I’m starting 2022 with a complete short story, written entirely in dialogue. The character of Roger is based on someone I met long ago, when on a similar journey to Erica’s…
“Erica, is it?”
“Yes; Hello and you must be Roger.”
“That’s me! Roger the Dodger! Not really-just my bit of fun. What can I get you, Erica? Glass of champagne? You do like champagne, I hope?”
“Just a small glass of white, please. I do drink champagne but only on special occasions. Pinot Grigio is fine.”
“So what are you saying? This is not a special occasion, is that it?”
“Oh no, of course I didn’t mean…”
“Don’t worry love. I’m not offended. I’m only having a laugh. A glass of your best Pinot for the lady, my man, and I’ll have a single malt, no ice.
Did you find this place alright, Erica? Didn’t get lost?”
“No. I am familiar with the area. I have one or two friends who live around Fratton. That’s not far, is it?”
“No, but this side of the golf course is better; nicer properties. You can see my place from the first fairway. Did you notice my motor on your way in? Remember I said on the phone, look out for the Merc with the special plate-did you see it?”
“Yes. ‘RU55BIT’. Was that it?”
“That’s the one. Do you get it? RU-that’s me, Roger Urquart, then the 55-that’s meant to be two Fs. That spells RUFF. Then there is BIT. It says ‘Rough Bit’. It’s rather droll, don’t you think?
Well, Erica, what sort of things do you get up to? What ‘floats your boat’ as they say?”
“All the usual things, I suppose. I like to read, go to the theatre, see friends. I go for an occasional meal, go to the gym; but work takes up a lot of my time.”
“No special hobbies then? How’s the wine? OK?
Tell you what; I bet you’d like a spin in my little kite, wouldn’t you? It’s a thing that’s dear to my heart. She’s a Piper Cherokee, a little cracker! I don’t mean she’s got cracks in! I’m only joking! She flies like a dream. I take her over to Le Touquet some weekends. Do you like France? I can go over there for lunch and be back home for dinner. Do you like the sound of that?”
“Oh it is. It always goes down very well with the ladies. I don’t mean ‘goes down’ as in crashes! I’m jesting! You’ll soon get to know me. I’m a laugh-a-minute bloke.
Did you say you were divorced?”
“Yes, three years ago, but it is all quite amicable now and the children spend plenty of time with their father.”
“Ha! I’ve been married three times. That’s a triumph of optimism over bankruptcy, you might say! Especially now I’m young, free and single again. I get on alright with Mary, my first wife, but the other two; they’re a couple of scroungers. Gold diggers, I call them, the pair of them; always after something. If I had all the dosh I’ve spent on maintenance payments I’d be minted now. You know what Rod Stewart said? ‘I’m not getting married again, I’m just going to find a woman I don’t like and give her a house’-So true!”
“I wonder why he did get married then, if he didn’t like the woman.”
“Fancied the pants off her, I expect, if you’ll excuse the expression. Doesn’t last though, does it, Erica? ‘Once the thrill is gone’ and all that?
So have you done a lot of this Internet dating malarkey? Met many blokes yet?”
“No, you are only the third person I’ve met.”
“What was wrong with the other two then?”
“Nothing was wrong with them. They were perfectly pleasant people. There just wasn’t a connection, a spark. Perhaps I didn’t have much in common with either of them.”
“What do you reckon it is that gives you a spark? Give us a clue! If I can find out where the other two went wrong I’m in with a chance. What sort of men do you go for?”
“I like the people I meet to be well mannered, I enjoy stimulating conversation and of course a sense of humour is a very attractive quality, I think.”
“Phew! That’s lucky. I’m doing alright so far.
I must tell you, Erica that I’ve met quite a lot of ladies in this Internet game and you are by far the most attractive. In fact I’d say you are in a different league to all the other ones. For a start most are very economical with the truth where their age is concerned. Some of the ones who say they’re in their mid forties, they’re either lying or they’ve lived hard lives. Mid sixties would be nearer the mark. How’s the wine? Can I get you another?”
“I shouldn’t have another, thanks. I can’t be late or drink too much. I have an early meeting to get to in the morning.”
“Soft drink then or a coffee?”
“I won’t, thank you. I must be getting home.”
“What a shame! We should have met up at the weekend. We’d have had more time to get to know each other. Still, there’s always next time. When are you free? I’ll take you up in my little plane; show you my joystick! Boom boom!”
“It is a tempting offer, Roger, but I’m going to decline. If I have to be honest I don’t really think I’m your type. I wish you luck with your future Internet dating though, and thanks for the drink.”
“Ah well, you can’t win them all. I can’t say I’m not disappointed, but you know my number if you change your mind. It was lovely meeting you. Don’t forget your coat, love. Bye bye.
It’s your loss.”
Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my website: janedeans.com or my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook.