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The One With The Friends

“No manual?” appalled, she asked.

“Yes, good Lady. Who’s to know how they function? We know no better than you.”

Martha was running late. Her mother had demanded that she get a friend of some sort, they were all the fad. She was in for a beating, lest she quickly figured out how to work one.

“You must have some idea.”

“Well, from what I’ve observed, they are a jolly bunch. One turn of they key and they jump a mile. They talk incessantly and are rude as a bear. ” supplied the shopkeeper.

“Oh no. That won’t do. Is there one that won’t chatter about so much?”

“Ma’am, we don’t make ’em. That’s the way they are.” She could see that she had begun to annoy the shopkeeper with her relentless questioning.

“Alright. But surely, they would obey my instructions?”

“I can’t give you any guarantee on that. If you’re lucky, you may just find an agreeable one.”

“No guarantee?” Martha was beyond horrified. Why would anyone associate with something so entirely unpredictable? They all look the same, but they ought to behave differently, she pondered, glancing at the display.

“Leave them be, Ma’am, if you care not for company.” the shopkeeper suggested. He could guess that she wasn’t exactly what one would call forward.

“Would you take them back if.. if they weren’t.. suitable?” she ventured.

“We can’t do that. I’m afraid it would be all on you, once you flip the switch.”

Faced with a dire predicament, she decided to buy one and hurry homeward. She’d test it out and leave it in the attic, if it became overwhelming. Without much thought, she pointed to one donning a pleasant blue dress. “I’ll take that one.”

“Twenty coins please.” She paid up and the shopkeeper activated the life sized figurine.

“Good day, Ma’am. ” He bowed to her. She nodded an acknowledgment and turned to go.

For the first few minutes, her new friend said nothing. When Martha stepped out of the shop, she noticed several people having a gala time with their friends – singing, playing carefree on the streets. It seemed to her, that friends were manageable, after all.

But then with an alarming cry of joy, her new friend jumped into a puddle and looked at her gleefully. Martha’s overcoat was of no help against the onslaught of mucky water.

“It is such fun. Join me!” she beckoned to Martha. But Martha was growing even more furious by the second. It must have shown on her face, for her new friend looked about uncertainly and upon finding no solace, took a leaping start.

“Catch me if you can!” she hollered as she raced away, leaving Martha dumbstruck and angry beyond measure.

“Just you wait!” she shrieked. Friends were a boisterous thing, she thought, as she ran after the retreating form. If she had learnt anything at all, it was to treat them with the utmost care. Who knew when one would blow up in one’s face?


Happy Friendship Day to all my cherished ones! 😀 You continue to fuel the party that is my life. I am ever so grateful.

– Meera

 

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