Six Sentence Stories is a weekly writers’ challenge hosted by Denise at Girlie on the Edge blog.
Join us and take part in the form here. This week’s cue word is: Quarter
The Double Act Switch
It was a quarter-to-nine inside the concert hall of the Mediterranean cruise ship, where Monsieur Magnifique and Petit Pierre were into the final moments of their routine to an audience of boozed-up and overfed passengers.
Monsieur Magnifique expertly sipped from a glass of water while Petit Pierre belted out “Non, je ne regrette rien” to delighted applause, then Monsieur Magnifique declared: “It’s time to get back in the box, Petit Pierre, as I wish you sweet dreams and une très belle nuit.”
Later that night in their cabin, as Monsieur Magnifique snored in his bunk, the lid of Petit Pierre’s box began to open, and a wooden hand perched itself upon the ledge, followed by a torso and legs, and Petit Pierre tip-toed over to his partner and grinned at him with crimson lips and clattering teeth from a mouth where from within came the voice of his own for a change, distinct and unique: “It’s time to rise from your bed, Monsieur Magnifique, and make your midnight promenade about those wealthy cabins.”
And in the small hours of that night, dressed in pyjamas and with dreamy eyes, did Monsieur Magnifique steal jewellery, fat wallets and purses from his fast-asleep fellow passengers – and how this thievery continued for five nights more, a routine, an act, the revolution of man manipulating mannequin to entertain passengers each evening, followed by mannequin manipulating man to dispossess them of their belongings at night.
The chief security officer of the cruise ship began an investigation, so as a diversion to this Petit Pierre instigated a bout of food poisoning and the missing of three persons (presumably lost overboard), along with the apparent suicide of one of the petty officers – his body dangling from a ceiling pipe in his cabin like a pendulum counter swinging to the witness and wetness of the sea’s lurch and sway.
On arrival back in Monte Carlo and after counting his riches, there could have been no more happier a ventriloquial figure in Europe than Petit Pierre, and he immediately set to work planning his next cruise tours of the Caribbean and the South Pacific, whereupon each night he would sing “Non, je ne regrette rien” at the top of his wooden lungs, then later tell his partner: “It’s time to rise from your bed, Monsieur Magnifique, and make your midnight promenade about those wealthy cabins.”
The Double Act Switch micro-story by Ford 10 June 2021
The Double Act Switch artwork – PO Liner Strathaird photo. Clipart and digital render by Ford