Daisy Chicklit Gets her Guy: Chapter 4 (of 4)

Couple kissing

[I wrote this story for my sister back in the early noughties, as a spoof on the romantic chicklit that flourished at that time. There are many, many in-jokes here, including quite a few lines taken from the script of that incomparable chick flick, Clueless.]

Bunty wandered absentmindedly into reception and said, “Two Dictaphone tapes and one email, if you wouldn’t mind.”

He squinted at me.

“God, Piggy, you’ve improved over lunch. Did you go for a face lift?”

I threw the tapes at him.

‘I’ve been demoted!” I screamed. “Selma has drowned! And if that isn’t enough I missed out on a fantastic DKNY deal this afternoon. And – “ I held out my phone. “Look at this. My boyfriend has been two-timing me.”

I slammed the phone on the reception desk.

Bunty looked at the offending photo over his glasses.

“He’s your boyfriend?”

“Since yesterday.”

He sucked in air through his clenched teeth.

“Well, I’d say this calls for one thing, Daze.”

“What?” I snapped.

“Revenge.”

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Daisy Chicklit Gets Her Guy: Chapter 3 (of 4)

Office

[I wrote this story for my sister back in the early noughties, as a spoof on the romantic chicklit that flourished at that time. There are many, many in-jokes here, including quite a few lines taken from the script of that incomparable chick flick, Clueless.]

I awoke at five o’clock with a nagging suspicion in my stomach, and turned over, warily, in the spare bed. It was still dark, but a couple of birds were hooting outside.

Something was bothering me about today.

Christ. The Presentation.

Simon had commissioned me last week to prepare a six-month review of Profit and Loss for the Board, and had breathed garlic down my neck in hinting that ‘big rewards’ would come my way if I wowed them with my overhead expertise. The trouble was, in all the excitement of the anticipated Valentine’s proposal from Gary, I hadn’t really prepared for it and had been sneaking heat into work and discussing Nicole’s third eyelid with Bunty. The presentation was at 11 this morning. More to the point, I was still in my ripped Alaia.

“Bunty!” I croaked, banging on his door. There was a rustling sound, and then Bunty opened it a crack. He wearing a pair of pyjamas dotted with ponies.

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Daisy Chicklit Gets her Guy: Chapter 2 (of 4)

Little boy and teddy

[I wrote this story for my sister back in the early noughties, as a spoof on the romantic chicklit that flourished at that time. There are many, many in-jokes here, including quite a few lines taken from the script of that incomparable chick flick, Clueless.]

Bunty had ordered extra Japanese sea cucumber for lunch, bless him, in special consideration for my feelings. I cut it into slices and popped one over each eye. We sat outside at Vincenzo’s bistro on Densington High Street, as we were wont to do. Opposite us, a small table was marked Reserved – Prime Minister. Vincenzo’s had an exclusive clientèle.

“Simon really went too far this morning,” agreed Bunty, tucking into his pan-fried pigeon foot. “I know he’s an idiot, but criticizing your sandals? You have exquisite taste, Daisy.”

“He’s a rubbish kisser, too,” I moaned. Bunty winced slightly as if he’d cracked a pigeon bone, but said nothing, so I carried on regardless. “And I can’t believe it all happened in front of that dishy, delectable, drop-dead hunk who materialized today like a heavenly chorus of angels! My God!”

“Who would that be?” feigned Bunty.

“Didn’t you see him?” I asked, astonished. “Here – “

I snatched up my phone and cycled through the images. Gary winning Can’t Diet Won’t Diet. Gary and his own weight in hamburgers. Gary being kissed by Myleene Klass. Ah – Toby, looking slightly stunned in the lift.

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Daisy Chicklit Gets her Guy: Chapter 1 (of 4)

Romantic dinner table

[I wrote this story for my sister back in the early noughties, as a spoof on the romantic chicklit that flourished at that time. There are many, many in-jokes here, including quite a few lines taken from the script of that incomparable chick flick, Clueless.]

I knew it! It was going to be the most romantic moment of my life.

