Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Purple Flume


Describe how your character handles a serious bout of financial troubles.

Justine placed the hand full of papers to one side. Many of them bore a red stamp or a highlighted mark. “Overdue” “Please pay at your earliest convenience”. She sighed and wondered how she would juggle things this week.

“Mummy, Mummy, Josh is going to squash me” .A streak of pink ribbons burst into the room, followed closely by a barrage of brown corduroy. The mess tumbled onto Justines bed in a mass of squeals and giggles, and dispite her mood, Justine smiled. A small arm grabbed her shirt and tugged her onto the bed. The bills could wait, there was some serious tickling to do.

Later that evening, as Justine smoothed a curl away from the face of her daughter as she slept; the dark dread of the bills crept back through her body. She turned and ran head first into the chest of her husband. His pained and sad look mirrored hers. There were no words needed.

Alex and she were past arguing about money. He felt trapped in his lowly paid job, having completed his apprenticeship part time with the company and now his loyalty forced him to stay. Although Justine had tried to find a role that would suit the childrens school hours and be flexible with holidays and unexpected sickness, she was unable to secure a job to suit the needs of their family. She had only spent a few years out of the workforce whilst she was pregnant and raiding toddlers, but so much had changed with technology and the skills required to do the simplest of tasks, that she felt overwhelmed and inadequate.

Justine slipped a bright red slip along the kitchen bench to Alex. “ Our phone is being disconnected tomorrow and we have less than a week until the electricity is turned off. I was able to put off the rates till next month. Oh and I think the suspension in the car is finally gone.” Alex stalked off silently into their bedroom. Justine let a long sigh out. She saw no way in which they were able to manage this month. Pride prevented Alex to approach either family or government agencies for assistance.

The next day, after walking Lulu and Josh to school, Justine wandered aimlessly around the local shopping precinct. Her procrastination could wait no longer and she found a phone booth to start her calls to family and friends for help. An hour later, her crumpled list wet with tears of shame and frustration, she allowed her forehead to rest on the side of the phone booth. One of the multitude of advertising cards and notes stuck above the pay phone stuck to her head as she stood up. She absent-mindedly retrieved it and slipped it into her bag before turning to go back home.

Justine flipped the card over and over in her hand. “Escape your Reality, Indulge others Fantasies… call 55533221” with a small “we are hiring” on the backside. Has it come to this? Selling her body? Justine sucked her breathe in and hid the card in her bag for the fifth time.

“Mummy, why do we have to go to bed so early? I want to watch TV. Umm where is our TV?”

Justine smoothed the golden locks of the plaintive whiner. “Lets pretend we are camping. I have some candles and torches to find our way round the house when it gets dark.” The doubting looks on her childrens faces nearly broke her heart. “ I have a wonderful story about a princess who was captured and taken to a dark cave.. if you interested” Squeals of delight rang in her ears and the three of them rushed into bed delighted in the shapes they could make with the torchlight to highlight her story.

The next day, Justine stood in front of the phone booth for an hour before she picked up the received to dial the number on the card.. She was greeted with a warm velvety voice whose rippling laughter put her at ease once she had stumbled with her enquiry about the job.

“ You have an intriguing edge to your voice. I like you already, when would you like to start?”

Justine blushed and gulped. “ I can start straight away. But I don’t do any kinky stuff and no gross old men either”

The rippling laugh rang out again. “ I think you misunderstand what it is that we do. This is not an escort agency. We indulge our clients fantasies over the phone.”

Justine squeaked.” Phone sex?”

“ Oh” said the silken voice, “ “ if that’s what you want to call it. However we like to think we are artists weaving a tale of fantasy, so real and erotic that our clients feel they can release whatever emotions they need to. We charge – and pay you by the second by the way, and you get bonuses for repeat clients.” So, Justine, do you like to tell stories?”

“Well yes, I tell my children bedtime stories all the time” She blushed, “ but I can’t put sex or that sort of thing into them. I’d be too embarrassed”.

Another ripple of laughter.” Just tell me a normal story and I will be the judge of everything else”

Justine relaxed and began weaving her magic.

Her assessor laughed with honest delight at the end. “You’re hired!”

“What?” Justine was confused.” But I can’t do phone sex.”

“Honey don’t worry about it. There are some set scenarios to use. With your first couple of callers, just use them but I am sure you will get in the swing of it soon enough and you will be freestyling with the best of us.”

“Umm” Justine started,” I don’t have a phone. It got cut off”

“Don’t be concerned. We send you a whole kit.”

They exchanged details and confirmation of payment, client base and other semantics before Justine rang off , her heart lighter than it had been for months.

The next day, a courier left a small brown papered box which she immediately hid till everyone had gone to bed before ripping it open under torchlite. Inside, a mobile phone, a single purple feather plume and a small folio of instructions, notes and details and lastly a gold gilded card with “During your calls, flourish your feather to get in the zone”

Two months later, after school drop off, Justine drove home in a modest, but very sound family sedan. She had been careful to hide her earnings investing in good quality second hand furniture, completely paying off debts and purchasing small electrical appliances which could be hidden in cupboards when Alex was around. Justine was able to take calls during school hours and slip into the garden shed when everyone was asleep at night. Alex never asked about the bills and she was thankful she never had to explain how she was now able to balance their finances and to start to save to go on a family holiday and perhaps to put a deposit down on a home of their own.

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Chris said...

Nice weave. Your story brought a smile to my face, great job.