Jinkies! It’s March already. How’d that happen?!
Well, it stands to reason that our dear friends over at Today’s Author would give us an interesting prompt with which to start a new month. My response to their
shenanegans brilliance is entitled “Penelope’s Confidante:”
The world is full of secrets, especially when you are five; Penelope lived at the intersection of ambiguity and mystery, which was smack in the epicenter of obscurity. Her parents rarely spoke to her, instead preferring a distant sort of love that came through notes, presents, clothing, and trust funds; she had nannies and tutors and an assortment of caregivers who were responsible for maintaining the immense country estate in which she and her family lived, if living was the right descriptor: Penelope’s parents were in sales and spent most of their time traveling from meeting to meeting, from client to client, from opportunity to opportunity; she had been a surprise, a development which had occurred during a rare confab between mum and da on a lay-over. Neither knew what to do with her when she arrived, so the decision was made to create for her a lifestyle to which she would become accustomed. They over-spent and under-cared.
Yet, Penelope was not lonely, for she had a dear and close friend. He’d appeared one day, much like all the rest: hidden deeply in a large bow-entangled box. He was given the name Earl Jeffrey ( a very proper name, indeed; Penelope called him “EJ” when no one else was around, which was almost always) and he was a proper tawny-brown fluff of a bear. A stuffed bear. But EJ was her best friend, in whom she shared her world of secrets. For example, he knew that da had a special friend in Rio and that mum kept a bottle of special pills in her carry-on. EJ enjoyed having tea in the make-believe garden of Penelope’s playroom more than in the real one alongside the house, just like Penelope, and never complained when asked to hide beneath the pleached hedge or when searching for snails and earthworms alongside the still pool.
The days came and went, with Penelope and EJ enjoying one another’s company. One morning as Penelope finished her milk, EJ decided to share a secret of his own. “Guess what Missy told me just yesterday? It might be wise to pull from the Moroccan All-Liquid index; it’s lost almost an entire percentage point over the last quarter! Missy says the Casablanca Exchange is falling rapidly.”
Penelope’s eyes grew wide as the last drop of milk ran from the corner of her gaping mouth down to the tip of her chin. “EJ–can you speak?” She stammered in a loud whisper.
The bear cleared his thoat. “Of course, young miss, and you don’t have to whisper. We are the only ones in the house at present. And I would prefer it if you’d call me Earl Jeffrey; it does sound so much more professional, you know. And besides, that is the proper name you gave me.”
“Yes, sir!” Penelope sat up straight, unsure of whether to be frightened or happy that her best friend was in fact chatting with her over morning tea. “Might I ask,” she looked troubled at not knowing, “who Missy is?”
Earl Jeffrey laughed deeply, his ears wiggling in time with each guffaw. “Oh, my dear; we’ll have to have a proper introduction all ’round, now won’t we? Missy is the pony.” Penelope suddenly broke out in a smile, realizing that Missy was the stuffed pony da had brought home from his trip to North Africa; it made sense then that she would know something about Morocco. “Alright then.” Earl Jeffrey announced as he pushed himself out of the chair and tumbled to the floor. “Let’s get on with it; come now, young miss. The others are waiting to have a chat with you. Now you must try and remember everything they tell you–they are much better at figures than I–because if you don’t your mum and da will lose this lovely cottage and we don’t want that, now do we?” He patted her hand with one soft paw and led the way back to the playroom, where she could hear the rustle and murmur of the others as they compiled figures, identified indices, and calculated percentage variations.
Written for the Today’s Author prompt: A girl’s imaginary friends start giving her lucrative stock tips.