I’ve been lying low. I’ve had to. Life in the country is a lot more complicated than I’d thought. Everyone knows each other here. And they talk. Currently there’s some talk about me. Apparently, going out with two men in the same small town at the same time is a no-no. Shame. I’d been enjoying myself until everything got complicated. It had all seemed so simple. There was geographical ease, for one thing but then there was also the chance of being… no, I’ll get to that.
Here’s how it went:
I’d met Rick, a radical Green Party Eco-Warrior when I was covering a story on a group of local female artisan-designers who’d produced a line called Fashion In Revolt. My 1200-word article had aired in one of the magazines I freelance for, and the designers had been so pleased with it that, not only had they promised to send me one of their home-spun hemp dresses, but had also asked me to a party they were holding. I nearly didn’t go. I may have liked and even admired the women, but I wouldn’t have been caught dead in their clothes. But I happened to be at a loose end that night and so I went along.
Rick, the brother of one of the designers, was angular but strong looking and had an aura of intense sexuality. At first, I hadn’t been particularly bothered by his disregard for the more orthodox aspects of life… like having a job… or any money… or taking a daily bath. So what? I didn’t need him to pay my way and besides, the earthy masculine pungency of his body had proved a stimulant. He wasn’t someone I was ever going to be serious about but he was free and uninhibited and very… very… good in bed.
Then two weeks later I’d met David. I’d been walking along a street housing nearly a dozen antique shops when I’d been cannoned in to by a tall dark-haired guy in jeans and a white shirt carrying a small chest of drawers.
“So sorry!” He’d said, and his eyes scanned my face “I should have been looking where I was going. Hope I didn’t I hurt you?”
“I’m fine” I’d said, giving him the once-over “But it’s lucky you didn’t drop that bedside cabinet or whatever it is you’ve got there”
“Actually, it’s a commode” he’d said
“Ah,” I’d said. “I guess I’m lucky it wasn’t full”
“And I don’t suppose you’d like to know what makes this commode special?” He’d asked.
You suppose right, I’d thought. Because antique chamber-pots aren’t really my thing, I’d thought. But I liked the way that his eyes crinkled up when he smiled and so I accepted when he offered to buy me a coffee and tell me all about French Boulle work and the lavatorial habits of King Louis the Somebody or other. And he was charming. He had a boundless enthusiasm for antiques and, I discovered later, also for sex.
Now I’m not normally a two-timer. And I hadn’t planned on being one for long because, I’d swiftly realised, Rick had to go. Not only was I was getting tired of his insistence that as I had only one pair of feet, more than one pair of shoes could be considered a Capitalist Capitulation but the sheets on his bed had not been changed in over a month and his man-smell had degenerated in to a frowsty fetid funk. There it was right there. The difference between us. What Rick called being unfettered by the Shackles of Society, I called unsanitary. So, decision made. All I had to do was tell him.
And yes, now I know that I should have been quicker about it but how was I to know that he and David had been at school together, and met up every now and again for a craft beer and a catch-up? Well, I couldn’t have. It wasn’t really my fault. This situation could have happened to anyone, I told myself. But it happened to me. I was busted.
As a united front they both turned up and confronted me on a date I’d arranged with David and neither man saw the funny side when I tried to explain my way out of the situation.
“Because there isn’t a funny side” snorted a sullen affronted Rick.
“Are you quite sure?” I wheedled “Because in time… when you look back on it… you’ll probably laugh and…”
“Unlikely” Cut in a highly aggrieved David:
“You see?” Demanded Rick resentfully, his voice rising “It’s just another example of capitalist manipulation”
“I’m not exactly sure how you work that out…” I queried, but both men’s attention was lost to me now. They had decided that all Female Kind were selfish, heartless and had way too many pairs of shoes.
As I made for the door they were joined in their griping by a couple of guys who’d been standing at the bar, shamelessly eavesdropping and by two old boys from a neighbouring table. It looked like I’d got quite a discussion going. It was time to get out of Dodge. Best I make myself scarce, I decided, before I was set upon by band of angry townspeople armed with flaming torches.
One good thing did come out of it though. You remember the hand-made dress weaved out of hemp that the designers promised me? It never arrived.
TO BE CONTINUED