Six Sentence Stories – The Double Act Switch

Six Sentence Stories is a weekly writers’ challenge hosted by Denise at Girlie on the Edge blog.

Join us and take part in the form here. This week’s cue word is: Quarter

The Double Act Switch

It was a quarter-to-nine inside the concert hall of the Mediterranean cruise ship, where Monsieur Magnifique and Petit Pierre were into the final moments of their routine to an audience of boozed-up and overfed passengers.

Monsieur Magnifique expertly sipped from a glass of water while Petit Pierre belted out “Non, je ne regrette rien” to delighted applause, then Monsieur Magnifique declared: “It’s time to get back in the box, Petit Pierre, as I wish you sweet dreams and une très belle nuit.” 

Later that night in their cabin, as Monsieur Magnifique snored in his bunk, the lid of Petit Pierre’s box began to open, and a wooden hand perched itself upon the ledge, followed by a torso and legs, and Petit Pierre tip-toed over to his partner and grinned at him with crimson lips and clattering teeth from a mouth where from within came the voice of his own for a change, distinct and unique: “It’s time to rise from your bed, Monsieur Magnifique, and make your midnight promenade about those wealthy cabins.”

And in the small hours of that night, dressed in pyjamas and with dreamy eyes, did Monsieur Magnifique steal jewellery, fat wallets and purses from his fast-asleep fellow passengers – and how this thievery continued for five nights more, a routine, an act, the revolution of man manipulating mannequin to entertain passengers each evening, followed by mannequin manipulating man to dispossess them of their belongings at night.

The chief security officer of the cruise ship began an investigation, so as a diversion to this Petit Pierre instigated a bout of food poisoning and the missing of three persons (presumably lost overboard), along with the apparent suicide of one of the petty officers – his body dangling from a ceiling pipe in his cabin like a pendulum counter swinging to the witness and wetness of the sea’s lurch and sway.

On arrival back in Monte Carlo and after counting his riches, there could have been no more happier a ventriloquial figure in Europe than Petit Pierre, and he immediately set to work planning his next cruise tours of the Caribbean and the South Pacific, whereupon each night he would sing “Non, je ne regrette rien” at the top of his wooden lungs, then later tell his partner: “It’s time to rise from your bed, Monsieur Magnifique, and make your midnight promenade about those wealthy cabins.”

The Double Act Switch micro-story by Ford 10 June 2021

The Double Act Switch artwork – PO Liner Strathaird photo. Clipart and digital render by Ford



  1. Hi Mage, I rent on a gruise ronce and had a goggle of gear! < Did you see my lips move? 🤣 Seriously, another great twist in the tail tale. You may recall I was a performer long ago and I did a bit of prestidigitation and ventriloquism…and I can attest that sometimes the act can come close to overcoming the performer. Now I just perform as a Jedi…though the magic tricks do still come in useful sometimes. Looking forward to your next six!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol, FT, that comment is priceless, now can you sing Ganny Goy while drinking a glass of water? 😁
      I remember your entertainment days stories so yes I wondered if this might strike a chord.
      Jedi tricks A+
      Also I thought of those amazing puppeteers and voice actors back in the O/T of Star Wars!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi there, “I’ng rurking ong it!” Back to serious matters, the puppeteers were amazing in the OT Star Wars films with many of them having connections with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and Muppets.(Ever wondered why Miss Piggy and Yoda never appeared together in public?) But I have met one of those puppeteers, his name is Tim Rose. He controlled Jabba’s Kowakian monkey-lizard pet, Salacious B. Crumb. Tim was also the body actor for none other than Admiral Ackbar and in Jim Henson productions he operated a Skeksis bird named SkekShod (the treasurer in The DarkCrystal!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wouldn’t it be something to have Eleanor and Lillianna occupying the suites at the next Caribbean cruise of your heroes?
    (I’m just saying…no, I didn’t look into the orbs of light…well, not yet!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting… I did say Eleanora might feature again later… so, add a double act thief team (M. Magnifique et Petit Pierre) to a murderer (Eleanor C Graves) to a vampire (Lilianna)… then add Delores Rafferty (a ghost)… (plus add a surprise guest!)… then put them all on a cruise ship… and you have one heck of some Agatha Christie-ing going on!
      Cheers my friend 😎

      Liked by 1 person

  3. seriously, what is scarier than a ventriloquist dummy with volition, ok, other than circus clowns…

    Like the shifting POV, at one point it was riding on Pierre’s shoulder as he hobbled on his errands of foul play (’cause, you know, he’d totally have at least a little hobble, wooden knees being less that Olga Korbutian in felxibility.)

    Funny Six, yo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Clark. Have to agree it’s debatable which is scarier the clown or dummy…

      In my unedited version Pierre did indeed hobble, and his costume was described, plus the additional feature of ‘two rosy cheeks like insect bites’. But in the economy of SSS you just have to chop some things out 🙂


  4. Creepy, scary switcheroo, V. Gave me TZ flashbacks, lol. Ventriloquist dummies – worse than dolls. The entire ventriloquist concept freaks me out. Oh, and the visual created in your 3rd sentence? Definitely “run from the room” caliber. I better not have nightmares tonight 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  5. […] (ed. note) We have taken the liberty of crossing over storylines for the interaction in our Six. Ford, one of the Proprietors from the Six Sentence Café & Bistro (and an artist of breadth most extraordinaire) has created a fictional world so period-detailed, that I could not resist! If you enjoy our Six visit to Paris here, be sure to head over to ‘the Mage’s’ (To get you started with M. Magnifique, click this). […]


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