Sadie heard Mugsie coming long before she saw him. His gravelly voice bellowed as he inquired of every clerk he passed, “Where’s Sadie?” As much as he wanted to see her, she did not want to see him!
Thinking she if she hid, she could wait out his impatient curiosity. Sadie bolted towards the back of the clothing department, only to find every changing room in use. Her last option was the toy department, but where could she go and not be noticed? Under the table holding the model train going round-and-round the miniscule countryside? Behind the lighted Christmas tree which grew narrower towards the top.
His voice was growing louder and louder, and she knew she had to come up with something quick. In desperation, she decided to hide in plain sight believing he was too dumb to notice as long as she was quiet and blended in with everything else.
Sadie pushed aside several of the dolls and sat in their place on the counter. She gathered the ones she had moved, and all the others near her within arm’s reach, and with a stillness imitating death itself, posed with the inanimate objects surrounding her like a cloak.
Mugsie marched into the toy department and between heavy breaths surveyed the area. There were only a few people in this part of the store as they had mostly scattered when they had heard him bullying his way past the various counters and departments. Finally, his eyes set upon the strange display of dolls—baby dolls, fashion dolls, clown dolls, and in the middle a life-sized replica of his beloved Sadie.
Putting out his hand, and with a gruff yet tender voice asked, “Sadie—what are you doing here?”
Sadie pushed aside her companions and took his outstretched hand. “How could you tell I was here, Mugsie?”
“I didn’t, at first. You done hid pretty good, but when the light bounced off those silk stockings, I knew it had to be you.”
P.A. O’Neil’s stories have been featured in over forty anthologies, on-line journals, and magazines. She and her husband reside in Thurston County, Washington. A collection of her stories, Witness Testimony and Other Tales, is available on Amazon. She was the winner of the 2023 Mustang Flash Fiction Award with her story, “The Great Burro Revolt.” Her article, “Northwest Passage,” about the Ellensburg, Washington Rodeo from the Summer 2022 issue of Saddlebag Dispatches Magazine is currently a finalist for the 2023 Will Rogers Medallion Award. For links to books which feature her stories, please visit her Amazon author page: P.A. O’Neil.