By Rosemary

The original version of this story was copyrighted in 2005.

Rusty was enjoying the beginning of the summer months
during the early 1970s, as she was leisurely looking through
a local department store catalog.

She relished having her own separate copy, as she would cut      
out the bright pictures, which were later used for her arts-and-crafts

Suddenly, there it was!  A little girl ventriloquist dummy,
made in Ireland.

Its cheerful smile glistened from the glossy vibrant pages.

The puppet slightly resembled Rusty.

Similar to Rusty, it was slightly plump, with curly carrot-red
ringlets and big green eyes. The doll’s complexion was     
fair, with a pinkish undertone.

This was the first time Rusty discovered a doll which shared
any type of a physical similarity to her.

The doll's face was complimented by a wide pug nose embossed   
with freckles. Its overall expression appeared immature because     
of a spirited-looking grin.

The dummy had floppy soft plastic arms, and legs, connected to     
the cloth stuffed body.

Rusty immediately knew she wanted to have this enchanting
make-believe creature in her life.                                                                                                             

Without delay, Rusty tore the page out of the thick book and
started to scurry upstairs in the direction of her father's den.

Once Rusty arrived, she held up the picture from the catalog.

“Dad, doesn't this doll sort of look just like me?” she asked   

She then added, “It only costs fourteen dollars!”

“Well, Rusty, it is cute, but you just received gifts from
this past Christmas, as well as your birthday. I do not
consider fourteen dollars to be inexpensive. Sorry honey,
I am going to have to say no,” her father replied gently,
but firmly.

“But Dad, she is so special!” Rusty bellowed.

“Rusty, my answer is still no. You have plenty of other toys  
to play with, which are still relatively new. If you want this
doll so badly, you will have to save up the cost for it from
your weekly allowance.”

He then suggested, “You could also wait until next year  
for the holidays to come around again.”

As her father pointed these ideas out, he remained unwavering  
in his decision, which was clearly non-negotiable.

Rusty was shocked and disappointed. She knew her father was  
a prosperous business owner, who could have easily afforded
to buy this item for her. She could not understand why he was
behaving so unfairly.

Rusty also worried that by the time she amassed the  
amount needed, this item may not be in-stock any longer.

As the weeks passed, Rusty tried her best to accumulate the
necessary funds from her weekly stipend.  She knew it would take  
a longer duration of time, to accomplish this feat.

Then one day, a few weeks later, Rusty heard a knock at the  
door of her bedroom.

“May I come in Rusty?” her father asked.

“Sure Dad,” she replied.

“Rusty, I am here to offer you a business proposal,” he  

“What kind of business proposal?” she inquired with a
childlike curiosity.

“Well, my assistants are very busy carrying out other
types of important job duties for the office. There are a lot of  
envelopes, which need to be stuffed for an upcoming marketing
campaign for my company. I was wondering, since you are currently  
on vacation from school, if you would like to work for me?," he asked.

Her father then added, “You would really be providing a great
service for everyone at the office.”

Rusty immediately began to think of her imaginary friend
from the catalog.

“Can I buy anything I want with the money I make?”
she inquired craftily.

“Rusty, why don't you spend some of the wages you earn
on a personal gift for yourself and put the rest of it
into the bank account your mother and I, setup for you,”  
her father recommended.

Rusty thought about this proposition for a few minutes, and
immediately decided to embrace his offer.

“Okay, Dad, we have a deal,” she merrily accepted.

Her father then cautioned, “Before you agree to my offer, you
need to be aware this would mean that you would really have
to work. This would not be playtime. I am going to need your  
cooperation. I am only asking that you try to do your best,”  
he emphasized.

“You can count on me!” Rusty responded enthusiastically.

On the first day of her newly acquired position, Rusty jolted out  
of bed. She quickly took her bath and got dressed promptly.
She did not want to be late for this current venture.

She hurried into the kitchen where her mother was preparing   
her breakfast.

“Rusty, I prepared a healthy lunch for you,” her mother lovingly

“Thanks Mom,” Rusty replied, as she began to consume her early  
morning meal.  When she finished her breakfast, she gulped down  
her orange juice, grabbed her bagged lunch, and swiftly walked
towards the driveway.

Her dad was already sitting in his car awaiting her presence.

“Now Rusty, please be respectful to the people who are employed
at my company. I do not want you to take advantage of the fact that  
you are my daughter,” her father conveyed privately, on their way
to the office.

“Don't worry Dad; I will be on my best behavior,” Rusty pledged.

When they arrived at the office, Rusty was shown her cozy little  
workspace, which was adjacent to her father’s office. She  
immediately recognized the little room, which connected
to his office. This area had been previously utilized for storage

However it had been cleaned out. The area provided a
comfortable table and chair, for Rusty.

Neatly packed in the corner, were boxes of form letters and
multicolored brochures. There were also big white envelopes
with names and addresses, already typed on them.

“Rusty, what is going to be required, is to carefully enclose
one of these brochures and letters, in each of the large packets.”

Her father then paused for a few minutes, before proceeding.

“The next step is, to use one of these stickers to seal every
envelope closed.  Don't worry about the postage for the envelopes;
we will take care of that at a later time,” her father carefully

“Don't worry Dad; you can depend on me,” Rusty eagerly

“Great, I will leave you alone for now, so you can concentrate
on your work.  If you have any questions, I will be at my desk,”
her dad informed with a supportive tone.

