Today’s #BlogBattle BRIBERY fiction is brought to you by “I have half an hour” Flash Fiction writing! 🙂
That face was enough to send my heart into a frenzy. She knew it, too, the little turkey.
“Please, sweetie. One smile. Mama wants just one good picture.”
Olivia’s tongue poked out even further, however that was possible. I gritted my teeth, unsuccessfully hiding my frustration.
The photographer’s sigh hit my ears like the blast of thunder in the cramped studio. I glanced over at her and tried to ignore how her gum-chewing reminded me of a cow chewing its cud.
“Sorry,” I said for lack of a better word. “Ahem. Can we try the puppet?”
“Whatever is gonna work, ma’am.”
Could she sound any more bored? I cringed and reached for the duck puppet, slipping my hand up the hole, all the way to the frizzy-headed bird’s beak.
In the silliest voice I could muster, I said, “Hey, Miss Olivia, how are you today?”
Her eyes got wide and her tongue disappeared, but we weren’t out of the woods yet. Without a clue what to do, I danced the puppet from side to side, it’s wings flopping around, and I sang a silly tune.
“I’m a little teapot, short and stout. Here is my handle and here is my sp–”
Olivia’s eyes went glassy and crocodile tears spilled forth as whimpers escaped her perfect, pert lips. I dropped the duck behind my back.
“Oh. No, baby girl. See? No more duck! You’re okay, honey.”
I couldn’t hide the desperation. Man, I was on a roll.
Her whimpers got worse instead of better, so I hunkered down and stuck out my bottom lip. “Don’t be sad, boo bear. We just want one good photo.”
I shut my eyes. Olivia’s whimpers subsided quickly, and curiosity at why made me want to open them again. The camera clicked again and I noticed that the sound of it had stolen her attention. She wasn’t smiling, but at least she wasn’t crying anymore.
“Dolly,” Olivia said, pointing to a creepy-looking porcelain doll the photographer had stored in the pile of props off to my right.
I frowned, but Olivia insisted. The doll was the ugliest thing I’d ever seen. It had pen marks on its cheeks, the eyes were small and beady. Its fake hair was a rat’s nest of dark curls spewing forth from its scalp in noticeable clumps. Her dress resembled nothing but a bunch of torn cloth sewn together. Only one shoe graced her porcelain foot and the other was covered in archaic drawings of what might be flowers. Yes, I cringed.
The tone of insistence in her precious voice matched that look in her eyes. I sighed. If I could bribe her with the doll . . . .
“Okay, honey. If I let you hold the doll, you have to smile for the picture. K?”
She didn’t fall for it right away. No smile. Only a nod.
I sighed inwardly and picked up the ugly toy, holding it like it might be diseased. I hesitated with it out in front of me, but Olivia snatched it from my fingers, hugging it to her chest. A smile instantly took over her face, brightening every inch of it until the precious soul of my sweet, spunky two year old couldn’t be contained.
The photographer snapped, snapped, and snapped again. The smiles were accompanied by a few giggles as Olivia pulled the doll’s few perfect curls and watched them bounce back.
I hated the idea of the ugly doll in the pictures . . . at least until I saw the photographs. As I stared into the pictures the young woman took, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the beauty she’d captured in those images of my girl holding the ugliest doll in the world.
If only we always looked with the eyes of innocence . . . .