Welcome to Chapter Twenty-Four in the unique serialisation of Neil Mason’s There There My Dear, the debut novel that is creating a buzz amongst lovers of original fiction. Kyle Andrews’ fellow judges receive their instructions, as the media mogul prepares to orchestrate events in order to maximise TV ratings.
If you’ve missed out on the earlier chapters, don’t worry. To catch up on events so far, just follow this link to catch up!
There There My Dear
Three mobile phones emitted three different alerts to inform their owners that they had a message. It was the same message and it was the one that all three men had been waiting for. Each man was going about his usual morning routine when the message arrived. The routines were remarkably similar although each man claimed to be remarkably unique in character, personality and belief system.
In the Fletcher household, the scene was normal for a bright summer’s morning. He was sitting at his dining room table with the various sections of the Guardian spread across its surface and a small plate of eggs Benedict in front of him. His breakfast beverage was a pot of Ceylon tea. The perfect way to start the day.
When his mobile phone pipped and vibrated he did not take much notice of it. He was engrossed in an article about the Italian parliamentary elections. He was delighted to read that the country was getting close to electing a domestically famous comedian as Prime Minister.
As he studied the article his thoughts focused on whether the same could happen in Great Britain. Initially he believed that it was an impossibility. Then he thought about the satirists on various British comedy shows and wondered how well they would fare as political leaders. Sometimes, whether he liked their personalities or tolerated their vernacular, he agreed with their views and recognised the message behind the jokes. Perhaps they could do a better job than the democratically elected incumbents.
After reading the article he searched for his phone amongst the swathes of newspaper pages on the table. With his reading glasses perched on the tip of his nose he experimented a couple of times to find out if he could work the tiny device more easily by looking through the glasses or over the top of them. Nodding his head up and down to alter his angle of vision often resulted in his tongue sticking out between his lips and a smile-like grimace contorting his face. Seeing better through the glasses he stopped moving his head, retracted his tongue and relaxed the muscles on his face.
Fletcher read the text. It confirmed what had been discussed at the most recent meeting with Kyle Andrews and his fellow panellists. As he had been expecting the communication he did not react to the news in any discernible way.
He placed the phone back on the table and picked up his newspaper once again. His eyes flicked across the page looking for an article to leap out at him. It did not take long. The International Monetary Fund was criticising the British government’s austerity measures while commenting that it would not be necessary if taxes from international corporations were collected properly.
Across the city, Michael Sills was taking advantage of the dry morning by cycling around Barnes Common. He always avoided cycling in the rain or soon after a downpour because his mountain bike did not have a rear mudguard and water would always be thrown up by the back tyre to soak his shorts. Worse still, if the surface was muddy in any way the dirty water would make it look as if he had soiled himself. He could fix a mudguard to the bike but that was not in-keeping with the image he wanted to maintain. Mudguards on mountain bikes looked effete to him. Real men would not be seen with one. Perhaps, he thought, real men never rode pushbikes in the rain at all.
Colour coordinated cycle helmet and shorts, wraparound sunglasses reflecting golden light and Velcro-fastened professional cycling gloves portrayed the image that he wanted and he pushed himself as hard as he could, so long as it was dry. He was enjoying the burn when he felt his mobile phone vibrate against his back. An invitation to take a break. He retrieved the mobile from the zip-up pouch that also held his keys and chewing gum.
At last. The confirmation he had been waiting for. Excellent. All the inspiration he needed to get back in the saddle and really go for it.
Ames was ironing his shirts. He had risen early and was listening to the radio while looking after his chores. He felt it necessary to flick between Radio 3 and Radio 4. His reasoning was that much of the classical music on Radio 3 was not obscure enough for him. It had become music for the masses, average people, and often referred to as ‘essential’. And he did not like all of the presenters on Radio 4 but valued and respected most of the investigative and journalistic pieces that the station chose to broadcast. He disliked the fact that he had to change channels so regularly, but enjoyed it at the same time. Whenever he did so he felt a frisson of power and enjoyed making a statement to the presenters on each occasion. He also wondered if the listener figures reflected his listening habits, and he doubted whether those figures were accurate in any way. How could they really calculate the number of people listening to a particular radio station?
His mobile phone never went upstairs. It was wrong and went against his sense of decency. When he was growing up his mum and dad had a landline telephone in the entrance hall and that was the right place to have a phone. So that is where he kept his mobile. On a distressed looking table painted white, but patchy and in-keeping with the rest of his décor.
He could see the mobile telephone point from his vantage point on the landing. He always did his ironing there. Naked. Although, when he was growing up, neither his mother nor his father ever ironed on the landing in the nude. Traditions had to start somehow.
When the text arrived and the handset sang, Ames placed the iron on the ironing board and ran down the stairs, making sure that his feet landed on every riser on the way down. This was to get good oscillation that would make his penis and testicles bounce around as much as possible. Thirteen steps. Made him laugh. Out loud.
On reaching the small table in the hall he stopped. For a moment he stooped to look at the screen on the mobile phone. And then he stood to attention. He could see who the sender was. He raised himself up on tiptoes, really pushing his feet into the bare floor and he reckoned he must have reached nearly seven feet as he did so.
After a deep breath in through his nostrils, he exhaled through his mouth and bent to pick up the mobile phone. It was, as he expected, a message confirming something he already knew.
Very quickly he put the phone back in its correct place and ran back upstairs to continue with his ironing. On the way he made sure he landed on every riser again. Oscillation. A great sensation.
When he reached the top of the stairs he laughed again. Out loud.
Kyle Andrews’ Wellness Therapist was a patient lady but she did not like it when she was treated as a general assistant. She had achieved all her qualifications – she had certificates to prove her status as an aromatherapist, reflexologist, masseuse and beauty therapist – and she felt that she commanded some respect. After Mr Andrews had finished sending texts he nudged her with his elbow and passed her his smart phone. ‘Put that on charge will you, sweetheart?’ he had asked, although not asked.
She took her revenge by pressing down really hard when she pushed back his cuticles. Very satisfying for her but painful for him. She couldn’t wait to finish with his fingers so she could inflict more pain on him during his pedicure.
To Be Continued…
If you’ve enjoyed the story so far, or if (like me) you’re a book-lover generally, then I know you’re going to love the exciting competition that I’ll be announcing in just a few weeks. I can tell you that one lucky winner is going to receive a very special and totally unique prize!
Keep an eye on my Facebook Page for details.
Chapter Twenty-Five to be published next week.
Very best wishes,
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