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Clockwork Purple

The Book of Love by Kathleen McGowan

Prompt randomly chosen unseen – page 17 by Charles – line 13 by Joanna
“She could be tough, but she was fair.”

“Alexa, set alarm for 47 minutes” – 47 minutes starting now


Everyone claimed they liked Penelope even though she was sloppy as a pig. She had personality and character they said, and therefore she got away with doing everything her own way. She didn’t pay much attention to what everyone said about her, nor did she obey their polite requests. She did what she wanted to do when she wanted to do it, and that included mouthing off with loud yells whenever she felt the urge.

Telling Penny how to behave and what to do was a waste of time unless you had something she wanted. Everyone called her Penny even though they knew her proper name was Penelope. They only called her by her formal name when they were angry with something she said or did. When Penny was sweet, they were sweet, and when they gave Penny what she wanted she was sweet. When Penny was ornery, which wasn’t too often, confronting her was a big mistake; it just didn’t work. Most people, even those who were close to Penny, realized the best approach when she was in a bad mood was not to approach; it was better to retreat. Yes, retreat. Even to the point of running away. If Penny was upset with you, or just upset in general, or just feeling ornery, everyone soon discovered the only reasonable thing to do was vanish.

In the natural progression of things, like time, there came a time that Thanksgiving was approaching. The whole family got together and discussed if it would be proper to have Penny for dinner. If all of our family and friends came over for a big Thanksgiving feast, would Penny be welcome or would they be abhorred by her presence? Everyone knew Penny and they knew how tough she could be and how she could be especially unpleasant in complex social situations. Would she show her fair side in a family situation like Thanksgiving or her tough side? Could we take the risk of her being bad on the very day we would all hope she would be her best, her very best? Should we even take the risk? As we were discussing these family problems Penny came in and without even acknowledging our existence went over and flopped down on the plush recliner couch and instantly went to sleep. She looked so sweet and friendly. We decided, as a family, to have her over for the Thanksgiving feast.

Well, Thanksgiving day finally arrived, and there was Penny, the center of attention, sitting right in the middle of the gigantic banquet table. Hanging above her was an elegantly prepared poster with a beautiful picture of her when young and a tastefully done statement, “We love you Penny!”

She was toasted with the finest Napa Valley wine, a Sauvignon blanc, and served with the best New England cranberry chutney, and by the middle of dinner everyone agreed about their friend Penelope, “She could be tough, but she was fair.” After the first few bites all qualms about eating their piggy friend vanished, and everyone looked forward to next Thanksgiving dinner and wondered who would be their next guest of honor.

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