Thursday, June 19, 2008

Beautiful Trinkets

Little Girl Sitting in Blue Arm Chair by Mary Cassatt

Beautiful Trinkets


I want things, you know. I may not have finished high school, but I do okay for myself. My small apartment is cheap, and I'm happy with it. I can't afford to drive, so I take the bus, but that's okay, too. The thing is, though, I want stuff--you know, the good stuff--the things that glitter, the jewels that bring a feeling of ease and comfort to life...the trinkets and adornments that make people turn their heads and admire you. With the money I make cleaning houses, those items are way out of my reach. So, I find work in the finest homes in town, so I can be near these lovely treasures.

That's where the trouble comes in. How can a maid resist slipping a glittering diamond necklace in her pocket when she comes across one?

They always trust me and never suspect a thing, but I don't stay long in any one household's employ. That was the plan when I arrived at the Hempstead house, a beautiful Victorian on Fifth Avenue, to work a short while, grab some booty, and move on. My first impediment, however, was their daughter, Claire, a little girl who always hung around watching me work. I needed to be alone to search for the goods.

"Would you like to help?" I asked one day, waving my feather duster at her.

"Hell, no!"

"I beg your pardon?"

"You heard me! We pay you to do the shit work." With that remark, she sauntered from the room. It was time for her favorite afternoon snack of cookies and milk.

I went about my business, flitting the duster about, keeping an eye out for nooks and crannies where a lady might hide her jewels. It was then I spied the glitter of gold in an ornate box tucked in the corner of a closet. The lid was askew to reveal its shiny contents. I checked for the hell child before grabbing up the container. Rifling through it, I picked out a beautiful gold chain with a diamond pendant and held it up to glimmer in the light. It could be months before they missed it.

"What are you doing with my mother's jewelry?" The child stood in the doorway, her face set in stone.

"Just admiring it," I murmured.

"Like hell."

"You know, hasn't anyone ever taught you to respect your elders?"

"I do. But not you. Cold day in hell before I kiss a maid's ass."

I lunged at her. She jumped out of the way, and I landed face first on the floor. The jewelry box I'd been clutching smashed down with me, sending necklaces and rings gliding across the shiny floor in all directions. A movement in the doorway revealed her mother. I needed to think quick.

"Mrs. Hempstead, I caught Claire trying to take some of your jewelry. When I attempted to stop her, well, you see what happened." I nodded to her precious gems all over the place.

"I was not!! THE MAID WAS THE ONE STEALING!"

Mrs. H. stood, foot tapping, thinking. "Claire, you are a bad little girl. I've told you never to touch my jewels. And now, you've practically become a thief. I knew it was only a matter of time...Off to boarding school with you!"

They hauled Claire out of the room, squealing and wailing.

"I'll clean this up," I said.

"Thank you. Please be sure to find all the jewelry and put it back safe and sound."

As she left, I picked up the gold chain necklace with a diamond pendant...and slipped it in my pocket. I love beautiful trinkets. I want things, you know.

Copyright 2008 JO Janoski

9 comments:

  1. Very slick Jo, what an ending. Kept me intrigued the whole story through. What a wonderful story teller you are! :)

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  2. Wow, what a story... I was routing for you all the way...

    The little hellion child had to go. I agree with the above comment.. very slick, what an ending..

    I was glued..just glued. Very, very well written. I could hear music with the story. "I want things, you know..." Loved it.. Kayce

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  3. Nicely done, Jo. You sucked me in. You made me believe she worked in these places only to be near what she desired. I never suspected she had ulterior motives, great twist!

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  4. This is well done, very tightly written, liked the nice rhyming gait to the prose, made it almost prosepoem-like. Wickedness winning out, though I suspect a girl's better off away from a mother like that!

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  5. Thanks, folks! I like pretty things. Errr, are any of you looking to hire a maid?

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  6. Any market for zirconia these days? If so, we're going out to dinner tomorrow night, you can come and clean my bathroom, the jewel box is right on top of the counter... heh heh heh.

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  7. Zirconia? No, only if I come along and you buy me dinner...a very nice dinner.

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  8. wow, I LOVE that painting. And the story, wonderfuly apret po

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  9. Thank you, Ozy. It's been quiet without you around here.

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