This is a raw preview of a long-form fiction project I am working on
Feel free to email me your thoughts
‘So, you fingerbanged your boss – who also happens to be an engaged lesbian – in the smoking area of Oh Hello? And, you are asking us to help you through your next moral dilemma, of deciding whether you should fuck her? Is that the conversation we are currently having?’ Nicole shoots out with severe cheek. A connoisseur of sarcasm, and a deadpan virtuoso. There are few things, I would be capable of swinging past this woman. Not a moment has befallen when in her graceful presence, where I have not been held accountable for my existence. Always conspiring against my arrogance with surefire wit, and charm. If Brett and Nicole were not already on their way towards an engagement, I would surely ask for her hand in marriage.
‘Nicole is right. Is this something which needs to be discussed? You’re a piece of shit and you should cease being one immediately.’ Brett, responds with sincerity. Staring me down with a face of maturity. His white eyebrows raised high.
‘I think what Brett and Nicole are trying to say, is: we all know you should not get involved with this. This is a god-awful idea, which will more than likely end terribly, for all concerned. However, we are also reasonably certain of the individual you are, which means you are going to do it regardless of the consequences. So, given this scenario, how should you approach it, and how involved should you become? I say, fuck her once and be done with it.’ Andrew adds in, sipping his cocktail. We have taken a seat at a vegan restaurant, which has recently opened just two streets over from their house. It is early Sunday evening, and cocktails seemed aptly appropriate. Although, when I first took a sip of my overpriced old fashioned, my body shuddered. Clearly, still suffering damage from my antics last night.
‘I don’t really understand why you need to get involved at all. You even said yourself, you hold no romantic interest in her. So why bother? Go find yourself an available girl, who interests you. You are the wet-bag always going on about love in your songs.’ Emma invokes.
‘Yes, I suppose. How absurd of me to impose upon all of you, with my amoral hijinks.’
‘Finally, the bogan is ad heading to basic English etiquette.’ Nicole adds in. This remark is met with audible applause in the groups restrained outburst of laughter. I smile at Nicole and surrender with a facial expression reserved only for her. An individual emotional reaction has developed in response to her jousts. One which only appears when my dignity is held to the whims of her wit, as she trounces any self-confidence or integrity I attempt to summate and put on public display.
‘Listen, Harry. There is a simple rule to follow in situations like these’ – Brendan begins after sitting in silence for the past five minutes, and gulping down his third cocktail – ‘the rule of three. You can have sex with her three times, and no more. Twice, if you wish to be extra careful. But, three is generally a safe bet. After the third time, you enter the danger zone for all sorts of mayhem. The fourth time is when feelings begin to develop, which will land you ol’boy, in a bit of a hot spot. Given she is planning to marry another woman.’ He leans back into his chair, clearly somewhat satisfied with his self-certified presentation of wisdom.
‘I think you should avoid this all together, Harry. Be sensible. Stop fooling around.’ Emma murmurs, staring at the bottom of her glass.
‘You should just make your mind up on your own buddy. You know what is right and wrong.’ Andrew turns to me and stares me down. Before retrieving his cocktail from the table, and polishing it off. I look back to my half-empty drink and decide to finish it quickly. In all my analysis of the situation, the one thing I seem unable to shake is: there really is no right, nor wrong. Although there are consequences for people, namely Michelle, to get hurt and suffer. On a far grander scale, there is no cosmic disproportion which will occur. Everything in this life, and reality will continue to move forward. This is but a mere ethical dilemma, and ethics is nothing more than an edifice devised, and navigated by humans. For the sake of emotional stability, and security. Am I to bow down to such an arbitrary paradigm, in a world like ours? What is to be achieved out of this life, taking so many precautions? Or, am I simply attempting to justify, something which is severely damaging to the world around? Inciting chaos, and disorder for my own personal gain. I order another cocktail.
