“I’ll never set foot in another sewing shop again!” Sarah Magnuson told herself as she watched her mother test the strength of yet ANOTHER piece of crafting felt. “I’m still not sure cats even SHOULD wear sleeves on their tails, no matter how much money is in it.” Then she looked up to see that everyone in the store was staring at her, and was horrified to realize she’d been saying everything OUT LOUD! Her fear quickly dissipated when she realized she’d been speaking in the secret language that she’d invented when she was a child. “Hah!” She said out loud (in English though). “You have NO IDEA what I’m saying!” But no one reacted, not even Marjery Tinnle, the elderly matron of this old town, who seemed to overreact to every little stupid trivial unimportant thing that no one cares about, gossiping about it like it’s Pearl Harbor or Pearl S. Buck or something. Marjery stood staring with her dumb mouth open (such a sweet old thing) until Evelyn Meachem dropped a spool of ribbon – blue, of course – and it unrolled right across the floor. Sarah thought, “Gee, I’m glad I did my hair this way, everyone seems to love it!” and then she yelled “Hey, look over there!” and ran for the door. “Look out world, here comes Sarah!” is what I bet she wishes she had said as she stepped out onto the wooden sidewalk and looked out upon the day. The dusty streets of this ole’ cowtown were alive with activity and dead with the fact that they were dirt and dirt isn’t alive. It seemed the whole town had decided to take advantage of the sunshine and bring their best horse out for a spin. Teenagers were cruising the main drag on ponies. Old people were puttering along on oversized Clydesdales with their left-turn horse blinkers on. Jack Texaco’s horse feed’n stat’n wan’n run’n out’n hay, which was good because everyone needed a fill-up. Thad Puringame shuffled into Darcy’s Gay Tavern an older man than he would be when he came out, because that’s just the kind of day it was. Sarah knew this would be the perfect day to get rid of Old Man Jonze (not related) once and for all. She skipped down the plank sidewalk in some really great lace-up black boots, in calfskin with a mid-height heel and Lucchese Classic S5-style toes, ruffling her flattering red skirts – textured with a faint damask and a sash that can be removed if needed, making it two dresses in one! A pair of children playing tag rushed past her, but she was so concerned with murder she was barely even infuriated at the disregard for basic decorum they showed, and the completely irresponsible way their parents let them loose on the streets. Before you get too judge-y, and in order to maintain a likable protagonist, you should know that Old Man Jonze had it coming. He was really mean to his dogs (pick whichever breed you like best to add details and texture to your reading experience) and he spit right on the middle of the sidewalk even if there was a trash can right there, and everyday he would make someone cry just because he could. Plus he’d actually gotten away with MURDER!!! And only Sarah knew. She was like “Dexter”. You LOVE “Dexter”! This all went through her mind as she went down the sidewalk, this and how being in the sunshine would give her a pretty good tan. Ralph Meachem saw her and he almost fainted because he had big crush on her, and then a woman ran up to her and said frantically “Have you seen my little boy? He was being chased through here by a dangerous midget!” Well Sarah was just about to give this person a piece of her mind for using what everyone thinks is probably an offensive term for little people but it’s kind of hard to be sure because, you know, no one can really speak for a group as a whole, and “little person” doesn’t seem like all that great of a compromise, and midget doesn’t really have a pejorative connotation when she realized “HOLY CRAP! One of the kids playing tag was a midget! I was too wrapped up with murder to see what was going on! Of course I’ll help”. But she had to repeat herself because she’d said that all in her secret invented language, and the mother or the boy was starting to think maybe she’d made a mistake. Until she saw Sarah’s smile! “They went this way, come on!” And like a flash Sarah took off down the plank sidewalk, pushing people out of the way when necessary but always saying “excuse me.” She found herself in the intersection in the middle of town, but couldn’t see the child or the little person anywhere. The only place they could’ve gone was Darcy’s Gay Tavern. So Sarah strode in. “You can’t!” The mother said behind her. “You’re a woman!” “Lady, maybe if you’d spend less time shoving yourself into gender rolls a size too small and more time watching after your kid, you’d be a better parent. Rolls was a pun.” And that’s almost how that lady became Susan B. Anthony and started feminism. But first, Sarah Magnuson burst through Darcy’s swinging doors and was stared at slack-jawed for the third time that afternoon. She made a note to do her hair like this more often. “Where’s the kid and the Little Person?” she said. “You mean the midget?” asked Thad Puringame. “They’re called dwarves!” yelled Bert Skidoo. “Dwarf is even worse!” shouted someone else, “They prefer to be called little people!” “No one can speak for the whole group” yelled the bartender. “I call him Fred,” said a sweet little voice from a tall booth on the far wall. Sarah walked over, and in the booth found the child and the little person playing cards and drinking root beers. “As you should, little fella. As you should,” said Sarah, her heart welling with pride. It seemed like the whole bar had learned a lesson. “You know your mother is worried about you.” “But she told us to come here. She said we should race!” Sarah spun around to see the boy’s mother in the doorway with an evil smile on her face. “What’s going on here? Who are you?” Sarah demanded. “I’m Lena Jonze. Old Man Jonze’ niece. When I realized what you were up to, I had to stop you. So I distracted you while Old Man Jonze committed another crime that he’s going to get away with, and then fled town!” Sarah felt like she’d been punched in the guts. “You bitch. You should change your name to Susan B. Anthony and become a feminist to make up for this terrible thing.” Lena wanted to say “A femenist? Did we not all just now learn the lesson that no one can speak for a whole group?” but she didn’t, because she knew that Sarah was right. As always. And from that day forward, Sarah vowed to track down Old Man Jonze, and anyone who thought they had escaped justice. And none of them ever got away.
Published by Costa Lapaseotes
The host with the most, I produce Chicago's best variety show, the CostaCoast Cabaret, as well as doing all kinds of comedy (standup, improv, video) around town. Not to mention I love food; I own Oak Park's newest high-end butcher shop (Harrison Quality Meats) and am often in the back of the shop experimenting on new recipes. View all posts by Costa Lapaseotes