a bowl of raspberries

Violet knocked on the door with the yellow triangle. She cleared her throat, nervous. Under the doorway, Violet could see and hear Marrionetta’s slender wooden feet as they cluttered and cast a multifaceted shadow.

Violet was very familiar with Marrionetta’s bodywork. As a dancer, Violet was sensitive to the physicalities of others. Naturally, she had seen Marrionetta — the star of the circus — perform many times. Like the audience members, Violet too was entranced by the otherworldly tenses of Marrionetta’s physique. However, Violet had also seen Marrionetta in her personal routines and unconscious browsings around the circus. Violet was always struck by the continuities between the star’s stage art and her private rhythms. Most of the other circus performers hated Marrionetta as she was hostile and erratic. But Violet understood something about Marrionetta. She was a performer and performers are trapped in the demanding stage play of their own lives. Perfectionists striving to make every moment something beautiful and significant.

Violet made a point to angle at chances to speak with Marrionetta privately. She wanted to round out her education with a bit of Marrionetta’s interior approaches. Rarely had Violet found sufficient reason to bother her until the elephants had provided her with just such a case.

The door opened. Marrionetta was dressed in a casually decadent robe and eating raspberries out of a bowl. Violet smiled. “Hello, Miss Mary.”

Marrionetta felt neutral towards Violet which was high honors for anybody. She had no expression on her face when she saw the inconsequential dancer in her doorway. She refrained from insulting Violet which was an invitation for Violet to continue speaking.

“Sorry to interrupt your relaxation after the show. I wanted to ask your advice on something. As a dancer.”

Marrionetta crossed her arms while still holding the bowl of raspberries aloft. It was that highly concentrated, furrowed crossing that is only capable among wooden toys. Her angled joints, fashioned purposefully to hinge and crease, were perfectly oiled and haughty.

“Drutherstone’s asked me to train the elephants and I need to come up with an interesting routine.”

Marrionetta arched a wiry eyebrow. Then, almost from nowhere, a laugh squeezed itself out of her lungs. This startled Violet who poised herself to leave immediately.

“Drutherstone” the named rolled around in the puppetress’s mouth. “Such an imbecile.” Marrionetta wafted away from the door, an implicit invitation for Violet to enter, which she did.

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