View Full Version : The Spirit Salon (original short story)

25th September 2006, 12:42 PM
This is a story in the works that I'm hoping to submit to a scholarship program, so any critiques would be very, very welcome. Thanks for reading ^_^

There was a slight chattering of chimes as the door to the Rose Acacia Spirit Salon opened. A slight girl with dark blond hair and a nametag labeled ‘Millette’ looked up from her place behind the cherry wood counter.
“Ah, Ms. Bennett,” she smiled warmly at the woman in the entryway. “Two-thirty appointment for a complete makeover. Ten minutes early.”
“Of course,” Ms. Bennett snapped. “As if I’d be late with the difficulty in getting an appointment in the first place.”
Millette still smiled, unfazed by the woman’s rudeness. They always started off rude.
“Camellia will be your espritician today. She’s finishing up with a client right now, if you’d like to relax a bit first. Perhaps a cup of tea?”
“No. Why isn’t she finished yet? It’s only ten minutes before she’s supposed to start on me.”
“She will finish with plenty of time, Ms. Bennett. Please, do sit down,” she came around the counter to gesture to a small sitting room, filled with overstuffed rose velvet chairs.
Ms. Bennett shot her a nasty glance, but sat.
“I’m sure it will be just a minute. Would you like to look over a list of our products?”
“No,” Ms. Bennett said shortly. “I’ve been here before, I always get the Japan Rose treatment.”
“All right,” Millette went back to her desk and marked the appointment book.
Mary Bennett, age 41, divorced, no children, real estate lawyer, down for one Japan Rose treatment. Five prior appointments. Not to be scheduled with Alyssa. Taps her foot very loudly when kept waiting- recommend Patience very strongly.

One minute, two minutes passed before two women came out of a white door left of the desk.
“Now remember,” the redhaired one told the other, “It must be reapplied at least six times a day. Check often- you’ll know when you need to reapply. You should be very pleased with the results in just a few weeks. Make sure to come back and see us.”
“I will,” the lady said, giving the redhead a hug. “I don’t know how to thank you enough…”
“No thanks needed. Millette will take care of you from here. Ms. Bennett?”
“I am,” Mary Bennett stood.
“Right this way, please,” Camellia held the door open.

