Ms Emily’s Pretty, Beauty Baby, Lovely Boutique Shop
By Phillip Ghee (USA)
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Ms Emily’s Pretty, Beauty Baby, Lovely Boutique Shop
By Phillip Ghee
The goings-on of a small blue marble of a world set way off in the deep and dusty boondocks of the spiral Milk Way Galaxy held little attraction to and, few visitations from, most of the truly high and Higher Beings of the Universe; save for one small and unassuming store, to be more precise, a women’s clothing boutique, located in suburban Maryland, just few exits off the I -193 South.
Word of mouth, snout or telepathy, had it, this shop had not only the latest designer stock but also some of the most original dress creations and accessories in the known Universe. They were also known to have customer exemplary customer service. The Milky Way itself was not seen as desirable location due to its designation as a Spiral Galaxy. Most of the more excusive and fashionable shops were located in worlds that kept addresses in more affluent Elliptical Galaxies, these upscale galaxies really had their stuff together. One had to be very adventurous to shop at any world located in a Spiral Galaxy yet alone, one located in the mundane Milky Way, and on one of the spiral arms no less, forgetaboutit!
Many of the higher intelligences suffer from extreme cases of the ambe’s and the unee’s It seems to be an inevitable fact that as life forms ascend to acquiesce higher intelligence ultimately, the differences between the Ying and the Yang begin to dissipate; the male and female become less distinguishable, less defined thus more ambiguous and overlapping and unisexual. However many such life forms still wish to retain a little hint of that separation of the sexes and with it, the welcome variation in gender appearance; just to keep things spiced up a bit thus ensuring the continuance of such higher species. So in their quest to keep a good fire lit under the melting pot, they traverse the Universe, far and wide, in search of those lower life forms that still dabble in, adorn with, accessorize with, and by and large, still fashionably express themselves in clothes. The more fashion conscious of these beings will even brave the required bureaucratic red tape and documentation, congested traffic, and dizzying effects of traveling the Space-Time Continuum Highway for a trip to a fashion hotspot or to a world where they think they’d be able to get a good deal on designer brands.
Ms. Emily had a special knack for customer service and could make even the ardent and persnickety shopper, earthly or otherwise, relaxed, cordial and even sociable during their shopping experience. Ms Emily, a Cambodian ex-patriot, had a thinly laced accent favored by the merchandiser’s of her homeland that spilled out softly in tones not much louder than whispers. Solely for novelty purposes she enhanced it with the fashionable duplicity of adjectives and phrases as they translate from Eastern cultures of her world.
The always engaging entrepreneur, she never bought merchandise in bulk so customers could always be assured that they were getting a one of kind outfit. Just to see her energetic race up and down the store pulling this item and that while chatting up a storm was in itself a relief. Many shopkeepers in high end stores were as snobbish as the maitre d at Verlux’s, that overpriced swanky restaurant, few miles down and over in Georgetown.
Even by her world’s standards, the sturdy shopkeeper, Ms Emily stood little more than the height of a child. This being an attribute that many of the Universal visitors actually found comforting. The majorities of the higher intelligences are ecology driven and actually prefer to evolve themselves into smaller forms. Beings taller than six earth feet were often seen to be bawdy and/or gaudy showoffs, always conquering this or acquisitioning that, always taking up space just because they can. A small stylish mass was much more eco-friendly, portable, easily accessible and required far less maintenance than some nine foot tall Kanamit.
Siri Anna Kobowski , her assistant, often hidden and hunched over a sewing machine, remained, for the better part of the sales day behind the simple drawn heavy curtains surrounding the fitting rooms. Unlike Emily, Siri, or Mrs. Kobowski, as she preferred to be known by, was not forthcoming. She was old world, a throw back to another era; a babushka, of earthen Russian stock. She was practical, argumentative and even a bit stubborn. She seldom smiled, in fact, her face had a permanent scowl about it. However, Siri, I mean, Mrs Kobowski was a seamstress/ tailor extraordinaire who could customize any out fit to accommodate for an extra limb or tentacle. She could do wonders with proportions, adding even a third cup to the slinkiest of bikinis without any distortion whatsoever in fit and form. Strangely, her own appearance was as drab as the women who worked the assembly lines during the era of the Soviets.
