FICTION

Bedtime Story

Pauline M. Barrett May 1 1943
FICTION

Bedtime Story

Pauline M. Barrett May 1 1943

Bedtime Story

FICTION

IT WAS half past six a week next Saturday.

The twins were very sleepy, but they begged for one more story.

“What kind of a story?” asked their mamma.

“A fairy story,” said little Franklin.

“About long ago,” said little Winstonetta.

So their mamma began:

“Once upon a time, long, long ago, a lady started out one morning to do her shopping. She was wearing sheer silk stockings, for her husband had given her half a dozen pairs on her birthday, and a nice double-breasted wool costume with an inside pocket as well as three outside pockets, and a zipper in the skirt that was well over nine inches long.”

“Coo!” said little Winstonetta.

“She stepped into her car and drove away round the corner to the service station. Out came a brisk young man. ‘Fill her up, please!’ said the lady.”

“Gosh!” murmured little Franklin.

“So he filled her up. ‘Put it down to our account,’ said the lady. ‘And by the way, my husband will be round this evening to pick up those two new tires.’ ‘You bet!’ said the brisk young man. And the lady started the car and away she went to Mr. Dimble’s general store.

“Mr. Dimble was standing on the doorstep looking for customers. There was a great big notice on one of the windows, done in big white lettering. ‘SPECIAL TODAY ! Sale of evaporated milk ! Order a case now for immediate delivery!’ ”

“Golly!” said little Franklin.

“ ‘Good morning, madam!’ said Mr. Dimble. ‘What can I do for you today?’ ‘Well,’ began the lady, T want several things, but first of all, I didn’t like that leg of veal you sent me yesterday, Mr.

Dimble. It was too fat and there was far too much bone and you didn’t send me any suet with it!’ Poor Mr. Dimble looked very worried indeed; he wrung his hands and said how sorry he was, and that he’d look into the matter, and was there something else in the meat line today which he hoped would give her more satisfaction? Would she like some choice lamb, perhaps, or a nice sirloin of beef, or perhaps a ham?”

Little Franklin and little Winstonetta were speechless.

“So the lady ordered some meat and a pound and a half of bacon and a case of evaporated milk and three tins of molasses and five pounds of sugar and three pounds of butter. ‘Now let me see,’ she said. ‘What else did I want? I have some friends motoring over for the week end and I don’t want to run short of anything.’ ‘No indeed, madam,’ said Mr. Dimble. ‘Have you plenty of tea? Coffee? What about fruit? We have some nice bananas fresh in today.’ ”

“What’s bananas?” asked little Franklin.

“Oh, they’re long yellow things that people used to eat long ago. So the lady ordered some fruit and two quarts of ice cream, and said she must have everything but the ice cream sent up to her house immediately, and the ice cream must be delivered tomorrow evening at six o’clock. ‘And not later than six o’clock, please Mr. Dimble,’ she said. ‘Yes, madam,’ Mr. Dimble said. ‘I’ll have the boy come with it specially at six o’clock promptly . . . Will there be anything else?’ ...”

“Go on, Mamma,” said little Winstonetta. “What happened next?”

But Mamma just went on staring into space with a faraway look in her eyes. And presently the twins were in dreamland too.

—Pauline M. Barrett