OWM – 1C

OWM (500 Words day 3, 12/20/17, 3rd person, fiction)

The air hung around Elsie, heavy with moisture that wouldn’t show itself.  It invisibly clung to every bit of fabric and skin in the room making everything just a bit heavier than it should have been.  The walls were strategically covered with large portraits, each featuring a different old, white man in what was sure to have been a fashionable suit of the time.  Next to each portrait was a plaque outlining the name and accomplishments of each man, written with just enough ornamentation to be sure whoever read them would feel as though they couldn’t possibly measure up. The furniture in the room was just as overtly ornate as the portraits.  The deep mahogany wood of the chairs and desk oozed wealth, and the velvet of the couch whispered power.

While Elsie stared straight ahead, her foot tapped silently to the cheery banjo music emanating incongruously from the corner. She felt like she matched the music more than the room and was sure that neither of them belonged here.  She hadn’t wanted to come and, if it hadn’t been for the insistence of her attorney, would have sent Presley in her stead.  This was a room Presley would have appreciated, except for the music.  He would have basked in the luxury of it all and would have been ready to hold his own with whoever was behind that big door.

With a big breath, Elsie stood up and walked over to one of the portraits.  Her movement seemed to startle the receptionist which made her smile. She didn’t want to play into the part she was clearly being cast for with this room and the receptionist and these portraits of Old White Men. The more she thought about it the less incongruous the music really was.

She crossed both her legs and her arms as she read the plaque next to the portrait she’d chosen. This Old White Man had focused his career in the education field, it seemed, and made his money from investing.  His bio was filled with ivy and lace and made her a bit nauseous.  How difficult it must have been for this poor soul, to have only achieved success in schools.  How shunned he must have felt at the grand dinners hosted by his business mogul father.  She shook her head and uncrossed herself to move on to the next portrait.

The receptionist picked up the phone though it hadn’t made a noise.  Without speaking she hung it up again and walked towards Elsie, stopping at the velvet couch as if she didn’t want to get too close. “They’re ready for you now. Please, follow me.”

“So soon?  I didn’t finish all the reading available.  Ah, well – how different can these plaques be, right?” Elsie gave the receptionist a large smile and gestured for her to lead the way.  After a couple of confused blinks, the receptionist pivoted on the spot and walked stiffly towards the large door she’d previously been guarding.  As she approached it, the door opened of its own accord and Elsie let out an “ooh, nice touch! Will it close itself, too, or wait for you to return?” as they passed through.  The receptionist didn’t answer though the flinch she gave made it clear she’d heard what Elsie had said.

The hallway they walked down was just as opulently decorated as the waiting room and Elsie had to give them credit for fully committing to the look.



* All 500Words are fiction.  Any resemblance to people or events is strictly coincidental. *

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