The most unique thing, in a cacophony of unique things, about Ms Emily’s Pretty, Beauty Baby, Lovely Boutique Shop was that in world that had not yet been made aware of the existence of life outside of their own little blue marble; was that Ms. Emily, who had never been outside her own solar system or to any other world save for that blue planet, charged a fare price and accepted most major credit cards, those issued on Earth as well as otherworldly.
Ms Emily had two peak busy periods within a year. There was always the Christmas holiday shopping season. This was as Ms Emily would say “ A Happy Happy Funtime goodtime”.
And the second was the arrival of The VΘarn-Ne^. which would although, ultimately prove to be very prosperous, was not so much of a happy happy fun time goodtime.
The VΘarn-Ne^. usually arrived sometime around the Spring Equinox coordinating her schedule to coincide with the arrival of the new spring and summer lines making their debut on fashion driven Earth. She preferred to get her winter clothing from deep space worlds that also had a flare for fashion because they really dealt accordingly with frigid temperature wear. They worked with more durable materials yet unknown to Earth. What they lacked in creativity they made up for in comfort. When, on your world absolute 0 is considered a mild winter day, you don’t want to mess around with gore-tex, sheep’s wool or some stuff sold only at 3:AM on the Home Shopping Network. However, Earth was certainly in the zone and just right for Spring and Summer Shopaganzas.
The VΘarn-Ne^. made it a custom to announce her arrival via sonic-text.
“Tap, tap tap.”
The fluid-like vibrations, not so much dissimilar to that of the aurora encountered by patients prone to seizures. The mini synchronize sonic booms arrived and pulsated throughout the shop and momentarily dizzied the shop’s inhabitants about a full ten minutes before the actual arrival of The VΘarn-Ne^. herself.
The VΘarn-Ne^. had arrived and was having a heated debate with a parking attendant over whether her vehicle constituted a SUV or Sedan fee. The VΘarn-Ne^. held her ground, insisting that the ‘damn thing’ (a name or rather moniker she had chosen to christen her Cube inspired vehicle as) was by all intents and purposes a car and not a SUV. Dressed in her rather drab utilitarian flight suit she gave off the appearance of a mechanic thus adding a little authority to her argument After a lengthy debate covering everything from height and width of vehicle, tire size to steering ratio, she eventually wore down the parking attendant, a worthy combatant given his North African ancestry, and paid the fee for reserved for a sedan.
She rushed right passed a welcoming Emily, offering up what could barely be interrupted as a greeting, The VΘarn-Ne^. made her way straight forth to the ladies room. Traveling the Space/Time Continuum Highway always made her cranky. The VΘarn-Ne^.’s main complaint was the wearing of the drab, yet mandated by Universal law, flight suit, which she saw as nothing to with safety but, merely a revenue raising ploy forced upon space travelers, time travelers, high and Higher Beings by yet even Higher Beings.
Traveling the Space/Time Continuum Highway did have certain drawbacks especially to those conscious of form and appearance. The bending of space and time is not very kind to beings with sensitive derma. Although some claim that all the bending, twisting and warping around one’s very self was good for the body in a yogic sort of way, the vast majority claim it only exacerbates wrinkles. Then there is that freaky and uneasy sort of self-awareness that comes with space/time warping, being compelled to view, and sometimes even chat one self through all ages and phases of one’s existence); not to mention all the bloating and gas.
The VΘarn-Ne^. swore, although never truly quantified, that the trip always added several dilly-decimal units to her bum. Beings with hair or cilia were sure to have a bad hair or cilia day after the trip due to all the static and eletro-magnetic build-up inherent in the flight. She refused to be seen as such and in such. No novice to the trip, The VΘarn-Ne^. always brought along several changes of outfits and a hair and make-up kit stashed away in her oversize Haute Couture bag . She needed to freshen up.
A full half and hour later The VΘarn-Ne^. emerged from the ladies room radiant and poised, if you discount the fact she, with a tooth pick, was still picking out a few pieces of dark energy which had gotten stuck between her teeth during the flight. Now she chose to greet the ladies of the shop as if she had just seen them. She spoke, high pitch and in a sharp accent (not definitively traceable but still seemingly earthly) Her piercing voice commanded and attracted the attention of the entire shop, as a few Earth based customers were still shopping and browsing around.
