Thursday, 30 April 2015

The Toy Boy

This can be a stand alone story or it is a what happened next story. For the previous instalment click here
For audio click here.

Bethan stirred her coffee again, she didn't know why, the sugar had long since dissolved. But she needed to do something with her hands. She probably wouldn't even drink the coffee, the smell was making her feel a little sick, that happened a lot these days. She was aware of the waiter loitering around her and had a sense of Deja vu. Only this waiter paid her no need, he wasn't interested in a 'old' woman like her.
She thought back to that holiday, that waiter, that walk. Only a year ago but it seemed like a lifetime away. She’d doubted it at the time, but she really had discovered herself, discovered that she had a wicked side dying to get out. She'd gone on holiday as Adele and come back as Pink. She'd gone from trying to find someone like you to getting the party started. She'd given up chasing pavements and got herself a brand new attitude.
The first thing she did when she’d got home was to dump the loser, leave him to his wife. If he didn't have the balls to leave her, then he didn't deserve the new Bethan. And even if he did  leave his wife  
then he didn't deserve the new Bethan either. Of course he'd begged her to reconsider, but she went all Gloria Gaynor on his ass. She even went so far as making him leave his key.
After that she'd started seeing other men, but she had one man on her mind, those eyes, that smile.
Why the hell not she thought to herself as she got her phone out and texted Adin, the waiter from the holiday. Was she being foolish? Was she being a stupid girl? She didn't care.  This was the new Bethan.  To her great relief he texted back.  Texts, became Skypes, Skypes became calls. Calls became flights and now she was stirring coffee in a café with the waiter buzzing around her. 

She tried to smile, but the smile that had lived on her face for the last few months had taken a break, was having a KitKat. The door tinged open, Bethan looked up from her coffee as she had done each time the bell had rung for the last 50 minutes. She saw his lovely face but where was his smile? The clock ticked loudly, she felt like she was a contestant awaiting her fate on X Factor.  She couldn’t bear the tension, she felt tears welling in her eyes. Finally Adin smiled and produced the paper from behind his back. He’d got it, he’d got his work visa, he could stay in the UK. She felt relief flood through her body.  Bethan jumped to her feet and hugged her toy boy.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Coach Trip

For audio click here

‘And another thing,’ Marlene said, her husband Frank rubbed his brow and wondered how many other things there had been in their 40 years of marriage. Marlene could find fault in a perfect ten and could pick holes in water.
‘I'm not sure if the restaurant that we were in last night didn't…’ Marlene continued. Frank nodded, not really listening any more. They were eating breakfast in a Zagreb hotel, two thirds through a bus tour of Central Europe, Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Vienna and now Zagreb. Marlene had already complained about the piped music and the freshness of the croissants. it should have been a trip of a lifetime but instead it was turning into a whinge of a lifetime. Marlene had brought the original advert with her and was comparing the reality with the ad man's copy at any given opportunity. But even if the event organisers had fulfilled everything in the brochure, Marlene would still have found a reason to carp.
Frank looked at his watch, they were due on the coach at 7.45, it was 7.43. The guide had asked them to be on time as the drive to Split was going to be a long one.
‘We should go,’ Frank said.
‘The guide said 15 to,’ Marlene snapped back. 
‘And it is 17 to.’ Frank said wearily. Marlene refused to be early; she was a stickler for being on time which to her usually meant being a few minutes late. She claimed it was her right to be on time but Frank suspected it was because Marlene hated waiting for anyone else; let them wait for her.
‘I'll go and check our bags are on the coach.’ Frank said.
‘As you wish, ‘Marlene said,  lifting her cup to her lips in a I'm going to finish my coffee type way.
Frank sat on the coach, the empty seat next time all the more conspicuous for it being the only one.
‘Where's Marlene?’ The guide asked. Frank didn't know what to say and when Frank didn't know what to say, he said nothing.
‘She's late again,’ said one of the other holidaymakers.
‘We're forever waiting for her,’ another chipped in.
‘Yeah, who does she think she is?  We should go without her.’ Another voice said.
‘Let's go.’
Everyone went silent and looked in the direction of the voice.
‘Let's go,’  Frank repeated.
‘Are you sure?’ asked the guide.
Frank nodded. The guide looked unsure, it was his responsibility to make sure all the passengers were safe. But if the husband of the most annoying guest he'd ever had was saying leave her behind then...
‘Okay,’ he said. And then walked down the aisle to talk to the driver.
The other passengers were chattering excitedly but then silence spread from the front of the coach to the back.

‘I can't believe how bad that coffee was this morning,’ Marlene said, oblivious to the silence.
Everyone watched her waddle down the aisle towards her husband who was hoping his fellow travellers would keep his earlier wishes secret. They did.

