right ahead. I heard that two stores in the mall are hiring mannequins.” The tan pants/blue shirt man started toward the son-in-law, who turned and lunged for the doorway, tripped over a green and purple ottoman, and pitched forward onto the floor.
Instantly, all four mannequins were on the man, pulling at his clothes as though the same idea had come to all of them at that moment. Seconds later they rose, stepped back in raucous laughter, and watched the son-in-law scramble toward the door wearing nothing but his underpants.
“Not so fast,” called the gray business suit man. He and the tan pants/blue shirt man grabbed the son-in-law by the arms and forced him to the front of the display, where they pressed him against the window for all to see.
“Should we hang a price tag on him?” said the flowered sundress woman.
“No,” laughed the tan pants/blue shirt man. “This show is going to be priceless.”