A Room Full of Friends

A Room Full of Friends

By Aleta Kay

© July 28, 2015

Rory looked around his antique shop. He nodded to his customers, smiling as they meandered, checking the prices on the roll-top desks, secretaries, rocking chairs, and old lamps. He was proud of his lighting, the candles creating the ambience of a bygone era.

Mr. Despero approached him with a puzzled look on his face. Pointing to a life-like figure sitting in one of the rockers, he said, “That mannequin doesn’t really look like a mannequin. Where did you find one so life-like?”

Rory half-smiled and shuffled his feet. “I have a secret source for my mannequins. I’ve always been a lonely man, too shy to make friends.”

Mr. Despero looked again at the form sitting in the rocker, then let his gaze drift around the room. There were more such forms, some appeared to be children, some ladies, some men, with a teenager in one or two poses. Where had the proprietor found such life-like mannequins? They looked real, right down to their facial expressions.

Other customers began to notice. Oh, this was going well, Rory thought. People were buying things, but the big draw was the artificial population of the store.

One by one the customers left as the afternoon drew to a dusky close. Turning the closed sign out, Rory locked the door and turned back to his shop.

He stopped by the oversized rocker first and patted the hand of its occupant. “Well, friend, it appears we have success. You were quite a hit.” Next he went to the little boy which he had sat at a child’s table. “There you are, Bobby. Ready for a game of checkers? I see they are all laid out.” He made his rounds around the room, nodding in satisfaction as he went.

When he reached the lady with the layers of ragged clothing and the woolen cap pushed down on her curly hair, he noted that she looked sad. “There, there, Dolly. It’s all better now, you know. You have no more worries, and you aren’t homeless any more. I rescued you, fixed you up, and gave you a home. And look around you, my dear. You are surrounded with friends. I wonder if I could create a new cast to change your countenance? I’ll have to see what I can do.”

He really didn’t have any more room for new homeless friends, the ones he had put out of their misery, skinned, preserved, and given a home.

All rights reserved. Please do not reblog or share. I may try to get it published in an online short story magazine. Please do let me know what you think. All feedback is welcome as long as it is constructive, even if you don’t like it.