As part of the writers group The Naas Harbour Writers, my short stories, poetry and haiku feature in ‘Who Brought The Biscuits’, which was published in 2007.
If you would like a copy of ‘Who Brought The Biscuits’ , get in touch.
Here are a few samples from the book.
PAGE 11 & 12 – RENDEZVOUS
HE rolled over and felt the soft satin on his back. His head sank deep into the pillow and in that moment, he felt completely relaxed. His eyes closed and opened as he wallowed in the comfort.
He heard a familiar sound beside him, the crack of a match followed by the smell, first of sulphur, then of something more affecting.
“You want one?” she asked.
There was a time he would have said Yes. He had to reach into the depths of his memory to recall his brand. Gitanes. Everyone in Paris had smoked Gitanes back then. And right now, he missed it.
“Hey Finn, you want one?” she said again.
“I quit,” he said.
“Braaaa-vo. How long?”
“How long what?
“How long ago did you quit, dumb ass.”
It was strange to hear someone with that accent use an American slur. But with all the TV and movies over here now, who knew what language they were speaking?
“Eighteen years,” he said.
“Eighteen years? You don’t get to say ‘I quit’ after eighteen years.”
“I like people to know I achieved something.”
They lay there in silence, watching the smoke rising.
“I gotta pee,” she announced through the silence and threw the thin covering away from her.
“Thanks for the bulletin,” he replied.
He watched the perfection of her naked back before allowing his eyes to wander lower. It occurred to him that this was the first time he had seen this part of her. But then again, this was only their second meeting and she never had reason to turn her back on him before now.
This was only their second meeting. The first had been at Jenna’s two days earlier. Unlike most men his age, he did not like to turn up fashionably late. He knew he could justify his arrival. ‘I came early to help you make the punch’ or, more believably with Jenna, ‘I came early to help you drink the good wine’.
It wasn’t his fault, of course. Only The Middle-Aged Man would arrange a contact at a house-party in Dublin, at eight-thirty.
Jenna was there, busily arranging shop-bought Sushi and trying to get her stereo to play. And there, also, was Alex. Small, blonde, size six, Alex. Not quite what he was expecting.
The Middle-Aged Man had told him that the contact name was Alex, but still, not what he was expecting.
In the course of the night, he watched her. During their conversations he watched her eyes, her expressions, her mannerisms. The rest of the time, he just watched her watching him. Jenna played her part too, of course, deciding that these were two people who desired a more intimate rendezvous. By the end of the party, she was drunkenly whispering her new best friend’s number into his ear.
And now, here they were.
She had kept him waiting of course, but he had read the paper, an article about a man found dead in the Liffey. Their time in the hotel bar had been brief, just long enough to finish his beer. Even then, the chemistry was tangible.
TO READ THE REST OF ‘RENDEZ-VOUS’, CONTACT PAUL TO GET YOURSELF A COPY OF ‘WHO BROUGHT THE BISCUITS’.
PAGE 35 & 36 – TWO SEATS OVER
I VENTURED out into the February cold and headed towards the plane lurking in the distance. With my breath visible and a dusting of overnight snow on the ground, I was, for a moment, a Frederick Forsythe Russian spy. But alas, I did not have six passports with six names in my briefcase; the file under my arm did not contain satellite imagery; and neither of my thumbs had the ability to kill a man.
For this was the 0635 flight from Dublin to London City, and when I reached the narrow steps, I sighed as the fantasy abruptly ended.
I entered the relative warmth of the cabin, where the pseudo-cheeriness of the stewardess left me cold. Her name was Vickii (and no, the two I’s is not a misprint).
“Good morning!” she chirped.
Following a similarly-phoney response, I turned to face the mob, grappling for seats and overhead storage space. The plane only looked about half-full and most seats along the aisle were not yet occupied — a rare treat on a pre-dawn London flight.
I stopped about a quarter of the way down and, following my routine of jacket-overhead-and-bag-underneath, dropped into the right-hand seat. As my knees became closely acquainted with seat-in-front, I paid little attention to the person sitting two seats over, a woman in her late twenties reading Hello!
I settled in for an hour of ‘if-only-I-had-the-money’ with the property section of the paper, willing the middle seat to remain invisible to the few passengers still standing.
“….four spacious bedrooms, two en-suite, a large family bathroom with separate shower and…”
I was interrupted by a nearby voice: “…leave on time for once…”. I glanced up to see the person by the window looking at me expectantly. It was only now I noticed that she was a little bit…well…stunning, with long dark curls and brown eyes. The annoyance of being disturbed from my four-bedroom detached in Clapham dissipated immediately.
“Sorry, I was engrossed,” I said, flicking my eyes towards the paper.
“I said we might actually leave on time for once,” she repeated.
I glanced up the cabin to see Vickii-two-I’s manoeuvring the door closed as her colleague marched down the aisle doing that annoying clicker thing.
“I admire your optimism,” I replied. “But you know we’re going to sit on the runway till lunchtime.”
“Have a high-powered breakfast meeting, do you?” she asked. The fact that I was wearing combats and a tee shirt led me to guess she was making fun. I laughed at her taunt and explained that I was heading over to look at houses.
We chatted about my job and the possible move to London, and her job and why she had left London. She had been a social-worker helping poor families in the roughest parts of the city and, although rewarding, a job like that had a limited lifespan.
When I asked what she worked at in Dublin, she said sheepishly: “I’m a social-worker, helping poor families in the roughest parts of the city.”
“Well that’s handy,” I said. “You already know how to do that.”
I couldn’t help notice my uncharacteristic calm as our conversation moved naturally from music and property to romance and relationships. It had been a while since I had flirted with a stranger, and I was doing okay, I thought. Is that what this was, flirting?
TO READ THE REST OF ‘TWO SEATS OVER’, CONTACT PAUL TO GET YOURSELF A COPY OF ‘WHO BROUGHT THE BISCUITS’.