Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Orgy of the Mannequins




DISCLAIMER: This is a piece of fiction. The title of this post came to mind mind first when I was window-watching some mannequins in front of a store. With the title in hand, I worked out a story. The story can continue on after this or can end here itself with this post, leaving the rest to suspense. I hope you do enjoy the story. Do leave your comments and let me know how it is. Cheers!


Whenever I walk past Uncle Sam’s tailoring shop along the Upper Cross Street in Chinatown, I would always stop for a moment to look inside his shop through the glass windows. Uncle Sam would be busy working behind his tailoring machine. He would lift his head up for a moment, look in my direction, give me a broad smile and a nod, and then return back to his work. He must have realized within a few days, even without looking at the old grandpa clock hanging by the wall, that by then, it was already seven in the evening. He knew me as the guy who would drop by his shop everyday evening and look through the glass windows for some time; he knew that I always stopped by to look at his mannequins and I kind of had an idea that he knew about it because he would return back to his work quickly after the smile and the nod, head and hands down, immersed completely into each and every punch the machine needle made on the cloth, letting me watch his mannequins.

The first time I stopped by his shop was when I suddenly realized, out of nowhere, that I had forgotten to take my room keys from my office drawer. I turned around to return back to the office just in time to see an old man at work through the glass windows of his shop. The name of the shop was ‘Uncle Sam’s’, which I assumed was his too. It was a normal sight, just like any other person would have been behind that machine stitching clothes. But there was something inexplicable about the sight of that entire store and the man behind the machine that made me stand there for a few moments and watch him work; it was a scene torn right out of a fairy tale, a mysterious fairy tale. And suddenly my eyes drifted to the side of his store where all the mannequins stood, right behind the glass pane.

That was when I realized that I would be stopping by the glass window every day. The sun was just going down the Far East Sea and there were these thin rays of light that went piercing through the glass panes. The mannequins were positioned standing in such a way that from the spot where I stood, I could see a ray of light that went straight through the glass and landed on her face, all of a sudden making her the brightest of the lot. She was no more concealed or lost among the others, and that one sight of her that day made my heart skip a beat and I was lost out of breath for a moment. I had never seen anything as beautiful as her.

And from then on, I would stop by Uncle Sam’s tailoring shop every day after work, when the town church clock strikes seven. It would be sunset by the time and there would be tiny rays flooding by, which made the whole scene dreamy. The first time Uncle Sam spotted me, he looked at me for a few moments before returning back to his work. And once I saw that he was back to his machine, I turned around to look at her. This kept repeating the following three days after which, when Uncle Sam saw me through his glass windows, he smiled at me and gave me a nod. I finally had my approval and that day, I remember standing there even several minutes after all the rays had vanished and she was getting back to being just another mannequin among the lot; she still had a tinge of a glow for some time even after the rays were gone, just like the moon. I thought of standing there till the dawn for the sunrays to come flooding by again but by then, the shop would be closed and Uncle Sam would have closed the drapes.

The moment I laid my eyes on her, I knew that it was not the last time I would be stopping over by the store to watch her. She was one of the mannequins that stood by the glass door, most of her body concealed by the others except from the chest up, quite inconspicuous to a random eye passing by. She was different; her clothes too were carved into her body unlike the others and she stood there with her hands covering her breasts; an angel carved out of a white precious stone. Every time I looked at her when the sunrays lighted up her face, I was beginning to understand what beauty was and each and every time I got lost. Her face made me realize that perhaps beauty was under-rated. And I would go back to my apartment and lie down on my bed at night thinking about her, waiting for the next evening. Even after all these days of watching her from the outside, it had never occurred to me to go in to Uncle Sam’s after the sunset.

-***************-

November was up on the Calendar, which meant winter had already begun. The daylight would be shorter which meant the sun would be gone soon before seven. I could already see that the rays were vanishing sooner than before and hence I started my evening walk after office five minutes earlier. It was November 1st and I left my office just in time to get a cup of tea from Aunt Breda’s café and walked down the Upper Cross Street to my favorite place on earth. I reached Uncle Sam’s tailoring shop to find the drapes shut. The sign on the door said ‘Closed’. I was disappointed. I dropped the cup of tea in the trash can by the street and headed off to my room. I couldn’t sleep that night.

