Wednesday, 8 January 2014

READ MY NOVELLETE "The Man Who Had Everything" FREE !

Once upon a time there was a man who had everything. And I mean everything. He had a career (brilliant pianist), a lovely wife (perfect face), a compliant mistress (perfect breasts), a wonderful clutch of promising off-spring (2 girls, one boy); admiring relatives who regarded him with awe and only showed up when it was appropriate; entertaining friends of exactly the right kind and social standing; and a talented stockbroker who had somehow managed not only to salvage his nest-egg from the crash, but to actually swell it to quite embarrassing proportions.

In other words he had everything you could conceivably ask the heavens for as aids to the state of perfect happiness; and yet he was not happy. You could not say he was unhappy. He was just discontent; but to a man who had everything and lived in the expectation of a constant escalation of his level of satisfaction, discontentment was as devastating as bitterest sorrow to your average man. It riled him, it ate away at his self-satisfaction, it was a cause for fierce indignation.

Why was he not content? Why? Did he not have everything? Was he not envied, desired, admired? What then did he lack? What was the spring from which this insidious discontent welled? He didn't know, but it got so bad that no matter what he did, and all that he had; the biggest chunk of his inner-life was dedicated to his obsession with his discontentment. He came to the conclusion that somewhere at his core there must be a fatal character flaw that impeded his acceptance of happiness.

Then one summer one of his agents offered him a booking in Ireland at a new - as yet obscure- Classical Music Festival where he would be the guest of honour. He would be fĂȘted and adored, he would be a veritable god.

He, of course, accepted. His wife wanted to accompany him, and he declined; his mistress begged to go with, and he showed her the same peevish and rather ungenerous turn of mind. He would go alone. Perhaps in a far country - travelling alone - he would find the answer to his conundrum; or at least have a wild old time of it. He fully intended to take advantage of whatever opportunities presented themselves to him.

But the whole thing was disappointing, to say the least. The festival was alright... Amongst the raw young talents and brilliant amateurs his light shone all the brighter. He was duly adored, and showered with attention, but somehow something failed to gel. Some essential piece was missing. Once again perfection was not achieved - contentment was dimly perceived as a possibility, yet somehow missed.

The last night of the Festival he refused the invitation to a Gala Diner and chose to take his rental car on a long aimless drive, get himself a taste of the Emerald Isle. The long golden afternoon was beginning to fade when he decided to stop at a drowsy hamlet lost in that endless green and have something to drink.

In this way his fate was sealed, of such little odd decisions are great tragedies spawned: The Man Who Had every Thing was about to be born.

Oblivious to the fact his life was about to be turned upside-down, back-to-front and inside-out, the Man Who Had Everything casually sauntered in and sat at the bar, took off his driving gloves, and looked around.

It was a nice cozy place, he decided. Rather on the modest side, but what could you expect from a lonely hamlet not to be found on any map? The air was warm and redolent with the lovely aroma of burning wood, fresh baked bread and the unmistakable scent of home-made brew.

The man behind the bar flicked a cloth at the counter in front of him by way of greeting, and lowered his beetling brow: “And what might ya be wanting, Sir?”

This was puzzling to the Man Who Had Everything. He couldn’t decide by the tone if he was being welcomed and asked what he would wish to be served, or if he was being summarily dismissed.
“Good evening.” He replied with his most charming and benevolent smile.

The man scowled and grated out “A good evening it is, Sir. What might ya want?”

“A drink and a bit of that lovely stew you are serving?” And he nodded at a table  where a group of locals were busily eating bowls of some delicious looking dish with what looked to be potatoes, carrots, green-beans and meat swimming in a rich dark sauce. It smelled wonderful and made his mouth water and his stomach rumble.

“I’ll serve ya right fine, and then ya must be on yar way. Take a table over there.” The man nodded at the corner furthest from the door, where a small table was wedged in under a narrow window. He reached under the counter, slapped down a shot glass and poured in a slug of golden liquid.

“Here, take this with ya, and stay outta da way.”

“Look, I’m sorry, but am I unwelcome here?”

The man had the grace to look ashamed. “Nay, not unwelcome, exactly. It’s just not a good evening for strangers to come this way. Or to stay here, in this place.” He leaned in and lowered his voice. “Tonight the Fae come looking for mates…And it’s always awkward when a foreigner or city-folk go astray? Police and outsiders sniffing around? And we havin’ to explain they don’t want to be found?”

The Man Who Had Everything started to laugh “Don’t worry my good fellow! I promise not to go astray! Especially, I promise not to let myself be seduced by the Fae!”

The Man Who Had Everything carried his drink off to the small table under the window and nursed it, occasionally sipping at it. It was harsh ad peaty, and it scraped his throat clean and heated up his innards like dragon fire.

He ran a casual inner monologue to catalogue the other patrons: “Hello! That one’s a likely lad! Barely sixteen if he’s a day and fists like meat hammers…and his friend with the scruffy beard looks like he’d be a scrappy fighter too…oh and that old man must be a great-grandfather many times over…and that boy’s not even seen his first crop of whiskers…In fact, looks like all the patrons are male, and either too young to be married; or so old as it hardly matters…”

The Man Who Had Everything noted that the only two men in the prime of life were himself and the host. The man brought his plate over, flung down the cutlery and muttered “You’d best eat right quick and if ya know what’s good for ya!”

The Man Who Had Everything smiled sweetly, and thanked the man; picked up his knife and fork and proceeded to eat at a leisurely pace. It was delicious. The meat was succulent, the vegetables bursting with flavor and sweetness; the sauce a glossy velvety perfection caressing his tongue…Oh for a Bordeaux! He deliberately savoured every mouthful, sensing the host’s mounting nervousness. In the meantime a slow soft rain had began to fall, and The Man Who Had Everything watched from the narrow window the hypnotic silver curtains shift and dance across the darkening deep-green fields.

He was nearing the end of his meal, when the door opened and a woman in a raincoat and a headscarf came in. Absolute silence fell over the common room. Every patron’s attention was riveted on the smallish figure of the woman shaking out her umbrella by the front door.

The woman walked over to the host and smiled: “Good evening, I was wondering if you have a telephone? My cell’s out of range?” With a collective sigh the men turned back to their food, and their beer and their half-toned mutters. This was obviously not what they were expecting. This was not a Fae.

“Lady, It’s Lugh’s night: we have no telephones tonight. Come daylight yu’ll have coverage. So yu’d best be on ya way, or stay the night. Whichever suits ya.”

“Oh! I’ll stay, if you have room?”

“We got rooms, upstairs. Not fancy, but; clean though.”

The woman laughed, “I’ll take it! And a plate of stew? Oh! and a mug of your best brew.”

“Lady, find yourself a table, I’ll bring ya yo supper.”

“Thank you, you are so kind…” and she smiled.

The Man Who Had Everything had pegged her age at late forties, early fifties; a decidedly unfascinating age, as far as he was concerned; but he suddenly found himself revising that. Late thirties maybe; with a round, motile cat-face, and a sly trace of something to the smile…

Catlike, yes; there was something feline about her, even though her figure was decidedly round and unprepossessing. There was something about her eyes, too, that was decidedly unsettling. Those eyes levelled on him, and the smile deepened. She walked over. “Would you mind terribly if I joined you?”

And The Man Who Had Everything, like a fool, said: “Not at all!”

No comments:

Post a Comment