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It was a dark and stormy night...

 
Joe Spivey's picture
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'It was a dark and stormy night...' Well it had been, hadn't it? Finny, after finishing Oliver Twist, had decided that she was going to write a book. She was going to write the story of getting her locket back and become rich, and famous, and live inna big house bigger than Joe's... All she needed to do was get past 'It was a dark and stormy night.' Or at least get the line to stop going round and round in her head so that she could concentrate on her work.

Finny's 'work' at the moment consisted of scrubbing the floor of the girls' dorm. She was in the last week of her month long grounding and was looking forward to seeing the outside world again. The grounding had started the day she had been declared fit enough for work and her daily chores since then had consisted of; cleaning the ablutions every morning, then scrubbing the floor of the dorm every afternoon. Lunch was spent scrubbing the three flights of steps leading down to the front door and evening recreation time was spent scrubbing the three flights of steps leading down to the back door. Meals were leftovers suplemented by her booty from Silja's kitchen and handouts from her friends.

'It was a dar... Shurrup!' The line in her head was becoming really annoying. For the umpteenth time Finny pushed a strand of damp red hair off her face and wrung out the floor cloth before shuffling backwards on her knees to clean the next line of square floor tiles. Then into the bucket with the scrubbing brush, up-down on the big bar of soap then a vigorous two handed backwards and forwards scrub until the line of five tiles was done. She was only a quarter of the way down the dorm and already the sweat was trickling down her spine and into places you don't want to scratch in public. Her dress, or the 'Blue Bag of Shame', as the standard issue shapeless garment was known, was showing all the signs of Finny spending a month of hard graft on her knees. It was stained, it was torn and it was worn through at the point her knees reached. She would get a new one when the grounding was over, not that she wanted one, but if people didn't donate any clothes to the orphanage then it was all she was going to get.

Finny lifted the heavy lid to the donations chest every day to see if there was anything new. So far, nothing she would care to be seen dead in, but the chest had solved one problem for her. A present for little Anneka. Being grounded meant... well, not being able to go out, so Finny's ability to come up with a suitable present was severely limited. She had tried to make a doll and had been quite pleased with the result... until she reemembered the expensive doll she had shared eye contact with in Joe's house. If a doll like that could be dropped so carelessly on the floor then what hope for the sad little thing she held in her hands. In a flash of temper the unamed rag doll was consigned to the the trash.

The next daily inspection of the donations chest did nothing to solve Finny's clothing problem, but what she found in the corner gave her an idea.

The hat had been in the chest ever since Finny could remember. It was hand knitted and had garishly coloured horizontal bands with a long, sock-like hanging bit with a big pom-pom on the end. Finny took it and bartered some of her precious sweets for a needle and some emroidery thread. Many hours and sore fingers fingers later, after stretching her embroidery skills to the limit, Finny had embroided a large and very recognisable hand with middle finger erect onto the hat. The lettering around the design was a little less polished but readable 'Annie Says' around the top half of the hand and then a bigger 'YOU' underneath.

Only when she was wrapping it did the thought of what Joe and Kirsten might think cross her mind. She paused for a literal second before shrugging and finishing the wrapping. To late to change it now.

So far there hadn't been any come-back about the hat, but next week Finny went back to work at the factory. Finny would have shrugged again if she had the energy to spare. Instead she dropped the scrubbing brush into the bucket and, pushing the unruly strand off her face for the umpteeenth and one time, reached for the floor cloth.

Comments

Hyle Troy's picture

(( got to love that kid !  I can see she might fill the gap left by the old Silja

I would rather die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandad, than screaming, like his passengers



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