The room was comfortably bright, and like the foyer and sitting room, decorated in rose and white. Vases of flowers peeked out of alcoves, stood proudly on tables, and softened corners. Some sort of music was playing- a flute or something. Mary Bennett had never taken the time to cultivate an ear for music. Camellia gestured towards an elevated seat in white leather.
“If you would take a seat, please.”
Mary Bennett sat.
“Now, before I get started, what are you looking for today?”
“I have a date tonight with a very successful man. I want to make sure it goes very well.”
“Oh?” Camellia began to gather pots and brushes. “What sort of successful?”
“He’s an oil tycoon of some sort. Anyway, he’s worth several million, and I don’t want this one to slip away like the last one did.”
“Well, we’re going to make sure that he doesn’t,” Camellia smiled and made sure her red mane was secure. “You’re down for a Japan Rose, correct?”
“Just relax, Ms. Bennett. First we’re going to start with a cleanser- nothing like a clean slate to work with.”
A pad was moistened from a bottle marked ‘Innocence’ and something that smelled vaguely like sunshine was spread over Mary Bennett’s face. She hated when they did this- it tickled, and she felt so sickeningly young after they did it.
“There now. My, it has been awhile since your last appointment…” the pad was black with built-up residue.
“I haven’t been in since my divorce. And your products never seem to work as well outside the salon.”
“When you have more time some evening, I’ll give you a lesson on how to apply them properly. Close your eyes now.”
Something refreshing cool and smooth went over Mary Bennett’s face. The sunshiney smell of the cleanser was joined by a delicate lilac.
“After the cleanser, we apply a layer of Gentleness. This fills up those little wrinkles- it really plumps up the spirit. There now… years younger. He’ll be sure to notice that,” Camellia pursed her lips critically. “Let’s add just a touch of Demure, around the eyes. It’s a new product, and so increasingly rare. Hardly anyone’s wearing it anymore.”
“Perfect, add that.”
A hint of violet followed.
“All right, time for the foundation. This is our most popular shade- Friendliness.”
Dots of sunflower traced around her face, then were blended in with a soft brush.
“It’s just the perfect foundation, truly. Close your eyes again.”
A wide soft brush tickled across Mary Bennett’s face. The smell was like strong coffee mixed with juniper and made her nose wrinkle. It faded as quickly as the flower scents had.
“What was that? It smelled horrible.”
“Self-Respect and Self-Esteem. Also rare, and highly sought after. Just to hold everything else in place. Now smile.”
Mary Bennett’s cheeks lifted, as another soft brush played over her cheeks, leaving a slightly ozone scent.
“Just a dab of Honesty. It makes the soul just pop. Would you like a bit of Loyalty too?”
“Do you think he’ll notice?”
“Most men do,” the brush passed the cheeks again, this time smelling of gunpowder.
“Ugh… that one’s terrible. Put it on my do not use list.”
Camellia sighed. “If you’d like. Oh dear, I didn’t notice this…”
“Didn’t notice what?”
“Just a blemish, dear. I’ll put a little concealer on it. This smells bad too…” A tube labeled ‘Integrity’ was quickly produced, and the blemish covered over. This one smelled like fresh blood.
“Oh! That’s horrible! Why did you put that on me?”
“I’m sorry, but it looks so much prettier now. There- the bulk is done. Now around your eyes, I’m going to use two virtues. I think Patience and Happiness would suit very well.”
“I don’t care, as long as they don’t smell as bad as the last three.”
“Not in the least,” a tiny sponge dabbed on something that smelled like holly, followed by a strong scent of wine. “I’m going to outline these in Foresight. It’s so flattering…”
A flash of something carroty.
“Now your lips… I’m going to outline them with Wit.”
Jasmine filled the air for a scattering of seconds.
“And a nice coat of Compassion- blot.”
Warm bread scent and Mary Bennett obeyed.
“And a gloss of Humor…” something slick brushed Mary Bennett’s lips and she smelled bananas.
Camellia sat back and surveyed her work. “How about a spritz of ‘Nurturing’, dear?”
“No! I wore that one around my ex-husband for our first year, and he became so demanding. Always trying to burden me with his problems,” she rolled her eyes. “And not Understanding either. Or Acceptance. I wore all of those around my ex-husband, and he got too wrapped up in it. He was so needy.”
“Well… also popular are ‘Tact’, ‘Optimism’, and ‘Enthusiasm’.”
“I’ll take the ‘Tact’. The others sound too childish.”
A vanilla scent clung to her, not disappearing as quickly as the other fragrances.
“Now, we’ll let that set for a few minutes… While we are, would you like to buy any of our fine products? I would like to recommend our Deep Soul Cleanser. In just a few weeks, your soul will be kinder, and more virtuous. It’s not expensive either…”
“What’s the catch?”
“No catch… it’s a little labor-intensive though. It needs to be reapplied every time you feel it’s wearing thin.”
“How often?”
“For you, dear? About ten times a day.”
“Ten times! Forget about it! I can come in and get the top layer done any time, so why would I reapply something ten times a day for weeks?”
“All right, just a suggestion… I’ll apply the finisher now.”
There was no scent in the last spray, but Mary Bennett felt more charitable. That was the best part of a soul-makeover. You felt so relaxed at the end. And if the veneer peeled away, you could always pile some more on. And men always noticed.
“Thank you, Camellia. I’ll schedule my next appointment up front. How long should this one last?”
“About three weeks.”
“All right… thank you so much,” in a fit of good humor, Mary Bennett left a generous tip for Camellia. She really was an amazing espritician.

Ten minutes later, Mary Bennett was on her way to her date with her oil tycoon.
Millette watched her leave and shook her head.
“She turned it down again?”
“She always does. You can’t improve a soul who doesn’t want it.”
“Don’t you ever feel like you’re cheating them, Camellia?”
The older lady shook her head.
“They find out sooner or later. If we get someone to think, then it’s worth it. Who’s next?”
“A Rebecca Ackermann. 23, never married, trust fund…”

Mew Trainer Rose
25th September 2006, 05:09 PM
That's very a interesting concept, I haven't seen anything like it before. It's an intriguing idea, having a salon to beautify the spirit with various virtues. Makes me wonder what I would want if I were to go to such a place. I like the title, too; it's simple but unusual enough that it caught my eye and made me curious as to what the story was about.

I like your writing style, it's very descriptive without being overly so. Nice use of all the senses, too, that adds a nice sort of depth to the story. Even though it's a short story, I got a pretty good sense of Ms. Bennett's personality. (She could really use that Deep Soul Cleanser. No wonder she'd need to apply it so much.)

...I love reading, but I'm horrible at commenting on stories. ^_^; I can't think of anything else to say, but I really liked your story, and I hope you earn the scholarship.

25th September 2006, 05:47 PM
Thumbs up Jennie-chan ^-^ Its very original and you make the story self contained, everything we need to know is in there and there is no need for more ^-^ I wish they had such a thing too, bad experiences make the soul wear thin lol I cant think of any critiques, its an awesome style, and it really makes people think ^-~
I hope you win the scholarship!