Introducing ‘At The End Of The Barrel’ a fictional short story column. Writers, feel free to submit your work to email@example.com!
A long time ago there lived a wise Prince and his Princess. They loved each other so much and they had the most beautiful baby girl in their kingdom. People loved them so much that they would shower them with gifts every now and then. There came a time when the prince and princess had to be taught to be future heirs of the throne. So they got their daughter; Rosaline a nanny to take care of her.
The nanny was a short-tempered and highly opinionated young woman. She liked taking care of the prince’s daughter, however, all that changed when her husband left her for a wealthy woman. She would insult people by calling them names and the Prince’s daughter suffered the same fate. Rosaline did not have many friends so she spent most of her time with their dog. Whenever the nanny came and found her playing with the dog, she would also call her a dog and this went on and on.
One day after a whole week of foggy weather, the sun came out and Rosaline decided to sneak out of the house and play with the dog in the garden. She played so many games with their dog including fetch. The sun shone so brightly and that lifted her spirit after many days indoors. Even her nanny felt a little bit better and decided to go to the attic for a small smoke break. As she was inhaling the menthol from the cigarette by the window she spotted Rosaline lying in a pool of mud with the dog. Both she and the dog had fallen into a pool as she was trying to keep up with the dog.
“You filthy dog!” she fumed at the top of her voice, “Get out of there this very minute!” Furious for having her bubble of happiness burst, her whole body cringed and muttered, “It stops today!” under her breath.
The nanny was always courteous in front of the Prince and Princess and reporting her would be difficult. It would just be her word against hers. After taking a long bath she was locked in her room by the nanny and in there she hatched a little protest performance.
Just before the Prince and Princess arrived, her room was unlocked and she waited patiently for them. As soon as they got in, they announced; “Hello Baby we are home.” As was their custom. The nanny quickly ran down to get their coats and welcome them. They had brought a guest and she showed her courtesy and left to fix them some strong black coffee and as they finished preparing supper. The Prince headed to his study to leave the documents he had been given to go through.
The guest was a fashion designer who was begging for a reason to dress the Princess as he was slowly becoming irrelevant due to new sassy designers that were taking the industry by storm. Dressing the Princess would be a big deal as she had a huge following and his designs would be quickly noticed not to mention the value bestowed on them.
Suddenly Rosaline burst into the room in her fours, wearing the dog collar.
“There’s my little angel, now stand up and greet us properly,” said the Princess.
“Hoo hoo,” she barked. “I’m a dog that is what I am.”
“Come now Rosaline, you will choke yourself with that. Can’t you see we brought a guest home?”
“But mummy I am a dog.”
An aroma of freshly brewed coffee filtered the room as the nanny walked in with a tray of coffee whilst Rosaline continued the conversation.
“I don’t know but the nanny is always calling me a dog so…”
“What!” The Princess interjected and nanny stopped halfway through the room. “Why does she…” nudging her; “…call you that?” nudging her.
Immediately the Prince strolled into the room unapologetically asking, “I hope by now you guys have come to an agreement about which design…” Sensing a little bit of tension he inquired, “Did I miss something?”
Feeling hoards of regret, trains of sympathy and a double clap of the guilty conscience, tears began to trickle down her cheeks. “I am so-so very sorry…”
“You were right mother, this thing really does choke. Poor dog, so this is how it feels like every day with this collar around its neck.”
“I do not believe this!” walking to her daughter.
“Neither do I!” said the fashion designer jumping from the couch and joining the conversation for the first time.
Helping her daughter to stand up and remove the collar she questioned, “What in your right mind would make you call my daughter…that?
“Madame, the situation is…” Nanny tried to reply and was cut short by the fashion designer.
“Perfecto!” The fashion designer roared.
Bewildered, everyone turned to him expecting an explanation.
“N-no, I don’t mean the situation, I mean that!”
Losing interest, the princess motioned the nanny to continue speaking, “you were saying…”
Jumping from corner to corner, the fashion designer could not contain his excitement, “You people do not understand the magnitude of success that I am seeing here. That dog collar is my next big thing. You guys have just made me famous again. Thank you so very much.”
He rushed to the little girl, kissed her on the cheeks and then the nanny, took his jacket and walked out gleefully.
A week later the princess made a grand appearance at a coronation ceremony wearing a choker necklace, the fashion designer had made for her. The ceremony became the official launch of the choker. The elite members loved the choker and decided to keep it within their realm, that is, for elite members only. They issued a press release announcing that the choker necklace had special powers imbued in it to protect the elite from evil spirits.
A few years later after seeing how unhappy the nanny was, the Princess decided to give her one of her most prized choker to cheer her up. The nanny then wore the choker necklace to a singles only party that she had been invited to where single women would drown their sorrows by drinking beer. When she got there, people gathered and inquired how such a person of a lower standard actually got a choker. They all wanted it and the princess allowed the designer to supply them. They thus became the first ordinary people to publicise it. Unfortunately, because married women feared that those single women would snatch their husbands, they discarded it calling it cheap jewellery for prostitutes.
However as time went on, came a new generation of bold and fearless women who made it trendy. Up to today, the choker is still relevant, coming in different styles, colours and sizes.
By Moira Marangwanda
(This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.)