Practicality, a Short Story

practicality, a short story

Hey, lovely readers. 🙂  Today I’m going to share a short story I recently wrote. It was for a contest, and I didn’t win, but I liked it a lot, and I thought it would be a bit of an acquired taste anyway. I hope you enjoy it.

After I wrote it, I realized I didn’t specify the age of the woman it was about, though I think some things point to her being fairly young. I was thinking she was somewhere in her 20s, but I guess I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide. 🙂

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Practicality by Jewel

“All I’m saying is money should be put to good and practical use,” I explained straightening my shawl while looking in the mirror.

My butler John was a few years my senior, yet he seldom understood my mature conversations. “Saving for the future, Madame?” He asked looking into the mirror over my shoulder.

“No, no!” I turned, waving my hand at him. I stopped a moment, “I mean, yes. Of course, that would be wise, but you misunderstand my meaning.”

“Enlighten me, if you may?” He smiled.

“Well,” I began putting a bobby pin into my updo, “some characters in high society these days seem to think one can go about with historical facts and piano learning and one will be set for everything. They spend all their money on learning these things, and then buy pearls with the rest.”

“But you love history, and you are quite lovely at piano, if I may say so.”

“Don’t flatter me, John,” I said putting in one last pin, “But it is true, I love history, and I’m glad I learned piano. It’s a wonderful instrument. But! Here’s the key: I take lessons in other things, more valuable things.” John opened the front door for me. I stepped out. The cold air nipped at my arms. I turned and marched right back in the door.

“Where are you going, Madame?” My butler was confused.

I grabbed my sweater off the chaise lounge. “John,” I sighed taking off my shawl and replacing it with the sweater, “You still don’t see it: Practicality. Just because the shawl looks nicer with this dress does not mean I’m about to freeze myself to death for it. I shall replace it once we arrive at the party.” I walked back out the door. John locked up behind me then came to my side and opened the back door to my limo. I slid in. He closed the door and then opened his own, sitting in the driver’s seat. I straightened my gown as the car started to go. “I can still be a lady and be practical. A shame our society has forgotten this.”

“What is practical?” John inquired looking in the rear view mirror for a second.

“Necessary skills. What do you think those are?” I quizzed.

“I assume it’s not modern art appreciation?” He raised an eyebrow.

I smiled, “Ah! You’re getting better, John. No, indeed. Well, one thing I’ve never seen this day and age is the rich taking physical safety training.”

“So is that why you’ve been going off to the gym?” He laughed then became more serious, “Your friends do frown on it.”

“I don’t care, frankly” I crossed my arms and looked out the window, “It will be of use to me someday and they’ll all be regretful.”

“I’ll protect you, Madame.”

I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but I couldn’t help but let out a little chuckle.

“What?” He seemed to feel accused.

“Pardon me,” I tried to straighten up my mood, “but, John, I don’t remember you ever knowing how to fight.”

He sighed, “No…,” he said pulling the limousine up to our stop. He turned around and grinned at me, “… but I’d be a wonderful shield.” We both laughed.

“Now, you’ll make me late,” I smiled grabbing my shawl. I put my hand on the door.

John looked concerned, “I’ll get the door, Madame.”

I stopped him before he could get out of the car, “John! Today is a day of practicality, and I say it is not practical for you to be more in this frigid cold than you must be. Now, wait in the limousine for my arrival.” He nodded uncomfortably and I let myself out. My high heels clicked quickly across the pavement. The door was opened for me by a butler, and I walked into the ballroom.

“Lucia!” My dearest friend greeted me at once, “I’m so glad you could make it to our Lady’s Social, but… my what a sweater!” She looked confused.

“Don’t worry yourself, Sofie. I brought this shawl as a replacement,” I held it out.

“Oh,” she sighed with relief, “It’s beautiful! Come, I’ll have you meet with some of my friends.”

After I had changed into my shawl, Sofie led me through the crowd of ladies. She introduced me to some of her friends, “Ladies, this is my dear friend, Lucia Bernard.” 

“Hello,” they each curtsied. I did so in return.

“Lucia, this is Diane, Elena, and Celeste.”

“Have you tried the salad?” Elena asked passing me a glass of champagne, “The vinaigrette is divine.”

“Um… no, no I haven’t,” I smiled holding my cup.

“You must try it!” Celeste said, “Sofie, has a wonderfully skilled cook.”

“I’ve met him,” I nodded, “though he says I make better scallops.”

Their eyes opened wide. “You cook?” Diane was astounded.

“Of course, if I should ever become poor, I must know how to cook the raw meat if I happen to come across a newly dead horse,” I explained.

The ladies seemed appalled. “Curious…” Diane muttered.

