Archive | 9:06 am

Message in a Bottle: Jostling Jealousy & Other Stories

30 Aug

[This one was scribbled for a four-year-old audience. The language has been modified for adult reading. Feedback welcome. And any mommies/daddies reading this, feel free to narrate it to your babies. 🙂 ]

Sascha’s bathroom, like the rest of her home, was spotlessly clean. Her Mommy made sure that it was cleaned every day and always smelled fragrant. You could call it a bit cluttered, I suppose, for Sascha loved her cosmetics just as much as the next tween. And the window ledge was more than a little packed with bottles, tubes and jars of varying dimensions, jostling for a foothold.

They were quite a sorority, those bottles. Every night, after all was calm, they’d huddle together and crib about Hair Oil who lived among them.

“She’s so drippy and icky and green!” gurgled Shampoo in disdain.

“Not to mention smelly,” sniffed Bath Salts.

“She really shouldn’t be here amongst us,” cried Baby Powder, who was particularly vain about her appearance and partial to taking a peek into the mirror every chance she got.

And so they whined and carped and grumbled about their unsavory company, until one day, fed up of their complaining, Soap suggested a plan.

“We’ll wait for Friday night,” he whispered, knowing that was the time Sascha’s hair was oiled. “And, since she’ll be the last one back on the ledge, one of us can nudge her over, and splash, she’ll be in the pot below!” Much excitement and cheering later, it was decided that Condi (short for Conditioner) be the one to Do the Deed. Being the tallest of the lot, he had more leverage, and could move swiftly and effectively to get the job done. Hands shaken and backs slapped, they settled down to await the end of the week.

On Friday night, Nanny grabbed Hair Oil as usual and took her off to the kitchen to be warmed. 20 tense minutes later, she was back, whistling tunelessly at being the flavor of the night and having gladdened the rather traditional Nanny’s old heart. At precisely ten past midnight, at the pre-determined signal, Condi swung into action. A quick bump of his plastic bum later, Hair Oil was floating dismally in the (thankfully) clean water of the dazzling white pot, gazing up ruefully at the sniggers above her. Shutting her eyes, she prayed fervently that no drowsy family member would use the toilet at night. That, in her book, would be the ultimate ignominy.

The night passed peacefully. Or as peaceful as it can possibly be with a dark drain mere millimeters away. With the morning sun came Bai, Harpic in one hand and brush in another, ready to do battle with germs, stains and sundry offenders. Hair Oil cringed, waiting to be doused in blue soapy liquid, but none descended. Instead, after what appeared to be the longest time, she heard a cluck of annoyance and felt a calloused hand gingerly lift her from the cap. The bottles were all agog, hanging about innocently with their eyes peeled to the unfolding scene. And this is what they saw:

Hair Oil was given a thorough rinse in lavender soap by a brisk, mildly annoyed Bai before being swabbed with Dettol and patted dry. Other than a wrinkly wrapper, she looked none the worse for wear and the smirk she wore on her face infuriated them. The last straw was seeing her being whisked off to the bedroom and given pride of place on Sascha’s dressing table, in full view of the exciting programs on television. Only the bottles knew that the slightly puffed look that Hair Oil wore for the rest of the week was not a result of that dunking in the water.