PATRICE Hathaway wished to purchase a curio from among the odds and ends jumbled upon the shelves, a jar with a yellow squid crammed inside of it caught her eye, but on opening her purse she realised that she didn’t have enough. “I’ll try the newspaper office,” she thought, “perhaps I can earn some cash there.”
The shop assistant waved a limp hand and lisped: “Come back shoon, Ms. Hathaway. I’ll resherve the yalla squid for y’.”
As she walked along the damp sidewalk of Northside streets her thoughts played over the troubling dramas in her recent life; so engrossed was she that she didn’t notice her violin case as it knocked against her knee. It all began at the concert last week… The Boston Symphony is the best orchestra in the north east, and the highlight of her otherwise dull life is to play violin with talented musicians. But when she performed her solo during Massenet’s Premier Suite she felt unusually tense and nervous, as if it were her debut. In Act II of the concert she happened to glance up at a spotlight, which illuminated herself upon the stage, and saw a peculiar corona of light: a halo of fluttering gold ribbons—it was as if these ribbons were reaching out to her. And yesterday she had visited Madame Mina at the gypsy encampment in Independence Square to learn new violin techniques. But the gypsy had refused to take the agreed lesson with Patrice; in fact Madame Mina was most distressed, having an apoplectic fit. “Get out! Get out!” she cried when Patrice ducked inside the caravan, “You—you harbinger of dust. Get thee to the Curiositie Shoppe and cleanse our souls!” whatever that meant? Patrice fled from the old hag, puzzling over her ridiculous words.
Today however she browsed the shelves in the Curiositie Shoppe, drawn to a jar containing a revolting yellow squid because she felt a connection between it and the halo of fluttering gold ribbons at the concert.
“…and the gypsies at Independence Square,” Patrice said, leaning against the edge of the sub-editor’s desk, “are led by Madame Mina who’s recognisable by her warty nose.” Patrice had finished her tale. “So does the paper want my story?” she prompted.
“I’m very sorry, Ms. Hathaway,” he replied, “but we of the Arkham Advertiser are well aware of the illegal camp.”
Patrice sighed inwardly; she crossed her legs, revealing a saucy Paris stocking. The sub-editor goggled at her display and licked his lower lip.
“Will $5 suffice—for your story?” He reached out to her leg, his hand trembling. Patrice smacked the back of his hand THWACK! “That, sir,” she said with pitying scorn, “is harassment.”