This one was written on the theme “Collection”. One of my writers groups loved it, the other didn’t quite as much.
“You’re 26, Mona!” Hazel Bailey’s tone was exasperated. “You’re too old for toys. You’ve got to get rid of them. The house is too small for all your things.”
“These aren’t just toys, Mum,” Mona protested. “Look! Warrior Princess Posy, one of only 800 sold, still in its original packaging! A collector would pay through the nose for this!”
Mona pointed to a golden-haired doll in a cardboard box, clad in iron-shod leather armour. Over 40 boxed Posy dolls were neatly stacked between two joists in the Baileys’ attic. There was Hawaiian Posy, Regency Posy, Flower Power Posy, Debutante Ball Posy (Mona’s favourite), Space Vixen Posy and more. Countless other dolls and accessories lay packed into plastic Addis boxes beside them.
“So, it’s an investment, then?” Hazel said sarcastically.
“Exactly,” Mona replied stoutly.
“Mona, this house is an investment!” Hazel cried, throwing up her arms. “You’ve got a mortgage to pay off. And it’s only a little maisonette! You’ll have a kitchen, lounge, garden, bathroom and bedroom, all yours alone. You need to thinks about what’s important.”
There was silence for a while. Mona bit her lip, deep in thought, as she weighed her beloved dolls against her new house. Her shoulders slumped.
“There,” said Hazel, “You see I’m talking se…”
“I’ll see what Barry thinks,” Mona piped up.
“Barry!” Hazel snorted. “That boy is a sponge, girl! You realise his parents bought him that Porsche? He’s only interested you so he can show you off to his mates! Frankly, you’re just Posy to his Cal.”
“Mum, you’re wrong,” Mona retorted shrilly, clenching her fists. “How many other guys could be NCO’s in the Fleet Air Arm? How many could be executive chopper pilots, let alone run their own firm? His parents may have got him started, like you did me, but he’s a good man, Mum. He cares.”
“Do you really think that, Mona?” Hazel went on. “When you have this in your attic? Do you really think he respects that?”
“Look, Mum,” Mona sighed, “We’ve got two weeks in France about to start. I’ll deal with this when I’m back, my own way.”
A car’s horn gave three short blasts in the street outside. Mona squealed with joy while Meeko, the Baileys’ Pomeranian, barked excitedly downstairs. Rushing down the attic steps onto the landing, Mona nearly collided with her father.
“Hi, poppet,” he grinned. “Barry’s here.”
“Thought he was,” Mona beamed. “See you, Daddy. Love you.”
She kissed him, then raced to grab her jacket and handbag.
“Make sure you leave time to pack!” Hazel called down from the hatch. “You as well, George.”
Three short horn blasts sounded outside the Baileys’ on the morning they returned home. Meeko started yapping while Mona raced towards the door.
“Mona, what are you doing?” Hazel yelled from the kitchen. “I’ve only just got your poached eggs ready!”
“Put ‘em in the fridge,” Mona called as she grabbed her jacket. “Barry’s taking me out for brunch.”
“You might have told m…”
But Hazel’s voice was cut off as the front door slammed. She huffed, looked at Mona’s freshly prepared eggs… then whistled for Meeko to come over.
Mona got quite a surprise when she got outside.
“Barry!” she cried. “Since when did you drive a Volkswagen?”
“Since I sold the Porsche last week,” he grinned. “Hop in.”
Mona hopped in and kissed him.
“How was Brittany?” Barry asked.
“It was lovely,” Mona replied, “But why did you sell your Porsche? You loved that thing.”
“I’ll show you,” Barry said mysteriously.
They drove to Mona’s maisonette, where they found Barry’s friend Maurice standing beside a flat-bed truck, parked in the driveway. Inside it were several pieces of wood and glass, painted in garish shades.
“Recognise this?” grinned Barry.
“Barry!” Mona cried, enraptured. “It’s just like Posy’s Dream House!”
“I sold the Porsche so I could invest in a solution to your doll problem,” Barry said simply. “Maurice will help us assemble the pieces in the garden, then you can store all your Posies and Cals there. I felt it wasn’t fair if I had something special and someone I cared for missed out.”
“Barry, I don’t know what to say!” Mona blurted out happily.
“Start with thank you,” Barry shrugged. “And you know, if you grow tired of Posy, it’d make a great playhouse for the kids.”
“How do you know we’ll have kids?” Posy said archly.
Barry smiled a winning smile.
“All pilots need good instinct.”