“ Oh ! Ms. Emily, look at you, so pretty, pretty, how
come they charge so much now to park the damn thing?
Ahhh! like your scarf give me one in burgundy”.
Her tone went from congratulatory to accusatory and back again without skipping a beat.
Some of Ms. Emily’s outer worldly customers required a closed audience and shopped during off-hours or at specially arranged times. This was brought about by either their
variations in appearance, low tolerance levels (sometimes biological but mostly uppityness) towards Earth Dwellers or their inability to pay for purchases with recognizable tender.The VΘarn-Ne^. however loved to fit in and shop among the women of Earth. Like so many of the Higher Beings she really thrived when having receptive audience.
“ Oh my relatives and ancestors have been coming here for centuries.” She’d always find an excuse to remind Ms. Emily and Mrs.Kowboski.
So earth-like and humanoid in appearance, she had no real need of disguise save for the ears. The VΘarn-Ne^. ears were somewhat elvin, elongated with generous lobes , and over all very Buddha-like; similar in fact to the ears on many of the statues Emily’s had visited in her Cambodian homeland. And to view her from certain angles it could be said that The VΘarn-Ne^. shared more than a passing resemblance to some of the more androgynous rendered icons. This oddity in appearance was rarely fully observed by the earth dwellers, since it was usually well hidden under thick locks or obscured by fanciful hats.
The scarf that so attracted the attention of space traveler was a ceremonial wrap from Cambodia and not for sale. One appraised of that fact The VΘarn-Ne^.
briefly lectured Ms. Emily on the finer points of commerce in her own special way.
“You, don’t wear the crazy thing, if you don’t sell, you clothing store right?”
Having lost shopping battle number one, she quickly regrouped to march onwards and towards future victories. A couple of young women, barely out of their teens, were awestruck by the new shopper, obvious a Diva and perhaps even famous, they queried each other in giggly whispers, while trying their best to discretely follow her around the store. The VΘarn-Ne^. portrayed the Diva in every sense of the word. She carried herself in certain manner of entitlement. Clothing became her. She could wear ensembles that even Hollywood Starlet’s could not pull off with out a brow beating from Joan Rivers and TMZ. For this shopping extravaganza she chose to go flamboyant. After ditching the drab space cover-alls, she out decked her self in the following. Mustard yellow Musketeer boots complete with a battery of straps and buckles, thick leggings white with broad horizontal black stripes, a velvety purple ruffled A-line dress with embroidered with green and white paisley designs. Over a period of time the paisley patterns would actually reform and change their arrangement. Over the shoulders and around the neck, she was draped in an oversized Hermes scarf , gold and dotted with the signature, horse drawn carriage, miniature displayed in an auburn brown. A cream colored loose fitting cashmere beret sat gingerly a top her recently puffed wavy locks while resting and keeping firmly in place a strategically arraigned strands of ‘peek a boo’ bangs. Even in all of this, The VΘarn-Ne^. looked… just Fabulousss!
The subtle yet ever changing pattern was so gradual and seemingly sewn into to the dress that The VΘarn-Ne^. felt as though she could get away with it but had two surprises. First, Mrs. Kowboski instantly recognized the dress as one of their own, sold to the extraterrestial a few seasons back. Mrs. Kowboski did not take kindly to the altered version, her disapproval made known with just a barely audible “ humph” echoed as she busied her way past The VΘarn-Ne^. to tend to the needs of another customer.
One of the girls, so mesmerize by the ET Diva, had not taken her eye off her since her arrival. The girl now puzzled, acknowledging that the dress seemed now somewhat different than it was at first sighting.. Those ears on The VΘarn-Ne^. even when buried under coils of hair were still very sensitive to sound. She overheard the girl trying to convince her doubting friend of the change.
“Don’t worry, you not nuts. It’s digital imprints honey. That the new thing in
Paris, France, that’s where I come from.”
