I sat in the molded red plastic chair in the hallway, staring at my bare feet. I tried wiggling one big toe and then the other. They wiggled appropriately, but I still sort of wished for a magazine or something, if I were able to read.
“NEXT!” called out the voice, booming down the empty corridor. I looked to my left and my right and saw no one, so I hopped down and toddled into the office. It was full of bookshelves filled with musty books. The dust motes caught the sunlight and sparkled, a legion of fireflies.
“Name?” came the voice again. I tried to peer over the edge of the desk to see the voice. All I could see was a podge of thinning brown hair, combed over neatly to cover a burgeoning bald spot.
“Um, don’t have one yet,” said I, tremulously.
“I know that,” was the impatient reply, “What do you wish to be called?”
“How about Brunhilde?”
“Surely you’re joking,” the bald spot bobbed and weaved as he turned another page of the massive book in front of him,”Best to choose a nice inoffensive name, like Sarah or Ellen. That will give you a lot more choices.”
“I think they should pick my name,” I offered, doing my best to keep the sulky out of my voice. “I mean, I hope I can find a pair with good taste.”
“What else?” His voice was disinterested, rather the aural equivalent of picking one’s nose and flicking it at the wall.
“Well, I’d like it if they were smart people. The kind that you could talk to about Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln and…um, paradigms.”
“Don’t pretend you know what any of those things are yet. What else?”
I crawled up into the arm chair across from the desk, but it was still a low squishy well of leather. I did manage to see the voice’s eyebrows, though; they were like ungroomed caterpillars and rather expressive.
“They should be funny. Not take each other too seriously. Maybe they could sing while they vacuum. I’d like it if they could laugh at themselves and at me too. Maybe the dad could teach me how to make funny faces in the mirror and how to dance like he’s starring in a Cecil B. DeMille musical. Maybe the mom could show me how to mummify a Barbie Doll and how to direct a room full of unruly people into doing what you need them to do.” I piped up, in a voice quite unlike my own, “It’s called ACT-ING!”
The caterpillars crawled across the furrows of his brow to a quizzical position, “This seems like a fairly specific request,” he said, rather suspiciously, “You haven’t been peeping in The Book, have you?”
“No sir,” I said, meek, hands folded in my lap in the primmest fashion.
He sighed and flipped a few more pages, the fuzzy wiggles of his brow descending towards the type. “There is one possibility here,” he said dubiously, “There’s a couple here that fulfills your requirements.”
“Really?” I perked up instantly, “Will they take me on trips to museums and nature trails and force-screen awful science fiction movies and black and white classics? Will they love me and help me, even when it’s questionable that I deserve either? Will they put me to sleep with Booshky Cream and sing You are My Sunshine and Side by Side and The Monkey Song? Will they make me cry when they sing On Top of Spaghetti with a fatal ending? Will they encourage me to write and sing and dance and do all manner of things which are not profitable in the world?”
The book slammed shut indignantly, “You, miss, have been reading The Book! How would you possibly know all that?”
I gave the only answer I could: “Because it’s my destiny.”
Finally, the voice and the bald spot and the eyebrows worked in conjunction and almost looked and sounded as though they were smiling, “Well. Well. Door 11C.”
“Thank you!” I chirped and wandered down the empty hall till I came to 11C. I opened the door and walked into the great white light and towards the parents I was meant to be with.
This post is dedicated to my parents, on their anniversary. I’m not certain how I ended up with wonderful them, but this seems as feasible an explanation as any.
Fate, I owe you one.
|by Artist 3001