Like a Magpie

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by Mary Thompson

We connected on AOL, when that was a cool thing to do. He took me to the Jamie Oliver bistro where he wibbled on about his job, Vice President at Morgan Stanley, and I nodded and commented in all the right places. His penthouse was next door and we ended up there after dinner.

The six mannequins were huddled together on stools, in conflab at the breakfast bar. I loitered at the side.

“Do you have another stool?” I said.

“Sorry, hun,” he said, “They’re all taken. I’m waiting for a new one but that will be for Nina.” And he flicked a finger towards a long, skinny mannequin lying prostrate on the leather sofa.

“Okay,” I said.

Nina was clad in a diaphanous dress peppered with diamonds and her hair was neatly cropped. We rearranged her limbs and cosied up beside her, munching popcorn and watching Born on the Fourth of July on surround sound. Guns and bombs exploding in my ears, my beau slinked off to the bathroom to freshen up and returned with a talced up physique, looking a little bit like a flour-covered dough ball.

“Stay longer,” he pleaded the next day. “If you stay longer I’ll pay you,” he added with a glint in his eye.

I smiled. I’d already decided I wanted that dress, the one Nina was wearing. Like a magpie I needed such things. 100 pounds would get me one, I figured. And so I stayed, just a few more hours, snuggled up with my American dough ball.


Mary Thompson works as an Academic English Tutor in London. Her work has been published in various places including Ellipsis Zine, Retreat West, Ghost Parachute, LISP, Literary Orphans, New Flash Fiction Review and Pidgeonholes, and is forthcoming at Elephants Never and Low Light Magazine. She is a first reader for CRAFT Literary Journal.

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