This week's Red Writing Hood writing challenge was to begin a work of short fiction with an identical cold open ( in bold below). This took me in a different direction than I expected.
As always, your thoughts and feedback are welcome.
Quite the Conversation Piece
An art opening at a lavish downtown gallery. A car crashes through the plate glass window. The driver's door opens, and an eight-year-old girl steps out.
Olivia turns to her companion and murmurs, "This old chestnut." She sips her wine, continues, "You tell me, Bernard. A commentary on the actualization of feminine power?"
"Perhaps," he says, "But that's been done, and done better. I mean, a broken window? If it was a broken glass ceiling, it would be a cliche, yet a bit of a lark, at least." He gazes at his empty glass, "What does it take to get a refill around here?"
"Oh, Darling, the waiters are all attending to the girl," she says, gazing at another installation, a mobile made from rusty forks. "World hunger, very good," she murmurs. "Put a sticker on that one." She turns to her husband, "Bernard? Are you even listening?"
He gazes towards the entryway. The glass, splattered across the bamboo floor is almost jewel-like. Deliciously dangerous. An homage to Pollack, perhaps?
He faces Olivia, "So sorry, Darling. I am simply enchanted by that girl's performance." He stares once more at his empty cup. "Although I wish somebody had clued in the help. How much?"
She sighs, twisting her earrings. "How much what, Darling?
"The piece. The girl. She's got the crying thing down. Very authentic. I like the wailing. I like the blood. I especially like the broken glass. Quite the conversation piece, don't you think?"
She lifts an eyebrow. "You can't be serious." She stares at the girl, presently shaking in the arms of the bartender. "I mean, are you sure the shattered glass is included? Where would we put it?"
She considers the geometry of their home. It could go in the sun room. There is lots of light, and good, solid, soundproof doors. Yes. That would work. She smiles and purrs, "I thought you said this was 'done and done better.'"
"You know as well as I do that good art can be surprising. Please, Darling. For me." He clasps her elbow, whispers, "You can have the World Hunger forks, but let me have this piece. I am begging you."
She nods briefly, and wags a finger towards the scene, "Well, go on then."
She watches as Bernard strides past the ocean of shards, past the emergency technicians and places a sticker on the girl's forehead.
"We'll take it," he says. "And when you have a minute, please refill my glass."