By Bob Tennison


fashion-designerAdrian’s Boutique was undoubtedly the most exotic store in the city. The highest fashions with prices to match. It was located in an upscale shopping village away from the main part of town, and its window displays always attracted tourists and residents alike with their cameras, and TV photographers always showed up when the local paper announced the opening of a new display.

Ramon Girardin, the window display artist, was definitely the highest salary earner for miles around, as Adrian had no intention of letting him leave for a higher paycheck. His talent was unsurpassed. It was obvious Ramon enjoyed his work and certainly made the most of his unique talent.

He had just received a shipment of newly designed mannequins which were designed to look more like living creatures than the run of the mill display models. There were two packing crates of females and two of males, as the theme of the upcoming display was, “A Christmas Wedding” set to open at 10:00 AM Christmas Eve morning.

Ramon began opening the crates of males and was pleased by the looks of the “groom” that was so handsome and lifelike Ramon felt like he had just freed a human being from being confined in a crate. He was equally pleased with the females as they were unpacked from what looked like fine sawdust but with a unique odor that almost made him dizzy.

Standing up the “bride to be” he patted her on the butt and from out of nowhere came this strange voice saying, “Watch it, Buster.” He whirled around expecting to see somebody from the store in the window with him, but there was nobody there. He shook his head and continued working through most of the night.

Then that strange voice again, “We are not really mannequins. I cannot marry that man, as he is Jewish Orthodox and I am a Roman Catholic. They don’t believe in Christmas, and I want my children to love and enjoy Christmas knowing all it stands for.”

Feeling an even more severe dizzy spell, Ramon left the window for his office where he had two cups of very strong black coffee, still wondering why he kept hearing this strange voice and why he was having these weird dizzy spells.

It was almost “show time,” so he checked his latest creation again, was satisfied it was as spectacular as it had been designed to be and slowly raised the blinds. He heard the larger than usual crowd with cameras at the ready, the TV photographer in front and was about to close the door behind him when he heard that strange voice say, “I told you we are not mannequins.” He started to return to the window but, hearing the applause and a few “Bravos”, decided to go on out front until later.

He was about to shake hands with a TV photographer friend when he fell to the sidewalk. One of the nearby viewers called for an ambulance that made it in record time, but he was pronounced dead by one of the attendants. Published in the morning papers and on all the TV news programs was the fact that he had died from toxic poisoning. That mystery was finally solved on discovering that the packing material used in one of the crates was the cause of his death.

Adrian had visions from time to time of Ramon arriving at the Pearly Gates asking Saint Peter if he could re-design the Angel’s wings. Evidently his creative ability had lived on. After a short period of time Adrian decided he was too uncomfortable in his location, decided to fly to Los Angeles where he was fortunate enough to find a vacancy on Rodeo Drive, returned home to begin the dismal process of packing and moving. He had the crates cleaned and fumigated before letting the packers use them.

Returning to Los Angeles to await the movers, he was totally stunned when one of them ran into his office and told him that the mannequin crates had been opened from the inside and were empty. That mystery has yet to be solved.

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