The waiter had just lit the candle and melted into the shadows. Celine Dion began to coo softly from above. Gary put down his knife and fork, still chewing, looked me deep into the eyes and cleared his throat. I squealed inside and clicked my Manolo Blahniks together two times. Tilda had bought her bridesmaid’s dress with my credit card this morning. She still owed me two hundred quid from last night.

“Daisy,” said Gary mid-chew, “As it’s Valentine’s Day” – he coughed – “and stuff, I wonder if you’d do me the very great honour…”

He looked askance at the waiter who slid forward from nowhere. I shut my eyes and waited in breathless bliss.

“…of letting me have the rest of ya potatoes,” continued Gary, “This place is like a bloody concentration camp. Eh, mate, how about bringing us another plate of chips?”

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1001 Words: Niagara Flaws

Niagara Falls

Little Micky is singing a muffled Jingle Bells through her scarf as we finally pull off the highway in Niagara Falls, Ontario (pop: 78,000) after three hours of inky darkness. Then she changes the lyrics to Dunkin’ Donuts. Micky is adorably cute.

“Thanks to God, we make it in good time,” says Mr Chang from the front, blessing himself quickly.

“Michaela,” says his wife, snaking rosary beads through her twice-gloved fingers, “Why you not sing something nice about the baby Jesus?”

“Mom! Look! McDonald’s!” says young Tom, pressing his face to the cold glass.

“Niagara not far, ah?” says Mr Chang, turning to me and my boyfriend. “We blessed to live so close.”

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[For the Oxford Words Blog:] Loving Latin

Puno dancers

Have you ever wondered just how far your language GCSE will get you in the wild? I set out to road-test my dusty Spanish qualification last year by travelling through Chile, Peru, and Bolivia, sometimes alone and sometimes with fellow English speakers, with a short stop-off as a classroom assistant in darkest Peru.

My (lack of) knowledge of Spanish soon became más claro on the tarmac at Madrid, when I shuffled down the transatlantic plane and asked the man sitting in my row whether this was indeed seat J21.

Jota veintiuno,” he repeated, clearly and slowly.

íSí – jota veintiuno!” I said back to him joyfully.

No, no – jjjjjjjjjjjjjota,” he repeated with an elaborate flourish of a hand gesture. “Con jjjjj. Jjjjjjjota veintiuno.

Jjjjjjjota veintiuno,” I said carefully, and his face lit up in delight. At this point I realized that I was holding up an entire Airbus A340 due to my impromptu Spanish lesson, but this didn’t seem to matter to the hundreds of passengers waiting in line behind me, who just smiled con mucha paciencia (with patience being an essential quality, I found, for life in Latin America).

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Short fiction: Martha’s Hands

Girl playing piano

I am delivered at 10.26 on the morning of Thursday 19th April, inside a box, in one hundred and forty-seven separate pieces.

“Oh, for crying out loud,” says a voice, as I am being slowly slotted together. “What have you got me one of these for?”

I tune into this voice. It’s silvery and singsong, with the first few cracks of age.

“Mum! Everyone’s got one these days,” says a second person on my left, sharper and brisker. “This is going to be perfect for you with your arthritis.”

“Rachel, I do wish you two wouldn’t waste your money on these gadgets,” says the older woman, with a sigh.

“Wait till you see what she can do!” barks a rougher voice. “This is the top-of-the-range model with advanced motor skills. Look, Amelia – look at these hands!”

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Microfiction: I dropped the dictionary

Ring on dictionary

“You’re amazing,” he says, and I laugh, and kiss him back.

“This isn’t love,” he adds.

It isn’t?

“What is it, then?” I ask.

He shrugs.

So I reach out for the dictionary, but drop it – and all the words spill out, scattering like soundless marbles. I pluck one spinning by: naive. It blinks at me. I snatch another: foolish. He unfurls a sleek deceitful, and grabs another: lying. And another, wildly: cheat.

“It isn’t true!” he says, wide-eyed, and then one floats between us like a feather.

Eybdoog is not a word,” he says.

“Goodbye,” I say.

© Joanna Rubery 2017