Sanctuary of the Whirligigs

      by Barry Rachin

Sanctuary of the Whirligigs
Sanctuary of the Whirligigs
by
Barry Rachin




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Published by:


Sanctuary of the Whirligigs
Copyright © 2016 by Barry Rachin





This short story represents a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.


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Sanctuary of the Whirligigs



Ignoring the paved, red brick walkway, the dark-haired woman cut across the lawn to where Marcus Rosedale was lounging on the front stoop. Even by the most generous standards, she wasn’t particularly pretty. Thick, charcoal eyebrows perched over pallid cheeks, sloping haphazardly toward fleshy lips. It was the sort of unremarkable, aesthetically commonplace face one seldom noticed in a crowd.
Some women possessed a certain penache. Even when wearing torn jeans and a blouse bought off the discount rack at the bargain outlet, they wreaked of haute couture. Sadly, this one was not of that ilk. How she appeared in middle age was not much different from how Marcus imagined she would look thirty years later when applying for Medicare and her social security pension.
She waved an arm at a collection of wind-driven lawn ornaments scattered across the weedy grass. “Are these gizmos for sale?”
“Whirligigs,” he corrected. “They’re called whirligigs and yes, I’ve got plenty in the basement.”
The woman stabbed at a pair of horn-rimmed glasses, pushing the frames up on the bridge of a doughy nose. “Yes, well I really like the feisty chicken.” She pointed toward a brightly painted wooden ornament perched on a spruce pole. A gust of wind tickled the blades of a purple propeller, sending the chicken’s upper torso bobbing up and down in the direction of a terrified earthworm. A red barn with tufts of hay spilling out of an upper loft served as a makeshift rudder, steering the contraption into the fitful breezes.
“Hennie Penny.” Marcus grinned good-naturedly. He disappeared into the house, returning moments later with a replica of the mechanical device.
“They’re all so clever,” she said, gesturing toward a red-capped lumberjack, who was chopping wood with an axe near a rock garden. Several feet away, a less-ambitious, bearded man snoozed leisurely in a rocking chair that rhythmically bobbed back and forth as the wind pumped a drive shaft hidden just below his feet. Directly to the left, a brown bear clawed the air with an outstretched paw, just out of reach of a salmon leaping from a frothy pond. It was all good fun – a comical, self-contained universe in microcosm where only good things happened and nothing ever went terribly awry.
“Do you teach?” She inched the glasses up on her humped nose.
“Teach what?”
“Woodworking… how to make them… The whirligigs, that is.”
He rubbed his grizzled chin and looked away. “In the ten years I been assembling these mechanical contraptions, you’re the first person to ask.”
“How sad!” The woman ran a taut index finger over the brass welding rod that served as the drive shaft. She stroked the acrylic paint that decorated the wings and fancy plumage. “How much would you charge to teach me?”
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