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Doris the Doornail. (standard:fantasy, 1303 words)
Author: Oscar A RatAdded: Jul 22 2020Views/Reads: 288/178Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Ever heard the saying, “Dead as a doornail”? Well, don’t you believe it. This is from a challenge when I mentioned I could base a story on almost anything.

Doris the doornail lay in her last door.  It was in a junkyard and under
a pile of fancy carburetor parts.  Although she was out of work at the 
moment, her current residence lying on sawhorses to hold the display, 
she still felt strong and useful. 

Doris flexed her square points -- yes, she was very old by human
standards -- and felt wood fibers move as strongly as in her youth.  “A 
little rust never hurt anybody,”  she lied to herself.  She knew that, 
although over 300-years-old, her future years were now numbered.  The 
rain and humidity of her new home would eventually turn her 
still-strong body to rust. 

Further, to her chagrin, her square head was pointed downward.  Although
there was a lot of activity above her, she could only see an occasional 
human foot.  Right then, all she was able to do was watch a string of 
ants working industriously below her. 

Being a female nail, she was a busybody, wanting to watch everything
around her.  In her normal position she had seen many sights over the 
years, and Doris had a good memory -- although her short-term memory 
was becoming shorter.... 


“Perfect, Joseph.”  Her creator was complimented.  He had been a real
craftsman, not like the newer nail-making machinery.  Joey had taken an 
iron rod, laboriously heating and pounding it into an ever thinner 
wire.  He'd continued heating and pounding until the wire became the 
proper thickness for a good ten-for-a-penny nail. 

Then Joey had, after wiping his hot brow, carefully measured and cut the
wire into the proper lengths.  At that point, Doris had many brothers 
and sisters.  It was a miracle, almost as though Joey were their 

After that, Joey had heated Doris again.  Picking her up, he had put her
in a vise and pounded a head on one end, carefully trimming the excess 
iron off to make her pretty.  A few further nudges with the hammer gave 
her a good point.  Doris was then a complete ten-for-a-penny iron nail. 

She was put into a large barrel with her many brothers and sisters,
along with other such families.  She didn't like that because she 
became separated from her own relatives.  Later, the barrel was sealed 
for a very long time, giving her a chance to get acquainted with the 
others and to lose that lonesome feeling. 

Her next sight, after the barrel was opened, was a tiny shop.  Being
able to understand English by that time, she heard a worker say it was 
a place called Salem.  Again Doris spent many months watching her 
friends being put to work while she still lay in a wooden box. 

She was becoming anxious, wanting to begin a proper job.  “Pick me. Pick
me,” the nails cried when they saw a human hand approach.  Finally 
Doris's day came.  A roughly calloused human hand picked her up. 

It carried her to a wooden door panel and, putting a hinge down on the
edge, positioned Doris and hit her on the head. 

“Hey, cut it out, that hurts,”  she cried.  It didn't do any good,
because he struck her a few more times.  She could feel her point 
separating wood fibers as he hit her.  In a real sense, it felt good to 
feel her point bite in -- but her head still hurt with every blow. 

Just when she'd begun to get over her headache, the pounding started
again.  Two more nails were hammered through holes in the hinge.  She 
could hear others scream at the pain, even as she watched the huge hand 
wield its hammer.  Later, Doris was glad, because they were close 
enough to talk to.  It was better than being all alone. 

One of the other nails was named Jacob and the other called herself
Mary.  Mary was always complaining.  She had been near a knothole in 
the barrel and had expected a shipboard job.  Being a doornail was 
somehow beneath her.  Jacob was a nicer companion, however, which was 
good because they spent about two-hundred years in that door. 

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