On a different note, one relating to writing, last week I entered a little contest. I’m a fan and collector of Robert Tonner dolls, and Tonner was holding a short story contest for his line of dolls called Déjà Vu. Entrants were given a limit of 500 words, not counting the assigned lead-in. My entry didn’t win. If you’re interested in reading the ones that did, click here, but be forewarned that they contain an unexpected amount of death and potentially triggering gun violence, which, going by comments I’ve read on various forums and from within fellow collectors I know personally, I don’t think many people expected. I got through three of them, and felt sick. We’re too close to the anniversary of Sandy Hook, and my daughter is the age of some of the shooting victims, which made it something not very enjoyable to me. But by all means, read the winning entries and enjoy, if they’re your cup of tea. I’m just giving a heads up that there’s unexpected content in a contest relating to dolls that are otherwise wholesome and that have mild assigned stories as their descriptions.
I shared my entry on a few pages and forums, and have had a positive response, despite this being something I wrote, checked for spelling and punctuation once, and sent off. Among the feedback has been a few requests for more of this story. It was a fun little non-serious writing project, like dancing like a nutcase after weeks of structured ballet classes. Here’s my entry, and I think I’ll add more just as a fun little side activity to my usual writing, which will resume now that the party I’ve been planning and working on for weeks has happened.
The assigned lead-in is bolded.
As she stood backstage, Judy could hear the stomp of the other models trotting down the runway. Oh! To be a fashion model in Paris! Judy was thrilled to be a part of such a glamorous world – especially since she was really just a shy, small town farm girl. Just then, Judy received her cue from the show director, and she began to march toward the bright lights and the dignified applause, when Stéphane, fine in his suit of silk-wool, grabbed her hand, and lifted her fingers to his lips. Confused, Judy stood to the side of the stage, trying to understand his gesture.
“Go!” her chaperone hissed, then pursed her lips.
Long, darkened lashes fluttered onto Judy’s cheeks. She shook her head, then took a step forward, remaining herself to lead with her hips. Her sequined gown shimmered like a blue sun, and the fabric somehow flowed like silk. All eyes were on her, and she struggled to keep a grin off her face. The job was made more difficult by Stéphane’s action.
Had he finally started to feel for her in return? Was her moment of indiscretion the month prior forgotten? No, it couldn’t be. Every day, Judy regretted daring herself to try making a pass at him. But how could she know the gentlemen at the club with him were there on business with him, with the show’s investor? Every moment, she wished with all her might to take it back, to restore their fledgling relationship to where it was before she ruined it.
At the end of the runway, Judy stopped walking spun in a circle, and posed. The flash of a camera created a rainbow through her tears, a rainbow only she could see. Her head turned, and another flash illuminated his face, just in the wings. Even from her distance, his sadness was clear, and she realized he had missed her too. Judy bit her bottom lip to keep her wavering mouth from smiling at him. A beat late, she finished her brief turn, and started back toward the stage.
Monique, tall and raven-haired, passed the young blonde model, and out of the corner of her eye, shot Judy a look of loathing. And then Judyunderstood. He wasn’t making secret of his feelings, the way she had until that wrong moment. She swallowed, and searched for him out of her peripheral vision, but it was in vain. Her feet led her to stage left, the opposite of where she had left him.
One of the stylists murmured something, and shoved her toward a chair to touch up her makeup. Judy’s heard pounded from a mix of adrenaline for the stage, and cold, hard hope that she wasn’t reading Stéphane wrong. Her lipstick reapplied, the stylist hissed to her, “Be careful, Girl! You must look perfect. No more smudging!”
“All right.” The words had become a mass of nonsense to her. She picked her way back across the back of the stage, to make her final walk when the others had gone. From between a couple backdrops, someone reached out for her, and pulled her into seclusion. Judy turned, and gasped at the brilliant blue eyes staring into her own. “Stéphane! What are you—”
He silenced her with a thumb stroking her bottom lip, and he cupped her face gently. “We need to talk.”
Tears sprang to her eyes again, and she nodded. “I know.”