A sneak preview from my new story collection "Monophonics".....coming to you VERY soon.Read this one to yourself in a John Major grey man voice. Oh and apologies if your name is etc.etc.etc.


After you, Mrs. Smethwick.

Hmmm....seems a nice enough room, doesn’t it? Well cleaned. Comfortable. Shall I hang your coat up for you? Well, yes, perhaps it is just a little bit cold....I’ll turn the heating up. Should get warmer in a few minutes.

Sit down. Just the one chair, then. You take it, I’ll sit on the bed.

Yes, it is a bit warmer now. Good, I’ll hang it behind the door for you Mrs. Smethwick.

What? Wendy, oh yes. What a nice name. Like in that Peter Pan story. Oh, invented it did he..... I never knew that.

Me? Douglas.

No, not usually. My mother used to say it sounded common so it’s always Douglas. Well, I suppose people don’t call you Wen, do they....I mean that’s like a pimple isn’t it....or a boil. No, sorry, I didn’t mean that....stupid thing to say. Wendy. Lovely name.

So, are you from Norwich? Well, close enough. I’m from Ipswich originally, but I’ve been here for about thirty years now.

Insurance. I work for the Norwich Union. No, not selling. Not like that Double Indemnity film....shan’t be helping you murder your husband....hahaha.

Haven’t you? Oh, it’s very good. Fred McMurray. He plays the insurance salesman and Barbara Stanwyck is the unhappily married femme fatale. They decide to do in her husband for his life insurance. No, it’s old. Oh no, I wasn’t suggesting anything of the sort.....as I say, I’m not even in sales, claims adjustment......It’s really rather dull, I’m afraid.

What about you?

Oh, I see. No, I really don’t get to the library much these days. How long have you been there? That long? I suppose I don’t have that much time for reading.

And your husband....does he work?

Oh yes, of course I know the NatWest. Manager? Oh, doing quite well for himself I should think. Good. Been married long?

Oh, Silver next year then. Congratulations. Barbara and I are up to twenty eight now. No, we didn’t have a party....I suggested it, but she didn’t want the fuss.

Barbara? You must have noticed her. Tall woman in the red dress. Yes, she usually dresses quite.....flamboyantly....Not like me, I’m afraid. Used to be a Burtons man, but I think I’m a little more Dunn & Co these days. Hahahahaha!

Oh thank you, yes, it is quite a nice cardigan. No, not this one. Present from the mother-in-law. Don’t think Barbara likes it very much though. When we were coming out tonight she looked at us in the mirror and was a little uncomplimentary, Mr. Dowdy and Mrs. Chic she said we were. Well, it’s not as if I can go out dressed in red is it?

Barbara? She’s a secretary in a legal firm. Does very well. She makes more money than I do now. Wasn’t always that way, but she seems to have forged on ahead ....while I.....haven’t quite so much. No, she’s very well thought of there. Good firm to work for she tells me.. lots of friendly people....they’re always having after work drinks and little social functions. She quite often doesn’t get in till late. Doesn’t worry me, I’m usually busy with my stamps or the evening paper crossword.

So tell me about your husband. Tony, was he the one with the moustache and the blazer? Yes. Ah, golf club. No, I don‘t myself.. Good looking isn’t he? Does he spend a lot of time at the golf club?

Well, they say there’s more business done on the course than in the office. Maybe I should learn to play. Hahahaha!

Do you go down there with him? No, I suppose it is more of a man’s thing isn’t it. But there isn’t a social side to it? No, no, I’m really not much of a social butterfly either. Oh. I’m sure you’d have the clothes for it. I mean, that’s a very nice....er...blouse. What colour would you call it? Taupe eh....sort of browny grey?

No, not flash, but....classic, that’s the word. No, you don’t strike me as dull...not many women have the confidence to go out without make-up. Oh yes, I do agree. A bit of grey looks far more natural....you see all these women with funny coloured hair. All out of a bottle. No shame in looking your age, I say. Barbara’s always telling me that I look mine, and more.

