her elaborate fussiness

Ungulen knocked loudly on the door with the yellow triangle.

“Ay, Netty! Sleeping out wigtails, are we? Upsies or I’m giving ninth shift your breakfast tins.” There was no answer. He knocked louder.

“Netta! Cut your diva butter bunchin’ and open the door.” He waited a few moments. Then he rolled his eyes and, in one momentous arc of his powerful leg, he popped the door cleanly off its hinges and into Marrionetta’s dressing room.

“Sorry but you’re being a real puss today.” Ungulen stepped in over the fallen door.

To his complete surprise, Marrionetta was not inside. Ungulen looked around the room carefully. Nothing seemed particularly out of place. At least, by Marrionetta’s standards nothing looked out of place. Her rooms — which were wherever she chose to take up residence on the fairgrounds at any given moment– were always a total bother to Ungulen’s sense of orderliness and proportion. How could such a small, wood cut woman live in such an unnecessary state of clutter? Her elaborate fussiness never ceased to annoy him. Then again, she was the star and he, the humble groundskeeper. What did he know?

Still, it was odd her not being there. Come to think of it, he hadn’t really seen much of her on the fairgrounds for weeks. Because their next big act was a showcase for Violet and the elephants, Marrionetta hadn’t been required at any rehearsals in some time. He thought he saw her traipsing around on the hill a few evenings ago but now he wasn’t so sure.

Something wasn’t right.

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