Today’s Daily Post prompt and the short story I wrote for it.
“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” — Gertrude Stein. Do you agree?
“Liberty want two new lines for next season. Next want three. Debenhams’ buyer will be here on the twelfth, Gautier on the nineteenth. The warehouse needs to know how many bolts of the blue silk need replacing. The machinists are complaining the new thread is brittle and breaks constantly, jamming the machines. We’ve got a reporter snooping around, looking for evidence we use sweatshops or employ illegals. The lawyers need to see you today about the contract with the BBC for next years’ sewing bee show. Your husband called; he wanted to remind you about parent conference tonight. Your nanny called to say Justine has measles, confirmed. Your mother called, wants to know when…”
Sarah tailed off. The penthouse office buzzed and hummed, clattered and chimed. Copiers churned, phones rang, lights flashed and Mrs Daniels desk was all but hidden beneath piles of potential dress designs and three computer screens, all telling her the latest news, stock prices and who wanted her attention on Skype. With the first twinge of concern, Sarah watched Mrs Daniels, Vicky to her friends, ‘that hard-nosed bitch’ to her enemies and head of the biggest fashion house in the world, rise, cross the room and quite slowly, with deliberation, perform a handstand up the wall.
“Erm… is everything ok, Mrs Daniels?”
It was possibly the most ridiculous question she could have asked but Sarah hadn’t a clue what was going on.
Sarah shuffled a little closer, bending in a little, trying not to observe the lime green underwear Mrs Daniels was flashing.
“Pink elephants with purple ribbons on their trunks.”
Sarah backed off. Whatever was wrong it was way above her pay grade. She forced a bright, brittle smile and headed for the door.
“I’ll be back in a moment, Mrs Daniels.”
When the girl had fled, probably to ring Mr Daniels, Vicky let herself fall to the floor, giggling with the unselfconscious glee of a four year old. She sat for a moment savouring the delightful head-rush of reverting to right side up and then began to crawl around the room. When Sarah returned with Bowen, the company nurse, in tow, Vicky was merrily ripping electric cords out of walls and cutting off plugs with gay abandon. The pair stared at each other, at her and back to each other. Bowen approached cautiously.
“Gummy bears with ice cream.”
“Teddy made pee-pee. Nanny fell out of the tree and went splat!”
Vicky jumped to her feet, brandishing the scissors and skipping around her desk.
“Here we go round the honey bees on a cloudy sausage fountain” she sang, occasionally thrusting the scissors in imitation of a knight chasing a jabberwok.
Her employees backed up in a hurry and fled. Vicky gave in to the giggles she had been desperately suppressing, cackling and dancing until she had it out of her system. With ceremonial calm she snipped the plug off the extension cord and watched the computer screens go dark. With that action came absolute silence; no bleep, bloops, clicks, clangs, churns, whirrs, rings or voices. No sound at all, just empty, wonderful, blissful nothing. She sank into her chair, curled into a ball, stuck her thumb in her mouth, giggled a couple of times and waited for them to come and take her to some nice isolated, single room where she could recover from her ‘breakdown’. She spent the waiting time composing ever more insane sentences in her mind, ready to convince them of quite how mad she was.