the exhibit

Time is short today, but let’s see what I can come up with in 10 minutes…

The prompt: 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.

“Mother! Daddy! Please don’t be mad!”

A skeletal Japanese woman, small in the anorexic-looking way and clad in an ass-tight white pants suit, rushes over and throws her bony arms around the tiny girl. Whimsical pieces of art decorate otherwise stark walls. Colorful, eccentric yet captivating portraits of boys and girls, men and women, lions and tigers, flowers and trees are created entirely by finger paint. A chandelier made of found objects hangs precariously from a soaring ceiling. Sculptures made of toys and dolls are perched upon pedestals. It’s the kind of art that makes you stop and ponder, sensing that there is more than meets the eye, more to see if you just stay a while.

“Darling! Are you okay?”

“Yes, mother. I feel fine. I’m not hurt at all and I’m ready for the party.”

Agatha is a ball of fiery energy and sheer nerves.  Her straight black hair hangs down to her waist. A large white bow decorates her heart-shaped head. She is wearing a bright red, sleeveless satin and pleated party dress with a gold locket, bright orange socks, and white patent leather Mary Janes.

“Agatha Louise Herman!” A booming voice echoes across the glossy white floors.


He is a wiry, white haired man with horn-rimmed glasses, dressed in head-to-toe black.

“Have you lost your mind?”

“No! Daddy, I-”

A taxi screeches up and a frazzled young woman with piles of curly blonde hair jumps out, not bothering to close the door behind her. She is wearing a conservative gray sweater dress and unremarkable black boots, no heel. She looks like she’s seen a ghost.

“Oh, Agatha, you naughty girl. Thank God you’re okay. Mr. and Mrs. Herman, she called me from the car as she was pulling away. I thought she was having a snack, I just left her for a second. But, oh my, I’m so sorry. Agatha, how could you do this?”

“Lydia, you’re fired.”

“No! It’s not her fault!” Agatha chimes in desperately as she clings to her nanny. Both Lydia and Agatha are close to tears.

“I had to do it, mommy and daddy. Don’t you see? It’s part of my exhibit.”


    1. It was kind of stressful, but I had to get out the door to a class. I brainstormed the night before while falling asleep, so I was already familiar with the story I wanted to write. I usually prefer to give myself as much time as I feel I need for writing prompts, but it was also satisfying to be quick. Time is of the essence these days.


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