She couldn’t stand to see Bernice dirty, or rusty, so Bernice was covered with a good tarp and she was put in the corner of the garage. The kids occasionally took off the tarp and dusted and cleaned Bernice because their mom offered them money. Years later it was her grandchildren that looked after Old Bernice. And then, there were no longer kids and no longer a lady of the house.
Bernice sat, covered in the corner while suits came to assess everything. They hadn’t gotten to Bernice, yet. A cell phone played Ravel’s Bolero and suddenly, without a parade, or spotlights, Bernice the Maytag washer, was self-aware. Something calling itself a Higher Power, imprinted an image of Charleton Heston on Bernice’s consciousness and helped her to understand that she was a sentient being now, and the Higher Power really was Charleton Heston. She asked the Higher Power, what was next for her and he told her not to fear, or falter, for she was sentient and was able to overcome minor setbacks. Naturally, he reminded Bernice that she had a right to bear arms….
After the Higher Power left, along with his mental images of Charleton Heston, Bernice felt so alone. There wasn’t anyone left who she could engage in a conversation. Then she wondered if she could speak. If she could, where was her mouth? She was thinking that she should just try to speak when she was approached by a man, one of the assessors. He looked her over. She looked pretty good.
“Are you sentient? Can you talk?”
He stood still, waiting for Bernice to answer. She was just so surprised that the man addressed her, actually expecting an answer. Again, he asked her to say something…
It took a few tries but, finally she exclaimed, “My name is Bernice and I am a sentient, Maytag washer.”
It was a monumental moment for Bernice, yet, all she could think about was how proud the Maytag Man would be to hear Bernice speak–if she had any idea who that was. The assessor interrupted her thoughts and introduced himself as Joe Stalin of New Jersey–a political refugee from Latvia. He persuaded Bernice to stay at his house with him and his two sons, Leon Trotsky, and Fred Nietzsche. Bernice didn’t have any other options, so she accepted Joe’s offer. Almost immediately, Bernice was filled with apprehension.
This was Bernice’s first decision. She reasoned that she could be having misgivings as part of her developing awareness. All at once she was eager to leave, yet sad to leave her home of which she had no memory. Joe and Fred Nietzsche lifted Bernice into the back of Joe’s truck. She took a moment from gawking at the scenery to reflect on her small life and wondered–seriously wondered why SHE was given sentience….
Flash Fiction Challenge #28 @ Thain in Vain
Prompt: Your protagonist is an inanimate object granted sentience by a higher power.
Word Count: 500
Photo: Credit Unknown
Many thanks to Ms Thain for hosting Flash Fiction Challenge at Thain in Vain, Canada