Flash Fiction – People Watching

It was like watching a silent film. They were behind glass and even if the sound made it through that invisible barrier, the noise of early afternoon traffic would have drowned them out before it ever reached across the street.

A young man was moving mannequins around in a storefront window. A young woman, probably about the same age, came up behind him to help. He should have been able to handle them alone but she seemed to be insisting on helping. Before too long the two of them were yelling at each other and fumbling about, trying to put the head back on one of the dummies and the arm back on another.

At the bus stop, a couple of strangers sat waiting and struck up a conversation.

“What do you think they’ll tell their boss?” Joanna asked with a little laugh in her voice. The woman was using the arm to hit the man holding the head.

“She shouldn’t be doing that. He’s unarmed,” Carson said with a disapproving shake of the head.

“Can’t even get his head screwed on right,” Joanna replied.

They got the pieces back on the right bodies and went back to moving them within the display but their discussion still seemed pretty intense.

“I said I was sorry. They must’ve forgotten it was your turn. If you want to beat me more later you might want to hold on to that. Anyway, you wouldn’t have been able to move them without help. Just tell me where you want me to put them.” J.D. rested against the mannequin he’d just moved across the display for the third time.

“Oh, you want me to tell you where to put them, I’ll tell you where to put them.” Charlene muttered.

“Hey, you see those two on the bench? Where do you think they’re going?”

“Who cares? And what makes you think they’re together?”

“They seem to be having fun.”

“I will never understand how your mind works.”

“What do you think they’re talking about?”

“They could be talking about a million different things. They could be talking about us for all I know. Would it be possible for you to help without talking for a change?”

J.D. made a face when he turned his back to Charlene as he bent to pick up a hat that had abandoned its mannequin head. A shoe from the mannequin next to Charlene hit him in the back of the head.

“That looked like it hurt,” Carson said cringing. “Why do you think she did that?”

“I bet she saw the reflection of the face he was making. I probably would have done the same thing,” Joanna admitted with a smirk.

“What do you think they’re fighting about?”

“Who knows?”


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