This is the first post on The Write Eye for a long time. Today I feel I can finally call myself an author, because one of my short stories ‘A squared plus B squared equals C squared’ is going to be published in a charity anthology called Telling Tales. I feel privileged to be part of something so worthwhile. The book is being published by a brand new publishing company, Moonworks Publishing, and will soon be available as an ebook. Make sure you buy a copy because all proceeds will be going to the Norfolk Hospice.
Writers for Welfare, the group of writers responsible for ‘Telling Tales’ are all fabulous people. I am sure you will be hearing more of us in the future, because there is already talk of another anthology, as there has been lots of interest already.
Here is another of my short stories which was also published in an anthology four years ago. I hope you enjoy it. The formatting is a bit dodgy, but I’ll play around with it later when I have more time.
Ty considered himself to be an incredibly patient man – as long as he got his own way in the end.
His elaborate plan for the seduction of Eloise began when he came across an advert in “Alternative Experiences”, a magazine he had picked up in the dentist’s waiting room.
“If you long for an amazing relationship then it’s down to YOU! Learn how to radiate brilliance, talent and irresistible sex appeal. Let Aamori show you how to release your inhibitions and titivate, tantalise and tempt through her unique course, Hypnolove.
Anything is possible, including long-term loving and a satisfying intimate relationship. You’ll be irresistible after Aamori has finished with you! Can you afford not to sign up for Hypnolove?
Finding himself alone in the waiting room, Ty wasted no time in tearing out the page, before furtively stuffing it into the pocket of his raincoat.
Sitting in the dentist’s chair, he formulated a plan. Eloise was tall, willowy and had the sculpted, perfect looks of a supermodel. She was everything he had ever wanted and more. Even better, she lived in the flat next door, so he wouldn’t have to spend much of his hard-earned cash wooing her. Fish and chips and a couple of cans of lager should do it, he’d thought. But that was before he’d read Aamori’s Hypnolove.
A week later, the course arrived, encased within a smart, glossy, bright red wallet embossed with a silvery Hypnolove logo. It had been expensive, but Ty reckoned Eloise was worth it. He might even get half his money back, he thought, if he flogged it down the pub, once his mission had been accomplished.
Sweeping takeaway cartons, beer cans and empty cigarette packets to one side on his coffee table, he spread the contents of the glossy folder out on the sticky surface.
Soon, a fog of cigarette smoke mingled with a stale smell of chips in Ty’s flat. He felt a sudden tingle of excitement in his lower regions when he thought of Eloise, probably languishing in an exotic bath full of bubbles only about twenty feet away from him through the dividing wall.
There was a section on personal hygiene and grooming. Ty sniffed his armpit, wrinkled his nose and discarded it. He’d look at that chapter a bit nearer the time, he reckoned.
The following weekend, Ty was keen to try out some of the techniques he had learned in the Hypnolove course. Pulling on an almost-clean pair of jeans and crumpled tee-shirt from his bedroom floor, he glanced in the mirror before he left the flat. He could do with a shave and a haircut, but he wanted to get to the coffee shop in the town centre before it became too crowded.
The café was bustling with people when Ty walked in, his hands casually stuffed into his pockets. He scanned the room for a likely candidate.
Paulette glanced up from her newspaper momentarily as she spotted a scruffy man walking towards her with a mug of cappuccino in one hand and slab of carrot cake in the other. She hoped he wasn’t going to ask if she minded him sitting at her table. Averting her eyes, she held up the newspaper, turned away slightly and crossed her legs.
“Excuse me. Would you mind if I sat here?”
Paulette shrugged as if unconcerned. “Feel free.”
Pretending to be engrossed in an advertisement for a cure for bunions, she looked warily at the man out of the corner of her eye.
“It’s a lovely day,” Ty smiled directly at her. “Mild for the time of year, don’t you think?”
Paulette mumbled a polite acknowledgement, making an exaggerated gesture of pretending to push her glasses further up her nose before returning her attention to the advertisement.
Ty sat down and crossed his legs, mirroring Paulette. She picked up her coffee and took a sip. Ty did the same, a forced, contrived smile painted on his face.
Paulette began to feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. She put her cup down and fidgeted. Ty did the same.
After a minute or so, Paulette uncrossed her legs. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed that Ty had uncrossed his legs too.
Paulette looked around her. The coffee shop was becoming busier, with milling shoppers, piles of carrier bags beside chairs and children’s buggies blocking her way to the door. She picked up her sandwich, and took a bite. Feeling annoyed at the intrusion into her personal space, she just wanted to leave the cafe and be on her way.
Ty picked up his carrot cake and took a bite. He grinned at her again with his mouth full. Paulette put her sandwich down. It was no good … she’d just have to leave it. She pushed the plate away slightly.
To her amazement, Ty put his cake down and pushed his plate away too. Feeling a growing heat beneath her collar, Paulette scratched her neck. Ty scratched his neck too.