The girls, so overwhelmed that they were even being spoken to, did no further inquiry. They accepted the statement with out the least bit of understanding as to the what and the how. The prints were actually colonies of the Zeterian Fabric worms. Each paisley print was in fact a colony of worms, unique and magnificently designed , consider a continuing changing snowflake. Too polite to inquire as as to the exact nature of her (what they assumed) fame, the young ladies only asked if they could take a picture with her to which the The VΘarn-Ne^. obliged and a stubborn Mrs.Kobowski facilitated.
“ And now I’m Time Magazine, as well. “ She huffed.
The woman inside the dressing room to whom Mrs Kowboski was originally attending had had an earlier shopping encounter, several years ago, with The VΘarn-Ne^. over a one of a kind Vera Wong evening dress. This issue as to who laid hands on it first was never fully resolved. Both beings, being to proud to concede to the other jointly purchased the dress, only to request that Ms. Emily destroy it in their presence. Both women pretended very hard not to see each other. The pain of being denied ownership of the dress still resonated in both of them.
Once in full shopping mode, space traveler was dynamo. She tried on practically every thing in the store that could be tried on. When sorely desired items failed to fit or hang properly, she would send them airborne, only for Mrs. Kowboski or Emily to scramble for the items like wide receivers in a playoff game. Although she sought out Ms. Emily’s appraisal of every outfit, no matter how many ‘You look so lovely and pretties, ‘pretties, Emily bestowed The VΘarn-Ne^. always seemed to find some flaw or some what if. She required Mrs. Kowboski to measure this and measure that, alter this and take in, or out, that.
During the course of the shopping, she would occasionally take causal breaks and try to convince Emily to either re-locate or in the least set up a franchise on a world closer to her own. The VΘarn-Ne^. dabbled a bit in Real Estate and always carried a few holographic snaps of magnificent other world dwellings; gravity defying homes with self replicating interior rooms, crystalline storefronts, and quaint little hideaways , real hideaways complete with free invisibility cloaking.
“This Milky Way… bad Neighborhood, you come OK?” She persuasively cooed.” I get you good deal”.
Ms. Emily was always awe awestruck by the wonders and magnificence of other world dwellings but Earth was the only planet she had every known and there she planned to stay.
Although our ET enjoyed the company of other Earth shoppers, she preferred
“I shop long time” (Her words not mine.). She also took great efforts to ensure that she was the last sale and last customer in the shop. Now came the raison d'être. The VΘarn-Ne^.loved to haggle, barter and bargain and she’d throw everything into the pot. Alleged, lucky Lottery Tickets (purchased at prime locations in at lest six different galaxies), US Dollars, Cretin Poliable Zarducs (not even legal in spiral galaxies) Euros, Ugibytes, ( ) which are almost totally worthless, Andromedan Dollars, Tylist Credits, Bahts, Tobs, Quetals , Living ( albeit de-clawed) Sussal-Jghk Coins, Yuans and as a last offer she even resigned herself to barter in exchange for the ‘damn thing’. An exhausted Emily usually settled the tab employing only for earth based currencies although she always wondered but was too polite to ask how The VΘarn-Ne^. ever acquire such.
However such a mercantile bashing from The VΘarn-Ne^. was not totally without success as along with discounts on several dresses that were not pegged for discounts; Emily would have to deposit several stacks of Quetals ,below, in the secret register well hidden from plain view.. “Who knows”, she thought, if the Mayan did return to the Solar System from their 13th.Baktum cruise, the cash just might come in handy.
Emily, Mrs Kowbosk as well as The VΘarn-Ne^. and a stray , wayward youth The VΘarn-Ne^. had recruited from his purposeless wanderings; traveled back and forth from the store to the ‘damn thing,’ loading the vehicle to the hilt with the bounty of purchases made be the deep space traveler.
The visitor made her farewells, embracing Ms. Emily while initiating a series mock air kisses, the type favored by so many of Earth’s socialites. Seeing that Mrs. Kowboski would have none of that, she offered up a firm handshake instead. The space traveler admiringly took note of the shanghaied youth, a man-child by Earth standards and considerable handsome once you got passed the scruff and his over the top street thug clothing ensemble. She considered, briefly, the thought of taking him with her. But even in deep space there are certain things that, begrudgingly, may be tolerated but are not totally welcomed and, there was a Mr. Higher Being of sorts back home.
