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Olga from the Volga

by BryanW 

Posted: 10 May 2017
Word Count: 999
Summary: For Oonah's Paper Doll Challenge 641.

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'Nah, of course ye gotta pay for each doll. Whatja fink? You expectin' discount for bulk buyin’? You'll 'ave to talk to the manager about that, and she ain't in.'

My initial impression of the saleslady was that she was apparently lacking of the sort of patience required by a toy-shop salesperson.

'My dear,' I said, with as calming a demeanour as I could muster despite the lady’s choleric disposition,’You appear to have misunderstood the request I made of you. I did not question  what paying per doll entails. Rather I was attempting to enquire if your establishment offered paper dolls for retail?

'An' what's them when they're at ‘ome?'

'Well, my dear, they are simply dolls made from paper.’


‘Yes, I believe so, although I suppose it might be heavy duty bond, or even card. 120 gm or above would be my, admittedly somewhat amateur, guess.’

'What's the good of that, then? I mean kids can't play with ‘em. They wanna give their dolls drink an’ food ’n stuff. Give' ‘em rides on their dog’s back when they get 'em ‘ome, and they specially likes dolls what wet ‘emselves. A paper one, a card one, even a hi-tech plasti-fibre one, whatever grammage per square metre what it weighs, it’d go all soggy. Anyways, what sort of namby-pamby kid'd want summet she'd could only look at.'

'It's not for a child. It's for me, actually. I need a paper doll.'

'For you? A grown man? Well I never!’ She bawled across to the counter opposite.”Ere Mildred! This bloke ‘ere’s lookin’ for some sort of fancy doll. Says it’s for ‘imself.” 

“A doll? “ Mildred shouted back, hand cupped round her ear. “For 'im? That old bloke there. A special doll for ‘imself? Tell ‘im to ‘ave a look in Anne Summers. The gents section might be able to help him!’

The two women snorted with laughter. 

“Madam,” I said, “ I am embarking upon some important research. I wish to discover the essential nature of paper dolls for this week’s Writewords Flash Fiction competition. Oonagh has given it as our Challenge. I always research my topics most thoroughly, something for which my many followers and admirers on Writewords would certainly be willing to vouch, I'm sure.” 

I determined not to be humiliated in such manner again, so I resolved to ascertain the information needed via the interweb, despite that particular medium being one with which I have little experience.

So, upon returning to my flat, I cleared the table in front of my trusty Hewlett Packard Pavillion 2004, wiped the screen, provided a shot of disinfectant to the keyboard, and navigated myself to the Google portal. I typed in ‘Retired gentleman seeks paper doll'  and sat back. Well, before I had a chance to draw breath there were thousands of replies.

The very first one said, “I’m searching for an older gentleman to help him with any of his certain needs. I live abroad, but am willing to travel to meet …”

Oh, how fortunate it was that I emailed when I did. For Olga (the lady in question), emailed back to say that her mother had just been taken ill. She sent me a photograph of herself. ‘Hi, I’m Olga from the Volga’ was handwritten across it. How perfectly poetic, I thought. A literary lady, and with such a fine hand. She needs my help. I looked at her on-screen photograph again - and yes, such sensitive, thoughtful eyes! I emailed back straight away. Poor Olga. She told me her mother's only hope was a private operation. Of course, white knight that I am, I explained that I would be most happy to supply the money, but how? Olga suggested all she needed was my bank details. I could tell she was desparate for money - her picture demonstrated she couldn’t even afford enough clothes to cover herself properly. So I did as asked.

But yesterday, I discovered her website had disappeared! The bailiffs must have taken her computer, I thought. So straight off to Russia I went to find her. Luckily I had some money left in a Post Office savings account. 

Requiring refreshment after the flight, I slipped into a hostelry,The Czar's Head, next to St Basil’s, where, most fortuitously, I met a chap called Nikolai. I explained my mission and that, after finding Olga to help my research, I hoped my subsequent entry may win. 

‘May vin? You have file about May vinink?’

‘Erm, yes, but there will be many others that may win.’

‘Lots of May files,’ he said. ‘Come and meets my friends’.

I entered a vast underground room near the Kremlin. On the wall opposite hung pictures of Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, and a wraith-like white-haired gentleman waving from a window, with a British policeman standing below and a sign saying Ecuadorian Embassy. 

The room was full of people on computers. Nikolai, in Russian, introduced me. They all stood up and saluted. 

‘Do you might know Nigels?’ one asked. 

‘Nigels … oh, you mean Nigel…?’ I searched my brain. ‘Well, at school I once knew a chap called Nigel.’  

‘Ah you Englishers, so old-school-tiey, so mum's-the-wordy, so stiffy-upper-lippy. You DO know Nigel.’

‘And ve can find you as many Olgas as you vants,’ Nikolai whispered quietly to me,  ‘Ve just need your May files.’

I directed them to the Writewords site. 

‘My god!’ exclaimed Nikolai. ‘A trove of treasure is on dis May site. All encrypted I expect. But no probs. ‘Overtimes all round!’ he shouted. ‘And phone Julian - get him to tell Nigel and Paul zat all is not yet lost for zeir UKIP’ 

So I’m typing this on one of their computers now. Invalid for the Challenge, I suppose, being non-fiction. Anyway, I'll be staying here for a few weeks. Sorry, Oonagh, I’ll be too busy attending to all my Olgas, who I met last night, to find time to look into your paper dolls, I'm afraid.


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Comments by other Members

V`yonne at 12:06 on 14 May 2017  Report this post
That's fine. Don't worry about it wink Ve understanding. Ven and if you vish rescueing ve will come mob handed and get you out. In the meantime, you are the VINNER! Not just because you were the only entry but because I have never seen a more well worked ruse. What a treat that was and imagine pretending you only got Olga-ed because of my challenge laugh

scriever at 18:45 on 14 May 2017  Report this post
If a chap called Spicer calls, just hang up! Loved the way the story spiralled out of control, Bryan. Reminded me of the very funny Bob Servant emails books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Why-Me-Important-Emails-Servant-ebook/dp/B00702NCY2/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494783774&sr=1-1&keywords=bob+servant; if you haven't read them I think you'd find them amusing.

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