Monday, 27 April 2015


For audio click here

Clark lives in a dream world, my dream world. He’s my best friend, my confidant, my soul mate.  I don’t do anything without consulting him first, and to be honest, thus far he's always given me sage advice.  The only problem with Clark, if you see it as a problem, is that he doesn’t exist. Most people grow out of imaginary best friends when they get to about 5 or 6, some linger on to 9 or 10, but I was 35 last birthday and I have Clark.
He isn’t a lifelong best friend, he doesn’t come from childhood. In fact I can’t remember having an imaginary friend back then. No, Clark only came along when I moved out from my wife and into this two bedroom flat in Cardiff Bay. It was meant to a new start, my little bachelor pad but it never felt right until Clark appeared.  The flat was nice, but it missed the hustle and bustle of the family home. It felt empty and sterile reminding me I was alone, that my wife had kicked me out and moved the local butcher in.
To fill the space I started talking to myself, but to be honest I was lousy company, I was drunk half the time and when I was sober I was just too damned depressing. What I needed was a happy go lucky flat mate. Someone who would be there when I needed him, but who knew when to leave me alone. But the problem was I couldn’t bear actually living with someone, being grumpy because they hadn’t washed up or cleaned the bath, or having to listen to them moan about their boss or complain about missing the bus in the rain.  So Clark was perfect, he moved in to  the spare room, sorry Clark’s room, about six months ago and has  been here ever since.  

I bet you’re judging me now aren’t you? You probably think I’m a bit doolally. Well maybe I am, but how is Clark any different from your dog or your wife? You talk to them when you know deep down they don’t understand you, don’t listen to you or simply don’t care. But at least I am not cleaning up their shit or being humiliated by them in public. At least I ‘m taking positive steps to improve my life, even if they are a little unconventional. 

The Dancers

For audio click here

To start with I thought they were dancing salsa, and then jive, but the more I watched the less sense I could make of their steps. Not that it mattered; they were making perfect sense of them. A live band was playing on the square and this couple were dancing like no one was watching. They were all flicks and kicks, jerks and skips, their moves were organised chaos, their bodies working together as if joined by the rhythm, as if they were born to dance together. She wasn't beautiful, but her carefree sprit and the rhythm made her beautiful. He wouldn't have stood out in a crowd, but thanks to his moves all the girls wanted to be his dance partner. They oozed sexuality, making love to each other through the medium of dance, their moves building to climax.

The band finished their song and the couple embraced, hugged each other and then wrenched themselves apart and turned to their friends who were all smiles for the two performers. A taller guy in skinny jeans embraced the girl, making a show of kissing her; marking his territory. There was a smile on his face but not in his eyes. He said something to dancing boy, the rest of the gang forced a laugh trying to make sure his words were light-hearted. The dancer shrugged off the words, already dancing alone to the next song, not interested in the skinny guy’s jealousy. But skinny guy was not in a forgiving mode.  He still smiled but now the smile was somehow sinister. He stepped towards dancing boy and took a swing. New chaotic moves followed, all punches and kicks, slaps and fists. They oozed stupidity. This time I could tell what they were trying to do, but their moves made imperfect sense.
The girls were screaming, the other boys were trying to pull their warring friends apart. The music over, the dance done,  bloody and bruised they separated. Skinny had made his point, dancer had stood his ground but the girl was no where to be seen, so who had won?

Friday, 24 April 2015

The Goalkeeper.

For audio click here 
The ball whistled passed my ear and into the back of the imaginary nets.
‘Jonesy,’ my teammates yelled, disappointed that I had not saved an easily saveable shot, but I hadn’t moved. To make matters worse, we had just decided that the next goal was the winner. So I’d just cost our team the chance to win 24-23 after two and a half hours of play.
The reason I hadn’t moved was because I’d caught sight of Helen and Karen coming into Romily Park. Had they already been there, I would have done my best to save it, a dramatic dive followed by two, maybe three rolls, but as they had just appeared my ‘show off’ instinct wasn’t yet honed.
I loved Karen, she was everything a 13 year old boy dreamt of. Dark hair, big eyes and a body that was beginning to change from puppy fat to grown up curves. She was easily the best looking girl in our class and I’m sure it wasn’t only me who dreamt of kissing her behind the bike sheds. But I’d never had a girlfriend, I didn’t even know what going out with someone meant. Where was out? And what did 13 year olds do when they got there?
Anyway, the game of football was over and Craig and I walked over to join the girls on the swings.  They smiled as we approached.
‘Great save.’ Karen said, smiling at me. I blushed the colour of my Wales shirt, was she flirting with me?
‘Hey Paul, I need to ask you something,’ Karen said again, I looked at Craig, he looked at me and shrugged. “Let’s go for a walk,’ she said.
We walked from the swings to the shelter. ‘Paul,’ Karen said. I took a deep breath this was it. ‘Helen wants to know if you would like to go out with her.’  It was like my nan had licked her hanky and wiped the smile off my face. Of course she wasn’t going to ask me out herself, of course she was going to ask on behalf of her friend, that’s how these things worked as 13 year olds.
‘Um, I dunno,’ I stuttered. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Helen, she was nice, a little plain, a little quiet, but nice enough. The problem was she just wasn’t Karen. I might have been young and innocent, but I knew that if I went out with Helen, then Karen would be off limits forever.
“I’ll tell you tomorrow,’ I said, just trying to buy myself some time.
But I never did tell her my answer; I never turned Helen down, but never said yes either. Within 2 weeks Craig was going out with Karen and Helen with Mark, leaving me slightly regretting my decision.  

If I regretted it then, it was nothing to how I feel now. 28 years later. Wales Online often runs a 20 sexiest Welsh women feature and I sometimes flick through the pics of models and TV personalities. But today’s was different - 20 sexiest older Welsh women. To be honest I hadn’t heard of half of them but I certainly recognised number one. Staring out from my computer screen was Helen Burns, Head of Productions at Coch TV and boy she wasn’t plain anymore. It made me wonder if she was still waiting for my answer.

For more Barry inspired stories click here