Any children? No, nor have we. Barbara can’t. Well, I don’t know what exactly, but she told me years ago that she couldn't. No, funny thing, I don’t think she ever did go to a doctor about it. Just one of those things.

It is getting a little warm now. I think we’ll say goodbye to the cardigan for a bit. Are you not too hot in your jacket? Well, up to you of course.

So, is this your first Wifeswapping Weekend?

Oh yes, Swingers Weekend. Well I suppose it is more politically correct, since people are swapping husbands too. Not that I suppose the PC people are likely to complain. Well, better safe than sorry. Don’t want to offend anyone.

So, first time then? Thought it might be. You seemed a little nervous. Nothing wrong with that. I suppose everyone’s a little nervous the first time. Quite a big step isn’t it?

Well, yes. Mine too. Could you tell?

It was Barbara’s idea actually. She’s been talking about it for quite some months now. I wasn’t keen at all, truth to tell. There was something about “Forsaking all others” in my marriage vows. She says I’m just an old fuddy-duddy, and that everyone’s doing it these days.

Not at the Norwich Union they’re not, my girl.

But she keeps talking about how it’ll spice things up in the bedroom for us afterwards, a little illicit pleasure, some new experiences, excitement. Live a little she says. Put the spice back into our.....ahem....love life.

Well, no, to be quite honest, things haven’t been all that satisfactory in that area for quite a while. She often comes in late, as I said, rather tired and well.....maybe I’ve let things drift. For really quite a long while I must admit.

So, in the end I decided to go along with the idea. She organised it all. I’ve no idea where she found out about it from. Some friend or other I suppose. She does have quite a lot of friends.

Oh! Magazines, are there? I never knew.

It’s always the women who are keenest on these things.

Not for you?

All Tony’s idea then? Well, he seemed quite a forceful chap. Natural leader. Rather a loud voice, hasn’t he?

Oh, same problem with you two. Yes, apparently a lot of couples have problems in the bedroom .Well, maybe it happens to us all in time.

Oh no, I disagree, I think you are still very attractive. No, no certainly not fat......womanly I’d say. Well, I suppose husbands can lose interest over time, though he seemed to be showing plenty of interest in Barbara down in the bar. They couldn’t get upstairs fast enough. Hahahahaha.

Bit of a coincidence that, the way she picked his car key and you picked mine....well, actually, it’s Barbara’s car....she doesn’t like me to drive her. She’s quite a decisive lady. Did you notice the way she picked Tony’s key out of the bowl. Straight for it she went, no dithering. She’d decided which key she liked and didn‘t hesitate. Almost like she recognised it. Hahahahaha!

So....well....anyway...now we’ve got to know each other....perhaps we should....er.....well....you know......maybe....er....get to....ahem know each other....a little ....more. Or maybe not.....

Oh dear me, come on, there’s no need to cry. No need at all. Please don’t be upset, it really doesn’t matter.

No, no, there’s no question of false pretences at all. If the truth be told, I’d just as well not bother with the whole thing. Nothing personal. It just all seems rather cold and calculating, doesn’t it. Not really what you might call romantic.

Look, why don’t you pop into the bathroom and wash your face and I’ll make us both a nice cup of tea. See, there’s even some little packets of biscuits. Bourbons and Custard Creams. I think I've got my Travel Scrabble in my coat pocket if you fancy a ......no, no, maybe next time.....er ....some other time....well, maybe not.

Sugar?

There, that’s better. No need for either of us to get upset, is there. No harm done, we’ll pop back downstairs in ten minutes or so....I’m sure everyone will be finished.

We can all laugh about it.

Do you know, I bet you anything that Tony and Barbara couldn’t go through with it either. They’re probably sitting on the end of the bed right now with a nice cup of tea and a biscuit!
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Published on September 13, 2012 06:25 • 92 views • Tags: short-story

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