“What the hell are you playing at!” “
She always relished her few minutes of solitude with the morning paper before facing the crowds on a Saturday mornings, and now this stupid man had ruined it.
“Every time I move – you move. Are you some sort of idiot? I don’t know what game you’re playing, but if I were you I’d stop it right now!”
Ty flushed a deep red, jumped up and fled from the coffee shop, leaving his cappuccino and carrot cake on the table and an irate, but bemused middle-aged woman wondering what on earth was going on.
Back in the sanctuary of his flat, Ty picked up the glossy red folder and pulled out the section on “mirroring”. He frowned, concentrating on the instructions. He was sure he’d followed them to the letter. It was then he spotted the postscript.
“Be absolutely sure to allow at least forty-five seconds before you mirror someone’s actions. If not, it will have the opposite effect and you will make a fool of yourself.”
Ty put his head in his hands. He was such an idiot. How on earth was he going to attract a woman if he couldn’t even read the instructions properly.
That afternoon Eloise went out. Ty watched her walk, swaying rhythmically down the street, as her high heels clicked on the pavement. He felt depressed and a failure… and it wasn’t Aamori’s fault either.
He looked around his grubby, untidy and …quite frankly … disgusting, home. He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. Unshaven and unkempt he saw himself through new eyes. Attention to detail, he thought. I must pay more attention to detail.
Over the weeks that followed he went for a haircut; bought new clothes; tidied and redecorated his flat; stopped smoking; lost weight; learned how to discover his inner self and light his inner fire and, above all, he acquired manners for the first time in his life.
Cultivating a polite friendship with the mysterious Eloise, he’d even invited her into his tidy, newly decorated flat for coffee. She’d declined, saying that sadly she was stacked out with work at the moment.
“Perhaps another time, Ty,” she had said, but he could see that there was a genuine regret, and she had narrowed her eyes slightly with a brief alluring smile.
Quite by chance, he discovered Eloise’s birthday. A junk mail envelope had been delivered to his flat by mistake, and he’d opened it without realising. It was a voucher for free chocolates.
“Happy birthday from Shop and Save. Please accept this gift with our compliments for your birthday on 24th October.”
The next time he saw Eloise in the lobby he apologised, explaining that he’d opened mail addressed to her by mistake, and that he’d pop it in her letterbox later. He didn’t notice the sexy look she gave him, hand on the banister and one slender leg on the first step of the stairs, because he was busy helping a mother with two children, a buggy and several heavy shopping bags into the lift.
Ty’s new image, his immaculate flat and improved confidence had begun to have an effect on everyone around him. At work, it hadn’t gone unnoticed that, at last, he appeared to be shaping up and people began to talk to him more as he earned trust and respect from his supervisor and colleagues. At home, he’d become an active member of the residents’ association and had made friends with many of the tenants in the block. In fact, these days, Ty had quite a social life – he always seemed to be out and about somewhere and, quite frankly, practising the exercises in the Hypnolove course was becoming a bit of a bind. He felt as if he was revising for an exam.
Twenty-fourth of October was, thankfully, a Saturday which gave him plenty of time to get ready. Ty waited impatiently for the delivery of twenty-four deep ruby-red roses that he had ordered to be delivered to his flat.
That evening, Ty stood outside Eloise’s front door with the bouquet. A waft of aftershave filled the hallway as he smoothed down his new jacket. His hair was combed and gelled to perfection and his head was filled with Aamori’s techniques for the perfect seduction. He felt a tingle of excitement and shivered slightly as he knocked on the door. It was time. He knew he was more than ready for the grand finale.
After a few seconds Eloise appeared.
“Well, hello Ty,” she said in a husky, sexy voice. “What a lovely surprise.”
He thrust the roses into her hand, but the words “Happy Birthday, Eloise – you look amazing” faded away when, distracted, he spotted hundreds of red glossy folders stacked high in the passageway to her flat, every one of them embossed with the silver Hypnolove logo.
Ty did spend part of the evening with Eloise, but he didn’t carry out his elaborate plan. Somehow, the folders stacked in the passage had dampened his fire, but sharpened his inner self.
After a cup of coffee and half an hour of polite conversation, Ty made an excuse and left, leaving a disappointed Eloise and a bunch of wilting roses.
Six months later, Ty left his flat. He felt sad to be going, because he had made so many friends, but he was leaving for a good reason: he had bought a house with his girlfriend, Claire.
Ty and Claire shut the door to Ty’s flat for the last time. They walked down the stairs together, hand in hand, love sparkling around them in a haze of happiness. When they reached the outer door, the curtains to one of the first floor flats moved slightly.
Eloise watched, rivulets of mascara running down her face with the tears of unrequited love, as Ty disposed of a final bag of rubbish in the communal refuse bin, a corner of a glossy red folder just visible as he walked away and out of her life.