Manny and Jo, stood poised, at attention as two of the fittest manikins styled the latest in springtime athletic wear for women in a Treyvor’s Department Store show window on Fifth Avenue in New York City, two blocks west of The Wilderness. Across the street was Hatties Bagels one of the few coffee and bagel stores open at 6AM on a Saturday. It was one of the few times the City slept, with the exception of the early exercisers, the runners of course. And, it was no surprise that runners congregated at Hatties, in eyeshot of the veteran stick figures of sport fashions, sipping coffee and sharing bagels, many not even realizing they stood in the playground of a fitness fashion makeover.
Manny fashioned a new arrival of 4 way stretch black capris on her svelte 6’2″ frame, sprinkled with blotches of dusty rose and turquoise blue, and wore a rose colored top, loose enough for an apres workout, depending on ones body type. She glanced side-wise at Jo, keeping one eye keen for street movement. “I see they got you in a new outfit too. Aren’t you a bit chilly in that?”
“Maybe a little. Not sure about the fabric but my backside feels dreamy.”
Jo, a brunette and shorter at 5’10”, sported a fashionable bright yellow head wrap with a reflector band not noticeable during the day, shades, a hunter green vest and matching hunter green leggings with see through vents, and black sneakers, maybe Converse, the latest edition of course.
“I’ll bet it does. You’ve got vents all the way up to your bum,”
“No kidding?” Jo said, as she tried to twist, unsuccessfully for a better look.
Jo’s arms, bulky, seemed more muscular than yesterday, and her sneakers, with thick black soles, almost military-grade, were a new look for runners. “Think you can run in that?”
“I haven’t tried, yet. It does have a macho appeal though, don’t you think?”
“That it does.” Since when did Jo have biceps? “You feelin’ OK, Jo?”
“Never better. Why?”
“You ever seen our Followers run into battle with fishnet tights?”
“Can’t say that I have. Gonna’ start a new trend, I suppose.”
Jo seemed content enough, and there was no need to pinprick contentment, but she still had to ask. “There’s something strong about that color. What it is?”
“Design, calls it Hunter green.”
She didn’t know at all what Design could have been thinking. “Looks like camouflage for The Wilderness?”
“Design knows best, ” Jo said with an unusual confidence.
Jo stood out like a fashion misfit — suitable attire for hunting duck with the riflemen in The Wilderness. None of this was Jo’s fault; Design had a habit of playing with their heads, and other body parts for that matter –to keep them from getting too many Followers lest it go to their heads. If she could only get a closer look at Jo she could be sure. Four feet was a long stretch and she didn’t dare bend at the waist. She would have to wait until after The Recharge.
It was Jo’s turn to offer an opinion, and Manny felt a steely gaze through partially tinted polarized Ray Ban Aviators leveled in her direction. “I see they got you in pink, ” Jo said, after a long silence.
“Right.” Jo let out a throaty laugh, and Manny didn’t think naming Dusty Rose was funny at all, considering Jo’s tinted view in those Aviators, but before she could debate the finer nuances of rose ranging from desert dust to flaming flamingo, Jo insisted with that commando voice, “Pink.”
“Dusty…” Manny said, accentuating the consonants before releasing ” Rose, ” with a pucker. “It’s all the rage, and wait til you see the looks I get.”
“Yesterday’s news, ” Jo said, her GI tone competitive, snappy. “We’ll see who gets the attention, but you have to admit, hunter green fishnet has a certain appeal — ”
A runner jogged by, stopped, turned back and stared into the window. Manny and Jo froze, silent, smiling their glossed lips, pursed and hard.
The runner, a woman in her 30’s maybe younger, wearing her shiny brown hair in a ponytail leaned in, wiped her teeth, checking her makeup. She wore a sweatshirt two sizes too large, likely a hand-me-down from a much larger sibling, or something she found it in a dumpster on the upper East side. She bent down to retie her laces, double-knotting them and checking to make sure they wouldn’t come undone. She got up, and without a nod, ran north toward the Wilderness.
Manny let out a long sigh. “Did you see that? She didn’t even look.”
“Not everyone looks, ” Jo said.
“But — that sweatshirt. Did you see what she was wearing? Classic 70’s. How does she run in that?”
“Maybe she — prefers comfort?”
“You’ve got a point. Though no clue about about fashion.”
“Not a clue.”
“Not a care in the world.”
“She sure could run.”
“She sure could. Like the wind.”
More silence as Manny and Jo kept their eyes on potential shoppers. The Followers— a sizeable crowd formed at Hatties.
“You hear about Claire?” Manny asked.
“Haven’t seen her in months. Did she get re-assigned?”
“Got a view on 57th Street. Workin’ Accessories. I hear Design dolled her up.”
“Oh dear, not Accessories.”
“Afraid so. Lathered her lips in glossy green.”
“Green?” Jo thought about it for a moment then said, “like hunter green?”
Jo’s taken to anything green. “Yes, and she’s wearing gold leotards with sequins.”
“I’ll bet Claire looks real fine …” Jo said, again with that man voice.
Fiction, Manny and Jo, Manikins, New York City
Author: Jane Wadsworth. All rights reserved, 2017.
May be copied or duplicated with author’s permission.