Gabrielle sighs, shaking her head, making the fishnet veil of shells sway over her fedora.
Gabrielle: This is maddening. I still can’t find my sense of humor. Where could I have put it?
Christopher walks toward the front window of the Navel. One of Damian’s skulls, handcrafted out of clay, sits and grins at people passing by on the other side of the glass. Some of them stop, start, and stare. More than a few roll their eyes. They’ve seen weirder in the window of the Navel. One bold passerby grins back at the skull and waves. Or is she waving at Christopher?
Unsure, Christopher waves back. He walks toward the window. There’s a rack of robes nearby, black, dark blue, white, and green robes which can easily cover a person’s clothes. Every single robe has smiley faces all over them.
Christopher: Maybe it’s here? (He gestures to the rack.)
Gabrielle looks up, brightens at the sight of the robes.
Gabrielle: Ah, the Navel’s special collection of robes! Start something with a smile. Or a lot of smiles.
Christopher: Just what sort of something did you have in mind? (Feeling a little annoyed, he glances at the robes, the unrepentent little circles grinning from them. It’s the sort of joke which would have made Damian roll his eyes at the very least.)
Gabrielle: (unruffled) Whatever the customer has in mind. Whatever they think the robes can be used for, even if it’s just a joke. It’s an old joke. (Her smile fades a bit.) Not as funny I used to think it was. Maybe my sense of humor used to be there, but I think it’s disappeared over time. Just what happened to it?
Christopher gazes at Gabrielle for a long moment, at her fedora with the veil covered with shells and fishnet. Yes, something appears to be missing from her.
Christopher: Maybe you’re wearing the wrong hat?
Gabrielle: (brightening again) By the Directions, I believe you’re right! (She reaches up to touch her fedora.) I must have left my sense of humor in the other one!
Gabrielle walks over the golden circle right before the counter. There’s a silver circle right above her head.
She raises her arms. A faint glow of dancing dust motes swirls around her, covering her fedora. Her veil disappeared. Her entire body blurs, becoming part of the shimmering dust.
For a moment Christopher stares at the cloud of dust until it disappears, leaving a shining figure in a golden tuxedo with a golden top hat.
Gabrielle strikes a pose. The chicken on top of her hat seems to cluck or chuckle. Yes, there is a chicken emerging the brim of the hat, one claw raised above the brim, her beak open.
Gabrielle: Ah, I feel so much better!
She chuckles, tapping her cain against the floor. It’s a hen-headed cane.
Gabrielle: Nothing like a change of clothes to refresh you! Especially a change of hat. Looks like my sense of humor was here all along.
Christopher: I thought you preferred loose, flowing clothing.
Gabrielle: I do, but every one in a while, even I need a change. (She taps her cane against the floor, taps the ground with her feet.) And now I’m ready for customers! Welcome to the Navel, center of all things bizarre!
She tap-dances her way across the floor into a row of shelves, laughing.
Christopher watches her go with a bemused smile.
Christopher: I suppose it will be as long as you’re here.