Rusty immediately began to execute her appointed tasks

She decided to increase productivity by lining up some
of the empty cartons on the table. She decided that all of
the containers would individually stock a pile of brochures,
letters, envelopes, and stickers.

An additional container, which was much larger, would be
used to store the finished packets. Rusty structured this
in a production-line manner, in order to help keep all of the
materials immaculate and carefully organized.

The hours of each day seemed to pass by very quickly.

During her daily schedule, she was allowed to take several
short breaks, as well as a longer one for lunch. She regularly
shared this time with her father, as they usually enjoyed
their noontime meal together.

This made her feel very grown-up.

“It seems as though you are really putting all of these bits and
pieces together for us,” her dad remarked, as they enjoyed
one of their daily lunchtime conversations.

“Yeah, I am doing my best,” Rusty replied with candor.

“Well, keep up the good work Rusty; you saved us all
a lot of time by helping us,” her dad emphasized with an
encouraging tone.

Throughout her temporary employment, Rusty enjoyed the
routine of going to work with her dad. She had fun talking
with her co-workers at the company throughout each day.

The ladies in the front office gratefully thanked Rusty for
assisting them with this present undertaking. This allowed
them an opportunity to attend to other matters, which were
more crucial.

Rusty had suddenly begun to comprehend where revenue was
actually derived from, and how hard people worked to earn it,
in order to pay their bills.

At the conclusion of her employ, Rusty’s father handed
her a regular-sized envelope. It contained the money
she had earned through her own efforts.

“Wow, I can't believe I made all of this myself!” Rusty
mentioned with a humble astonishment.

“Well, you did Rusty, and I am very proud of you.
You truly surpassed my expectations!” her dad praised.

As they were preparing to travel home that evening,
Rusty’s father casually mentioned, “I need to
run an errand on the way home tonight.”

“Okay,” she replied nonchalantly.

During the car ride, Rusty began to gradually notice they
were heading towards a familiar department store.

In fact, this was the same establishment, which printed
the catalog that featured her artificially constructed chum.

“Hey Dad, why are we stopping here?” Rusty inquired
with slight bewilderment.

“Oh, I meant to tell you; I decided to order that doll puppet
you wanted, so you would be able to purchase it when
you got paid today,” her father announced.

“Gee thanks Dad,” Rusty expressed graciously.

“Don't thank me; you are buying it from compensation
you earned on your own,” he answered in a congratulatory

When Rusty and her father, arrived at their destination they
walked towards the store. Rusty had the proceeds from the
recent services she had rendered, securely placed in her

When they entered the building, they immediately approached
the order department and proceeded to stand in line.

Rusty was glowing with self-respect, because she was
purchasing an item which resulted from her individual
hard work.

“May I help you?” the friendly female clerk asked.

“Yes please, we are here to pick up our order,” Rusty's father
explained, as he provided the nice woman with his name and
ticket number.

“I will be back in a moment,” the worker responded warmly,
as she immediately stepped into a back room.

A few minutes later, she returned carrying a large white
box in her arms, and positioned it prudently on the counter.

“That will be fourteen dollars with tax added,” she cordially

Rusty darted towards the front and stated proudly, “I am paying
for it myself!”

The little girl then handed the sales clerk the crumpled cash
from her pocket.

“Here you are,” the store employee softly verbalized with a
wide smile, as she handed the bundle, the receipt, and
leftover coins, to Rusty and her dad.

As they were leaving, her father noticed his daughter was
struggling to carry everything.

“Rusty, why don't you take the sales receipt and the change.
I will carry the package to the car for you,” he volunteered.

On the way home, Rusty sat with satisfaction as she glanced
at the back seat where the giant parcel had been placed.

When they arrived home, her father removed it
from the car.  Rusty eagerly dashed ahead, to open
the front door for her father.

Once inside, she immediately darted towards the kitchen.

She excitedly sprinted into the room, as her mother was
preparing dinner.

“Mom, I bought the doll I wanted on the way home tonight,
with some of the money I earned,” Rusty gleefully informed.

“I know, and I am very proud of you,” her mother happily

Rusty's dad carried the large parcel into the room and placed
it on the table.

As he unsealed the cardboard crate, Rusty was thrilled
at what was being unveiled.

Visible through the cellophane covering, was a pudgy
molded vinyl head.

The doll's big round eyes appeared to twinkle through the
sheen of the plastic. Its perky-looking childlike face, and bright
synthetic orange curls, sparkled in its freshness.

Rusty removed its entire body carefully from the confines
of the packaging, and immediately showed it to her parents.

Her mom and dad both marveled at how their daughter
appeared to relish the fact, that she paid for it with money
she had earned.

To Rusty, this doll seemed more special than the other
childhood possessions she owned.

Rusty valued this animated-looking puppet with the
flapping mouth, more than she did with her other toys.

She made an unusual effort to take better care of it.

On her next birthday, Rusty’s parents surprised
her with a small, hand carved, wooden rocking
chair to place her factory-created companion on.

Gradually, Rusty came to realize what a large sum  
of money fourteen dollars truly was.

Rusty would come to cherish the memories of all
of the time and hard work; she invested, in order to
be able to buy this special doll.