The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Princess of the Plinth (Part 3)

.....continued from yesterday:


She reported to the project welcome center and under the professional direction of the representatives of the organization she was meticulously guided through the process. She was led to a change room where she donned her special fine looking dress and carefully adjusted the tiara onto her head. Looking at herself in the mirror, she held her head up and pronounced with amusement, “There! I shall be the Queen of the Plinth.” She paused with uncertainty and bit her lip. “No perhaps that would be far too pretentious. After all we have a Queen. No, I shall be the Princess of the Plinth!” She was pleased with the alliteration of the title and decided that this would be far more artsy. Now she was ready for her hour of glory or gaucherie.


As one of the staff members attached a wireless microphone to her dress, he explained what Maxine could expect and assured her that she would be safe and that if she fell off that she would fall into the net that had been mounted around the upper portion and that so far no one had fallen off or had gotten hurt. Maxine felt a little more relaxed but nevertheless apprehensive about her appearance before not only the crowds assembled in the Square, but also the thousands, perhaps millions, watching on the internet. Maxine mounted the green metal platform on the hydraulic arm of the bright yellow JCB tractor that proceeded to make its way across the square. Then she was filled with exhilaration as the lift arm raised the platform high above the square and over the top of the plinth, settling gently onto the edge of the plinth. She was breathless. The gate of the platform was opened. Like the changing of the guard, the present occupant of the plinth entered the platform and Maxine stepped onto the Plinth. The two exchanged cordial greetings. The exiting plinther, a slightly plump lady with frizzy hair and a cheerful round face, encouraged her with a “have fun!” as the platform drew away.

Now Maxine was on her own. The day was splendid, with lovely clouds wafting overhead and a pleasant breeze caressing her. The view far exceeded any expectations that she had before she mounted the Plinth. Her eyes widened with wonderment as she surveyed the scene around her. The beautiful buildings that had stood there for two hundred years or more looked like they did in the pictures she had seen. There was the National Gallery (oh, if only she had time to explore the art housed there), the St Martin-in-the-Fields church, and the Canada House. There were the streets with the famous double-decker busses and never ending traffic. There were fountains and statues. For a while Maxine slowly looked about her taking in the entire scene.


But then she gradually became aware of something almost equally amazing. There were many people below her and many of them were looking directly at her. She saw a man waving at her. She gave a slight wave back. Periodically as she looked about she saw others wave, and then more. Above the sounds of the traffic and splashing fountains she heard voices of some of the people below. Some called greetings to her while others were asking questions. She timidly acknowledged some of them with waves and smiles. She tried speaking to some of them but was not sure that they could hear her. But mostly she just looked about her perch above the heads of the people below so that she could remember as much as could later. She would never be in this place again.

Maxine remembered that people were also watching on the internet. She tried not to think about all the viewers that she did not know, but she did want to acknowledge those who had helped get her here. She took out the list of her family, friends, and benefactors. She had made a list so she wouldn’t forget anybody. In a steady low voice she read the names of all of those who had helped her and given support. Directing her speech toward the camera nearest her, she hoped that this camera was the one that was being fed to the live stream while she spoke. When she had finished, she paused for a moment, then gave a slight shrug and said, “And that’s all for now.”

And very soon it was. She heard the sound of the bright yellow JCB cherry picker coming to get her and drop off the next plinther. When she was brought to the plinth the JCB was a lift—it lifted her up to her hour of recognition. Now it was a cherry picker and Maxine understood why the tractor might be referred to by either name. At first it had lifted her to new heights, but now it was a cherry picker plucking her off of her place on the plinth to take her back to her life.

It was over. She had a train to catch and she caught it. She wondered if she had looked foolish while she was on the plinth. What would people say? Would they laugh at her or make fun? It was over now and now it did not matter. She went back to her flat in Liverpool and back to her regular life. Everyone that had seen her on the plinth told her that she had looked beautiful and had done a wonderful job and they all asked many questions and wanted to hear everything about her experience.

When she was with Beryl, her friend told her, “Oh Maxine, you were absolutely beautiful! You looked just like a princess with the crown and all.”

Maxine laughed, “That’s so funny. That’s what I called myself on that day. The Princess of the Plinth I was.”

“Well you were wonderful. It was one of the best things ever!”

Maxine, looking somewhat embarrassed, replied, “It wasn’t all that. But thank you”

As the weeks progressed, the future seemed to be taking shape for Maxine. The Liverpool Daily Post did a story about Maxine and on the front page there was a picture of her on the plinth. After being invited to a reception at a local gallery, she met others in the arts community and was able to gain an outlet for showing some of her works. She received an offer for a part-time position at the gallery. She also received a stipend to enroll in the arts college. Her dreams were finally becoming realities.

....to be continued tomorrow.....

2 comments:

  1. Great story arlee, can't wait for the next installment!

    Merry Christmas arlee and a Blogging Great 2010!

    Cordially (If Not Entirely Sober!)
    MsBurb
    B3 & TLB2

    ReplyDelete
  2. Getting quite interesting.

    Merry Christmas and hope you're having a wonderful Christmas Eve.

    Helen
    Straight From Hel

    ReplyDelete

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