Story Starters

Sleeping Beauty


“Story Starters” is my creative exercise: 500 words max, 1-2 drafts, inspired by a found image 


Frankly, she was sick of that damn glass box.

Oh sure, the customers loved it. And Hank claimed a good 10 percent of his overall monthly income was in thanks to her  – and was that even a good number? Ten friggin percent? Seemed pretty measly to her, but then again she’d failed 10th grade trig so what did she know? –  but my God. A girl in a box made of glass? What the hell was wrong with people? Megan Ballard had told her that in L.A. they put girls in glass boxes in the foyers of their hotels and paid them $150 dollars an hour, all so people could wander in off the streets and stand in front of those glass boxes, watching those girls do their homework, or read books, or take a snooze, or whatever it was they did. And Shelly hadn’t believed her, not until Megan found the pictures on the internet and then proved it to her by calling up Stacy Shoemacher who’s half-sister’s cousin’s best-friend worked in one of those glass boxes, and even then she’d barely believed it, because would wonders never cease?

Well, L.A. hotels aside, Shelly hated all those sick, masochistic, women hating tourists, traipsing out the back door of Grimm’s Candy House, out through the ragged cow pasture—oh, sorry, “the meadow”—to the edge of the “Wild Woods” where the “Sleeping Beauty” in the glass box lay. Not a single tourist had yet to point out that “Sleeping Beauty” wasn’t even painted across the damn box. Instead it read “Snow White.” But all those fairy tale chicks were pretty interchangeable to guys like Hank, and in Shelly’s opinion tourists never seemed all that bright.

She’d been doing this act for three summers now, her hair plaited and curled, her face powdered to within an inch of its life, that same awful, scratchy white lace dress with its shiny, blood red sash, that same thin, reeking pillow below her head. And all for 10 bucks an hour. Which wasn’t a horrible job she supposed. Though it wasn’t $150 an hour. But she could still be babysitting that snot nosed Jacob Murray over on Orchard, dodging boogers he flicked at her from the other side of the table. “Your child is a disgusting little heathen straight out of hell ma’am.” That’s what she would’ve liked to tell Mrs. Murray. But fat lot that would have done her. Besides, until Hank came along with his cockamamie offer she’d needed that money.

And now a batch of them were coming, a tourist family with three pudgy kids, each of them clutching a bag of candy in their grimy little hands, each of them sucking on an obscenely colorful lollipop the size of a baby doll’s head. She’d better close her eyes, she’d better hold real still, suck in her breath, be sure to play her part and look nearly dead for this lot.

What a bunch of sickos.

Top image source: Naive on Behance