The Hat – Flash Fiction

The Hat

 The Hat

It was Sunday when Minnie found the hat, just sitting there amongst the daisies and dandelions as though it was part of the parkland scenery. She stared at it, unsure whether she should move it at all, but the hat piqued her interest so she stooped to retrieve it.

On the grass beneath not a single flower grew, which Minnie thought to be rather odd – although it gave a modicum of credence to the idea that the hat was part of the park. The flowers must have been there for a few weeks, at least. But being a sensible girl of sixteen, Minnie dismissed the thought.

Yet still, she wondered… It was a pretty sunhat, and must have drawn the attention of more than a few ladies as they passed by, twirling their fancy parasols. She placed it firmly on her head, loving the feel of its comforting closeness.

I could do anything with this hat on, she told herself. I am invincible. I could swim to the bottom of the sea, or fly down from one of those tall hotel buildings and soar along the Promenade over all of those day-trippers. That would give them something to talk about.

‘What a good idea. Why don’t you try it out?’ a voice inside her head suggested.

Minnie took the lift up to the rooftop restaurant of The Savoy, the tallest hotel in the seaside town, ordered a glass of freshly made lemonade and seated herself on the balcony. The view of the Promenade was splendid and she thought about what she would do once she’d finished her drink.

‘Your hat looks perfectly lovely,’ an elderly lady remarked coming to stand beside Minnie’s table, her parasol in hand. ‘The odd thing is,’ she continued, adjusting her fine silk gown before sitting down, quite uninvited, ‘it looks identical to one a young woman was wearing in here just a few days ago.’

Minnie shrugged. ‘I know nothing about that. I found this one in the park and decided to try it on. Then I came up here for a nice cold drink.’ She paused, absently gazing down at the embroidered tablecloth and wishing this interfering busybody would go away so she could get on with her plans.

But the lady simply smiled and kept up her annoying prattle. ‘The reason I mention this, my dear, is because that particular young lady seemed intent upon doing a very foolish thing. If I hadn’t reached the balcony in time, she would have jumped right off. She really thought she could fly – and I don’t need to tell you how that would have ended.’

Minnie stared at this lady, who was still shaking her head and tutting at such a terrible thought. She looked very sweet, though rather la-di-da to an ordinary working girl from Blackpool. Yet Minnie had the feeling that this old lady could see right into her head. She glanced at the balcony wall. ‘Yes, that would have been a very nasty way to die,’ she said, removing the hat from her head and laying it on the tabletop. ‘I wonder what possessed the girl to do such a thing?’

The old lady flashed that infuriatingly honeyed smile again. ‘I think you know the answer to that as well as I do, my dear. And between you and me, I shall have strong words with my granddaughter for leaving the hat lying around. Cassandra really must test her magic elsewhere in future.’ She heaved a deep sigh, a small frown creasing her already wrinkled brow. ‘But you know what some witches are like… too fond of making mischief and practising their powers on people. She’s not a bad witch, just a little immature, and she must remember to try out her spells on her mice before inflicting them on people. I spent years perfecting my own but, like most young people, Cassandra wants everything done today.

‘I’ll take the hat back to her now, shall I?’ she asked, proffering a white-gloved hand.

Having no answers to any of this, Minnie handed the lady the lovely sunhat and watched as she turned to walk away and disappear into thin air.

Minnie strolled casually over to the balcony wall, admiring the view in the warm, May sunshine and smiling at the thought that the old fusspot had no idea of the hat’s true powers. Having it perched on her head for a mere few moments had been enough to make Minnie’s confidence soar.

‘Go on then,’ the voice in her head urged. ‘You haven’t come all the way up here for nothing.’

‘No, I haven’t,’ Minnie replied, heaving herself up and teetering on the wall’s upper edge. ‘It’s a good day for flying.’

*****

Picture prompt of the hat is courtesy of Pixabay

This post was partly inspired by the image above, but also from my many visits to Blackpool over the years. I can’t say Blackpool is my favourite seaside resort in the UK. Having been ‘born and bred’ in Southport, a little further south on the Lancashire coast than Blackpool, naturally I’m somewhat biased. But when all’s said and done, Blackpool does have that famous tower… This nice, colourful image is also from Pixabay:

blackpool-164267_1280

I wrote a blog post about Blackpool four years ago here but our visit at that time was on a grey day in late February. Needless to say, the seaside town was keeping itself well under wraps at the time.

13 thoughts on “The Hat – Flash Fiction

    1. Thank you, Peter. I’ve always thought of Bispham an an extension of Blackpool, and as you say, it costs little enough on the tram to make staying there worthwhile. Like so many of our once thriving seaside towns, Blackpool is in a sorry state nowadays. I hope money is found from somewhere to deal with the dilapidated buildings and the level of petty crime going on there now. We used to love going to see the Illuminations when we were young, and the funfair always seemed much more exciting than ours in Southport (which has had a lot of improvements made in recent years). I’m so glad you liked my story. 😀

    1. Hello, Ineke. Thank you for your kind words about my story. I’m still writing the odd piece of flash, but most are just from my own prompts. I need to find some good challenges to do, like the ones we did a few years ago. Most of them seem to have disappeared. Are you still writing flash fiction? I know you used to enjoy it, too. I’ll pop over to your blog soon so I’ll no doubt be able to answer that question then. ❤

      1. Yes I enjoyed writing using a photo. I was tempted to write something about your photo too. I’m not writing flash at this stage. While working I just didn’t have the time and the feeling to do it. I did a lot of writing on my Memoirs. I’m doing it in Afrikaans because it’s easier to express myself in Afrikaans. I’m still writing for my group in the library. Don’t know if we will go on anymore because our leader is now 95 and her body is very fragile.

  1. The UK is divided up into largish areas called counties for administrative purposes, Arv, each with its county town (main town for local government etc).The historical name for county was shire, so most of the counties end with ‘shire’ – like Lancashire, Yorkshire, Berrkshire, Staffordshire. There are many towns and villages within each shire/county, and at least one city – often several.
    Blackpool is just one of a few seaside towns in Lancashire – a county largely known for its coal mines and cotton mills in the past. As Lancashire is a county with a coastline (on the Irish Sea), seaside towns grew up during the Victorian era, primarily for workers from industrial towns inland to be able to reach for days out. Today many UK seaside towns have greatly declined, mostly because so many British people choose to holiday abroad – mostly with the aim of enjoying some hot sunshine.

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