For his services the youth was sent on his way, with a piece of jewelry. a necklace that The VΘarn-Ne^. retrieved from the glove department. A minor trinket she had purchase at a yard sale on Beta Rigel 4. The youth overjoyed with the presented bling gleefully made his way down the street and into the night streets; not knowing that even now the gemstone contained within was already bonding with his brain’s low Beta waves. In time the merger would increase his learning capacities ten-fold.. One day, a few years in the future, he would become a revered and sought after neurosurgeon.
All secured and The VΘarn-Ne^. nestled behind the wheel, the ‘damn thin’ started up. It shot out and unwelcome puff of smoke and emitted an annoying noise made by a clutch out of gear. The silver Cube inspired vehicle made it way down the street and on to the beltway and then, in a flash of light, too fast for either human eyes or humans instruments to , made into the richly dark night sky. Emily caught site of the warp-trail of purple and silver shooting star and knew that had made it out of the solar galaxy safely.
Back inside the shop Emily chuckled to herself and shook her head from side to side.
“What a kooky Universe huh! Mrs. Kowboski?”
Mrs.Kowboski simply shrugged her shoulders and sarcastically retorted. “Where else you’re going to go?”
“I’m ready for bed, how about you Mrs. Kowboski?” Emily inquired.
“ I was ready an hour ago.” Huffed back the dutiful attendant. “ My feet ache and they’re as big as balloons. I’ll have to soak them half the night.” She exaggerated .Mrs. Kowboski peered down at her feet with an inquisitive look. She tapped them on the floor, her method of measuring circulation. Satisfied she could continue, she continued. The two women busied themselves with making ready to close. Together and in perfect harmony they closed and locked the outdated and rusted heavy metal grating that enclosed the outside of the store.
Back inside they picked up items off the floor, put others back upon their hangers. Sweaters were refolded and hats repositioned. Mannequins were once again readied for inspection and the full and complete arsenal of sewing accessories placed in their proper bays. Once they were satisfied they Mrs. Kobowski had sufficiently tidied up the main floor they both their way down the creaky stairs leading to the basement. Aside from a few boxes, overstock that could not fit into storage room upstairs, the basement resembled any ordinary and seldom attended to basement. Naked moldy wooden beams lined the ceiling. A series of battered old bookcases set braced against the cinder bricked walls. Instead of books the cases now displayed various cans of assorted nails, screws and bolts, several buckets of rusty tools, several old cans of paint and, a few water stained and damaged hat boxes. An abandoned broken display case, some discarded furniture, a temperamental water heater, a nest of leaky pipes, and a washer and dryer for emergency clean-ups, filled in the rest of the space. Towards the far wall, adjacent the water heater was a walk in closet to which Mrs. Kobowski walked in. Inside the closet was except for a few hangers. Once inside, Mrs. Kobowski adjusted her apron, she looked down, once more at her perceived aching feet then turned to face an approaching Emily.
“Good night, Mrs Kowboski.”
“спокойной ночи” And with that Mrs Kowboski closed her eyes.
Emily reached inside and under the old world apron worn by Mrs. Kowboski and there she switched her off.
Emily ventured over to the book case. From within one of the moldy old hat boxes she retrieves a strangely designed console of sorts. Once activated it threw forth a force-field that encompassed the entire shop, essentially making the old heavy metal gate of non-effect. She kicked off the low heel ‘Jimmy Choo’s’ and shuffled over to the washer and dryer.
She had worked up a good sweat, all that running around, dealing with The VΘarn-Ne^. First she undressed, neatly folding and placing each shed garment on top of the dryer.
Carefully and with loving care, she removed the suit which had served her oh so well these many years. She deposited the Emily suit into the washer. She checked the machine’s dial to make sure it was still on the gentle wash cycle. She chuckled to herself once more, recollecting The VΘarn-Ne^. other space travelers, high and, Higher beings to whom she catered to.
“Those kooky, kooky, linear beings.” She mused aloud. She added a special detergent to the wash, closed the lid and started the cycle. She then disappeared into and through the façade of an old heavy framed and bolted cellar door, vanishing into her own dimension for a good night’s rest.
Goodnight Ms. Emily
By Phillip Ghee 1/8/2013