This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental
So many possible futures lie before us – which one shall we choose?
Currently we are headed towards the death of ourselves and our home,
Whatever we decide now will change our future forever.
This story explores one possible future.
Text copyright © 2020 by Rose Bonney
Book Cover photos, painting and design © 2020
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Jazzle Sandor stood, behind the red line, waiting for the make-up counter, doing her homework on her school authorized pad.
Several women, who were served while she was waiting, mumbled angrily as they strode out of the store.
After twenty minutes, Jazzle reached the front of her line. She went up to the counter.
“How can I help you?” the young server asked, looking through the clear plastic shield that, hopefully, protected her from migrating germs.
“It’s my mascara,” Jazzle started to explain. She pulled the container from her pocket and tried to give it to the server through the small opening at the bottom of the shield.
“You are old enough to know the rules,” the server said, sounding frustrated, as she pushed the container back towards Jazzle using a long stick. “When your counter reaches zero, you bring your container here, we clean the wand and put in a new cartridge.”
“Yes,” Jazzle agreed with a friendly smile. “But my counter is stuck on two. See?”
Carefully staying well back from the counter, Jazzle showed the server the counter, pulled out the wand and showed her the counter again.
“It still says two. It needs fixing.”
“You know the rules,” the server repeated. “When your counter goes down to zero, please come back and we will help you.”
“But it won’t go down. And I didn’t even use it on the weekends so I could have a new one for prom.”
The server looked anxiously towards the CCTV camera to her right, before she repeated, “You know the rules. Come back when your counter reaches zero.
Jazzle considered refusing to move, but one of the security guards was already staring at her.
She finished her homework on the bus and walked the rest of the way home.
Her sister was watching for Jazzle from her bedroom window.
“Your dress came,” Noma yelled. “Hurry up, I want to see it.”
“Tell the whole neighborhood why don’t you?” Jazzle yelled back.
“They already know! Doré has hers too. It’s green with gold sparkling things.”
Jazzle ran to the front door, before her sister could yell anything else.
“Come in, come in,” her mother called. “We’ve been waiting for you. Your father is downstairs so he can see it.”
Jazzle went to hang up her jacket just as Noma raced down the stairs and almost knocked her down.
“And Granny is here too,” Noma shouted happily.
“And I just lost the rest of my hearing,” Romil complained as Noma bounced up and down next to Jazzle.
From the couch, their father, Skeery smiled.
“Not to worry,” he said softly. “There’s nothing wrong with my hearing so you don’t have to shout.”
“Sorry, Dad,” Noma apologized. She went over and sat down on the floor in front of her father.
“So let’s see this dress,” Romil suggested, “Before prom has come and gone.”
Jazzle stared at the large box on the dining room table.
“I wish I had a choice,” she thought. “I’d like a fluffy pink dress with glow in the dark stars in the skirt and a tight waist – and – what does it matter? I get what I get. I can’t change anything.”
Reluctantly, Jazzle opened the box to find exactly what she expected; a plain blue dress.
“Where’s the history stuff?” Her mother, Kestrel, searched through the tissue paper wrapping until she found it. “Here we are.”
She opened the large blue envelope and checked for the Chronicle Card.
“Doesn’t look like anyone interesting,” Kestrel said as she skimmed through the names of other people who had worn the dress.
“Not surprising,” Jazzle thought, as she held up the blue dress.
“Plain doesn’t even start to describe this thing, there’s no lace, no frills, no tulle. Nothing. It’s a plain and boring dress for a plain and boring me.”
“There’s some lovely original certificate cards in here,” Kestrel commented as she looked through the envelope, “But the last one is copied straight from the Suggested Etiquette Book.
“I hope your Prom is as delightful and memorable as mine,” she read. “Well let’s take a better look as this thing.”
“It needs help,” Noma said.
“Yes it does,” Romil agreed. “In my day we spent days shopping for the perfect dress. And all the girls got their hair done at a salon, with manis and pedis, and professional makeup.” She looked wistful as she thought of the past.
“Yes, I am sure you did,” Skeery agreed with a smile, “and you got blisters on your feet before the dance even started.”
“You know,” Kestrel suggested thoughtfully. “I think it’s time to give this dress some Sandor care.”
“Can we do that?” Jazzle asked. “We’re not supposed to change anything on the dress.”
“But we’re allowed to mend anything that needs it, and I say this dress needs some mending to be what it should be – something special.”
“I vote for flowers along the neckline,” Noma said.
“It’s not your dress,” Jazzle reminded her, “But I like the idea. Doré’s dress is green with gold sparkles, what about adding some silver flowers to mine?”
“Sure – make moon flowers that sparkle in the night.” Noma ran upstairs to grab her sketchbook.
“I can take a turn embroidering,” Romil offered. “We’ve got two weeks, I am sure we can finish in time.”
Jazzle managed to smile. She would have gladly walked to as many shops as it took, blisters and all, to find the prefect dress, but at least she wouldn’t be stuck in this plain thing.
Kestrel pulled out her drawer of embroidery threads and ribbons, while Noma returned to her place on the floor and started sketching.
Skeery lay back on his pillows and closed his eyes.