The night went on like this. I frankly became rather wearisome. I wondered how anyone would ever understand me. I found myself staring at a floor plant and wondering if it was fake.

“What do you think, Lucia?” Elena asked.

“Hmm?” I turned my attention back to my group of interesting company.

“Silk gloves or lace gloves?” Sofia asked.

Celeste looked at my bare hands. “Or, do you possibly not wear them?” She asked with an accusing tone.

“Oh… no. I do. I wear cotton gloves in the winter,” I tried to smile.

There was silence among the ladies. “Well, who wants to try the shrimp?” Sofie tried to break the ice.

Before we could respond we heard the butler yell. A deafening series of shots went off. Women near the front door screamed, and the screaming spread.

“What’s going on?!” Elena begged, covering her ears.

Women started to go silent, all we heard was worried whispers. I stepped into the group of ladies and Sofia and her friends followed. Three men in masks and tattered clothes were making their way through the ballroom. One held out a bag, in which women were placing their valuables. One held a crowbar. The last had a handgun and was pointing it at the ceiling.

“Hurry up ladies,” The one with the crowbar teased, “I wouldn’t want to give you a whipping.”

“Don’t forget the ring…” The one with the bag said to a plump lady.

“That’s my wedding ring!” She pleaded.

The strongest man came up and clicked his gun. “And…?”

She placed the ring in the bag.

“Sofie, go and call the police, NOW,” I hissed. She nodded and hurried.

Suddenly the man with the gun locked eyes with me. He began to walk up and he beckoned the bag carrier to him. The women around me began to step back but I remained in place.

“Nice, pearls,” He said nodding to my necklace.

“They are indeed,” I nodded my head.

“Put them in the bag, missy,” he told me.

I glanced at the other man who held the bag out. “I would not care too, thank you.”

The man with the gun chuckled, and slowly put the gun to my forehead. “I don’t care if you don’t care.”

I took a deep breath. “That is unfortunate because my word is quite final.” I raised my hand, placed it atop the gun and pushed it down, away from me.

The man with the gun was grinning the whole time. “I’ve never met someone like you before.”

“It’s a tragedy, really,” I sighed.

“Yes…” He nodded pretending to be sympathetic, “But, I don’t have time for fun and games today.” He looked back and ushered the crowbar man to him.

“Leave now,” I commanded.

“You don’t have authority over me.”

“Fine then.” Without a moment’s hesitation, I cracked my champagne glass on his head. He cried out in anguish. The women gasped. I made a quick move to grab his gun, putting the handle in between my teeth. I whipped around to see the bag man pull out a dagger. He grabbed my hair, but I ripped off my shawl and held it out just in time to catch the knife in the fabric. I tossed it aside kicking the man in the gut with my heel. My heel broke and, he fell to the ground. The crowbar man was near me now. He lifted his weapon to strike me, but I grabbed the massive bag of jewels and hit his legs. He stumbled but caught his fall by dropping his crowbar. Before he could rise, I snatched it off the ground. He punched my nose, and I struck his head with the metal bar, knocking him out. I grabbed the gun out of my mouth with my free hand and pointed it just as the gunman began to rise to his feet.

“Woah!” his hands rose slowly.

I wiped my nose and observed blood from it on my arm. I was standing quite awkwardly since one of my heels had broken. “Do not worry the police will arrive soon!” I told all the women. Everyone looked astounded.

Celeste could only mutter, “You, my…  how…?”

I dropped the crowbar and touched my hair. The style had been all pulled out. “Oh my, you all will have to forgive me for looking dreadful.”

Sofie came running back, “Lucia! What on earth?!”

“I’m sorry, Sofie, but I couldn’t let them take advantage of us all.”

The gunman snorted.

Suddenly the door burst open, “Police!”

“Oh thank goodness,” I sighed as an officer walked up to me, clearly puzzled. I handed him the gun. “Good evening, Sir.”

I hobbled my way to the door. I couldn’t help but feel all eyes were on me.

The limo was in the same place. I sighed with relief. I tried to open the door, but it was locked. I looked in through John’s window. He was asleep. I tapped on the glass. He woke to see me, and he jumped. He stared at me through the window. Then he shook himself and pressed a button. The limo unlocked. I opened my door and slid in. “Ah…”

John couldn’t help a smile as he looked at the road, “Eventful evening, Madame?”

“No, it was quite dull… until we were robbed, of course.”

“Of course,” he nodded as if it was obvious.

“I’m glad I’m practical, John.”

“Me as well, Madame. Me as well.”

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If you enjoyed my short story I would really appreciate if you liked this post! Tell me you thought about it in the comments! I would really love to hear your opinions! Bye, for now, everyone!

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