The following day at work, unfolds like any other. Upon my arrival, Katie and I shared an awkward moment. But, an early rush of customers flung us into regular routine. I begin making coffees, and Katie organises the store. We have a beautiful pastry section by the till, which Katie personally curates and assembles in the morning. Each day, she arranges the cakes and sweets differently; which in turn has created an effect on our customers. Whom take their time admiring, her abstract minimalist designs. This decorative set, which she devotes substantial time and energy to, has played a key role in our social media success, as a business. Her daily posts miraculously ignited a sort of cult following, after only a few weeks. This rapidly increased the inflow of new customers we were seeing, and, also, generated loyal regulars. This strange peculiarity of hers drew my first inkling of attraction – beyond mere physicality. I was pulled in by the oddity. Her determination each morning, to create something new was charming. Katie stands five feet tall. She has a slim frame and cute dimples. She has curly brown hair – just a few shades darker than a mousy brown. She is an incredibly attractive young lady, and her eyes stare straight through you. When she becomes excited, her deep browns light up like LED’s, and you are momentarily forced to consider her sanity. Working so closely alongside one another, we have become a great team. We are the force behind this café. We simply keep the show on the road. Yet, our relationship has developed strangely. Most of our conversations are centred around our day to day lives – especially our love lives – due to our few shared interests. Katie has a horrible taste in music – mostly top forty – she has never read any real literature. And, I also find her taste in cinema abysmal – not to mention she has a fine obsession with East Enders and reality tv. Although, likewise from her perspective: I somewhat loathe sport – Katie, previously played representative football – I don’t go to the gym, and I don’t buy into delusional everything happens for a reason mysticism. Katie’s Instagram – a point of social pride for her – is composed of opaque motivational quotes, selfies with the beauty filter on, and a narrative following her journey through health and fitness. Recently, she completed a diploma in personal training – although, this is not her next career move. No, Katie is going to become a police officer. Which is precisely why I am being trained to take over her position. When I confronted Katie, about why she has decided to join the police force – already being somewhat aware of her partying past. She handed back a sharp-edged response, which I took on the chin: “Harry, not all of us grow up hanging out in mansions. Riding around in boats on the water canals of the Gold Coast. Not all of us have parents which can afford to help pay our rent, and support us until we make it in our dream field. Some of us, must make career moves for the sake of survival. Some of us have to forget our dreams, and live in the real world.”
What could I say? When a girl from a Hackney housing estate, has decided to serve her community by becoming a police officer. It should be an admirable thing. Yet, I think I feel there is something hidden at the centre of her career motivations, which has offset me. Not forgetting, of course, the utter hypocrisy in becoming an officer of the law after leading most of your teenage years, and early adulthood as a steady drug user. I find Katie to be irritably illogical, and self-centric; yet, most of the time we get on swimmingly. We challenge each other, and it always seems to make us stronger as a team. Albeit, I think it would be ignorant not to recognise the shift in dynamics, which will occur in our relationship, as this progresses.
‘Hey, I am going to head home. I will see you in the morning.’ I peer into the café’s closet-like office, from the kitchen. Katie is sitting at her desk typing an email. She turns to me, hands still typing.
‘Okay, what time are you coming in?’ Her warm brown eyes glimmer, as she raises her eyebrow with cheek. But, she continues to type. Eyes still locked on me.
‘I will see you early in the morning, have a good night.’ I begin to turn away from the office, as I say this. Knowing I will be leaving her somewhat aghast, with my unwillingness to play into her game.
‘Narcissist!’ She yells out after me.
In the evening, after spending three hours working on a new song, I forfeit for the night, choosing instead to lay stoned staring at the pages of a Michio Kaku book.
I am watching tv with Michelle. And I can’t get you out of my head. I want you to come in early tomorrow. I want to feel you push me hard against the office wall. Wrap your hands around my neck. I want you to fuck me.
You want me to choke you?
Yes, just a bit.
Does Michelle choke you?
It’s different with a girl.
I am sure there is a plentitude of women in this world, whose ability to choke you in the throes of passion would supersede my own talents – or lack thereof. In fact, I am quite certain of it, as I have never choked anyone before – in a sexual engagement.
It’s like you are saying you can’t choke me, like you would be bad at it? I am not asking you to do a slide tackle, I am just asking you to choke me.
Come in at five. You will not regret it.
Fuck. I will see you in the morning Katie.