The next day, I got up off bed before sunrise and went down the Upper Cross Street to Uncle Sam’s. The shop was still closed and the drapes were still shut. I wondered where he was and why has he not opened the shop. I was disappointed. I stood there wondering why I was feeling so disappointed; after all she’s just a mannequin. I went to work with a heavy heart. As the clock struck 6:30PM, I was out of my office. I got my usual tea from Aunt Breda’s café and walked down the lane to Uncle Sam’s. And I reached the spot just in time to see the sunrays lighting up her face again. I stood there admiring, each and every second of it. I wanted to tell her that I missed her. I waited until the rays vanished, sun went down the sea, and the glow finally faded away from her face.

Uncle Sam was still working when I entered his shop that day. He had a small bell fitted to his door which made a sound when I opened it. He looked up from his table through his round spectacles and gave that familiar broad smile when he saw me and then returned back to his work. I smiled back and walked towards him. Uncle Sam was doing some sewing work on a red cloth and his machine was still, probably stitching a curtain for some home. He looked a bit different from inside the shop; the pot belly was obviously concealed behind the table and the machine. He wore a white shirt with a sleeveless black sweater on top. I went and stood near his table.

“So finally, you have decided to come in.” Uncle Sam said, head down, still concentrating on his work.
“Yes, finally.” I said.
“What’s your name kid?”
“Kevin. And you are Uncle Sam right?”
“Yeah, you guessed it right.”, eyes still on his machine.
“So, you don’t have many customers here, do you?”
“What makes you think that?”
“I haven’t seen many people come in.”
“That is because you roam outside my shop only at seven. My customers come in during the daytime.”
“Oh. Glad to hear that.”
“So Kevin, what shall I do for you?”
“Well, nothing actually. I came in to tell you that you have a very nice collection of mannequins.”
“Thank you, kid. I know that you have been looking at them all these days.”
“How did you figure out that I always stood outside your store to look at the mannequins? I mean, you would return to your work soon after you smiled and then never look back.”
“Well Kid, I don’t think someone would come every day at seven in the evening, stand outside my shop, just to see an old man at work.”
“That, I agree”, I said with a smile. “But I am really fond of one particular mannequin of yours, Uncle Sam. The…”
“The one lady behind with her palms on her shoulders and the rest covering her breasts?” asked Uncle Sam, looking at me for the first time during our conversation.
“Yes. How did you know that?” I asked, surprised.
“Well kid, let’s just say that you are not the first one.”
“So you mean there were other guys too?”
“Yes kid, but not many. I guess there were two other guys, almost your age. Both of them liked my collection, but the lady was the one they were fond of.”
“Oh, at least there are two people who share my frequency. Do you mind if I go and take a closer look at her, Uncle Sam?”
“Well, I don’t mind if you take a look at my mannequins. But I don’t know if you would be able to the see lady from the inside.”
“What do you mean, Uncle Sam?” I asked, quite surprised by his response and still not looking back at the mannequins.
“All I am saying is that you won’t be able to take a closer look at something that is not there in the first place. Go ahead, see for yourself.”

I turned around and walked slowly towards the mannequins. As I reached near the glass window, I looked at the mannequins placed together in different positions. I scanned one by one searching for the lady who was placed behind the other mannequins; the one lady with the palms of her hands on her shoulders and the other part covering her breasts. To my surprise I was not able to find that one mannequin whose clothes were too carved into her body. I stood there with utter disbelief.

Uncle Sam came behind me and placed his hand on my shoulder. I turned around, with the look of unbelief still written all over my face.

“But Uncle Sam, I knew she was here. I am sure I saw her from the outside.”
“I can understand kid. I can understand.”
“But how is it possible?” I asked and turned around to face the mannequins.
“Did you notice that my mannequins are placed in irregular positions, Kevin?” Uncle Sam asked after sometime.
“Yes”, I said.
“Did you notice that there are ones that are standing, ones that are sitting and ones that are in bent positions?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Well, I came up with this design and positions. I like to consider it my masterpiece. Do you want to know the name of my masterpiece, Kevin?” asked Uncle Sam.
“What is it?” I asked looking at Uncle Sam.
Uncle Sam spread out his hand in the direction of the mannequins and said, “I call it ‘The Orgy of the Mannequins.’”
"But why?"
"Oh, it's a long story kid. It's a long story."


Uncle Sam patted on my shoulders and went back behind his table to do his work. I stood there, still in disbelief, wondering is this all were a dream.


Image Courtesy: http://www.thecitythatneversleepsin.com
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3 comments:

Shy said...

woow well written vijith! ^^ hmmm pretty weird story though, but I like it much! :)

Vijith Vijayakumar said...

Thanks a lot Shy :)

Steve said...

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http://www.onjokes.blogspot.com

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