To re-cap: I entered a birthday contest sponsored by Christine Bryant. She put a list of things she's gotten for her birthday over the years and challenged us to create a story using as many items from the list as possible in 1000 words or less. The following is my humble offering, which was awarded 2nd prize.
First, the list of items:
pink fuzzy bath slippers
white bean bag chair
a kitten (Sheba)
a bouquet of flowers
a Barbie doll
a book (How to Draw Animals)
a 10-speed bike (white)
A stuffed alligator
A Donny Osmond poster (stop laughing)
a lamp for my desk
a jewelry box
a cedar chest
a heart locket
a used stereo (with record turn table)
By Karen Dupaix
Barbie sat at her desk and switched on the lamp,. “If only I had some friends who could help me with my dilemma,” she thought. She wondered how to attract new friends to her home. Her eyes wandered to the bookshelf above the desk and scanned the titles of the row of books.
“Perfect!” she said, as she read How to Draw Animals. She pulled the book down and opened it to the first page and read:
“To attract animals to your yard, supply food that is attractive to the breed of animal you wish to attract.” Barbie replaced the book and turned to her kitchen with new purpose. She opened her refrigerator and peered in.
“No,” she thought, “I don’t think diet Dr. Pepper will attract animals. I need meat.” She dug a little further.
“Horse meat might work,” she said to herself, and then realized that the horse in her fridge was made of glass. She kept searching.
“Aha!” she cried, seizing a large package of bacon and a carton of eggs, “Who doesn’t like bacon and eggs?” She quickly got out a large frying pan and went to work. Soon the irresistible smell of frying bacon and eggs filled her small, cedar chest home.
A knock came at the door.
“Right on schedule!” said Barbie, “I wonder what animal I’ve drawn to my home.”
Before she could reach the door handle, another knock sounded on the door, loud and impatient.
“I’m coming, I’m coming,” said Barbie, “Don’t get your feathers ruffled.” She yanked the door quickly open and let out a little gasp. There, on her front stoop stood a very large alligator and a little black and white kitten.
“Why hello there,” said Barbie, “What are your names?”
“I’m Ralph,” said the alligator
“Sheba,” said the cat.
“Won’t you come in?” said Barbie.
“Thanks, I’m starved!” said the alligator, his voice deep and gravely.
“Meow,” said the Sheba, “bacon and eggs are my favorite.”
Barbie ushered her guests into her kitchen and set out plates. The kitten settled on the tabletop in front of her plate. Ralph pushed aside the chairs and stood up to the table, which Barbie thought was extremely rude. She shoveled great quantities of eggs and bacon onto the alligator’s plate and a smaller portion for the kitten.
Ralph made growling, smacking sounds as he ate but the Sheba made very little noise. Soon, they were both finished and the kitten was licking the last remnants of eggs and bacon from her whiskers and paws.
“Would you like something else?” asked Barbie.
The kitten politely declined.
“No thanks,” said the alligator, “I’m stuffed. Couldn’t eat another bite.”
“In that case, said Barbie, “Please come into the living room. There’s something I’d like to discuss with you.”
Barbie and her animal friends settled themselves in the living room. Barbie fluffed up a plastic bag full of white navy beans and gestured for Ralph to sit on it.
“It’s the most comfortable seat in the house,” she said. Ralph sat there and Sheba curled up on a sleeping bag in the corner.
“I wanted you to come because I need your help,” said Barbie, “You see, my friend Chris is having a birthday soon, and I need to figure out what to get her.”
Ralph and Sheba nodded their heads.
“I’ve been thinking,” said Barbie, “that what she’d like is a visit from this guy.” She reached behind the couch and unrolled a large poster of Donny Osmond.
“Great idea,” said Ralph, “He’s got great teeth.”
“We should ask him,” said Sheba.
“That’s what I thought too,” said Barbie, “I’ve done some research, and I have learned that Donny lives right here in Provo!”
“Let’s visit him,” said Sheba.
“Yes,” said Ralph, “maybe if we catch him off guard, he’ll agree to be Chris’ birthday surprise.”
Barbie got out her laptop and Googled Donny’s address, then she and her animal friends walked out to Barbie’s garage.
“I’ll wear these roller skates,” said Barbie, taking off her flip-flops and pulling on the skates, “You can ride my 10-speed bike.”
She gestured to the bike, white and dusty, hanging from hooks attached to the beams of the garage roof, next to an old .22 rifle.
“Sure,” said Ralph, “Are the tires good?”
“They’re fine,” said Barbie, “Sheba can ride in the basket.”
In no time at all, the three friends made their way to Donny’s house, where they knocked on his door.
“Well, hello there,” said Donny, opening the door, the sunlight glinting off his teeth, “To what do I owe this great privilege?”
“We need a birthday present for Chris,” said Barbie.
“And you’re it!” added Ralph.
“Lovely. Perfect. Please, come in,” said Donny.
Donny led them into a comfortable living room.
“You know,” said Donny, “I did this once for a woman named Susan.”
Donny picked up his journal, which had been lying on the coffee table, and leafed through the pages. “Ah yes, here it is. I arrived with a big bouquet of flowers and sang songs to her. Would that work for Chris?”
“I think,” said Barbie, “Maybe you should bring a gift, too.”
“Sure,” said Donny, “Maybe a pair of pink fuzzy bath slippers?”
“Or a jewelry box,” suggested Sheba.
“With a heart locket,” added Ralph.
“Hmm,” thought Donny, “Chris is a big fan?”
“Oh yes,” said Barbie, “for years.”
“Then I think I might have just the thing for her,” said Donny. He walked to the hall closet, where he rummaged around several minutes before coming back with a large wooden box.
“What is that?” asked Ralph.
“It’s my old stereo,” said Donny, “It has a turntable on it so she can play her records.”
Barbie clapped her hands. “It’s perfect!” she said, “Problem solved.”
The friends made plans to meet and deliver the gift on Chris’ birthday, had a big group hug, and went their separate ways.