Picture 4

Disclaimer: Story's mine; Characters are mine

The Figurine



Joan gave her co-worker a big, bright smile. "Merry Christmas, Rick!" She handed him a tiny box wrapped in paper with white, red, and green stripes across it and red ribbon for more decoration.

"Thanks." Rick took the box and shook it just a little. He could hear something, but it didn't rattle too much. "What is it?"

"There's only one way to find out. Open it," Joan said with the smile still on her face. She wasn't sure if Rick would like the present, but it would add to his collection of trinkets from around the world.

Rick carefully cut the ribbon off with his pocketknife and slowly opened the paper, being careful to fold it nicely and put it aside. He sliced through the tape that held the box closed and gently opened the lid.

"Hmmmm…. Interesting." He held the figurine in his hand and turned it over to look at it from all angles. To him, the figurine looked incredibly lifelike, everything done to the last detail with the feet and arms pointed and poised perfectly, defined muscle tone, and shadows in just the right places. The lady figure, who had her hair up in a bun, was dressed in pinkish-orange silk and was wrapped around an elongated piece of that same material that was faintly like a scarf, but it was as long as a good-sized piece of rope. Rick held it so the lady was upright. "Where'd you get it?"

"Actually, it's supposed to go this way." Joan took the figurine from Rick and turned it so the lady was hanging upside down. She made a little loop in the end of the scarf. "I got it at a little village in Russia where they train people for a certain circus act. Can you imagine twirling high up on a scarf like that? Lemme tell you. It's a looooooooong way down!"

Joan gave it back to Rick and he held the figurine by the loop. Mesmerized for a moment, they both watched it twirl until Rick headed out of the office with it. "C'mon."

Joan followed him to the small office building's common room where there was an eight-foot-tall live Christmas tree. Rick found a branch that was still rather bare and didn't have any other branches around it like an ugly bald spot. He slipped the loop over the branch and half smiled at how perfectly the figurine took up the space and spun just like the real circus lady would. Red, blue, green, and orange lights shone on the figurine as if she were really in the circus' center ring spotlights.

Rick's half smile turned into a full-blown smile that he shared with Joan. "Merry Christmas!"


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