(650 words) There’d been no problem getting a gondola ride. For the second day, a thick white mist hung in the air over the city and at the gondola station at San Moisè the vessels had loomed out of the fog like Viking ships. A man in a pink T-shirt with horizontal red stripes and a body-warmer had appeared from nowhere. “You wanna ride, signor e signora? Is foggy. I give you special price of sixty euros!”
(650 words) The last thing Ronald Russell wanted to do that day was get into the taxi with Cheryl. Not because he didn’t love her. He did – or thought he did. But, as the taxi lumbered down the mountain road, swaying from side to side, pressing his bare legs against the bare legs of Cheryl and Samantha alternately, he knew there would be no more taps on the door late at night, no more sounds of clothes falling onto the floor, no more slim, warm body slipping in beside him, and Cheryl, giggling, reaching down for him, whispering, “I hope you don’t mind!”
(650 words) “Where d’you think I’m gonna find that kinda money?” asked Shelly Green, pulling on her dog’s lead. “Sit, Earl, sit!” “Listen Shell’, it’s a chance in a lifetime! I dunno, get a loan from the bank, sell your car, sell your house!” Shelly sighed. “What about Wharton’s. They wouldn’t let me go for a month!” “For Chrissakes, Shelly, you’re only a cleaner. They can get someone else from the agency. No offence.” “Thanks a lot!” She blushed. Her friend, Mavis Enderby didn’t mince words. “But, look, Mave, those pygmies, with their beards and loincloths and sweaty bodies, I mean, what about … y’know, women’s things … I’d be embarrassed!”
(650 words) “‘Clothes horses,’ that’s what she calls ‘em.” “Uh huh.” “That’s all they do, walk up and down the deck, flaunting themselves.” “Uh huh. That a problem, sir?” “Who, me? No … no, it’s just that she … that’s my wife, Josie, doesn’t like me looking at them. Says I shouldn’t ‘gawp at other women’s anatomy’!” The bartender wiped a glass, smiling wryly. “Well, you have to admit, sir, they’re lookers.” “They sure are. Those crazy long legs, long blonde hair, low cleavage showing their ripe mangos! What are they, dancers in the shows or something? I never see ‘em during the day, just the evening, ‘bout seven, I guess. Up and down, up and down they walk, eyes straight ahead. Till about eight.” “D’you ever get to speak to one?” “No, no, I mean, well they look too, er, haughty, I guess you’d say.” “Well, you’re wrong there, sir, it’s not such a big deal. Say hello, pay ‘em a compliment. You’ll get a great big smile. And she’ll be happy to chew the fat with you!” “Really? Well, I guess I’d like to, but there’s Josie you see, she wouldn’t like it. Can’t say as I’d blame her.” The bartender put down the glass he was polishing, took another one from a shelf and poured a large shot of bourbon into each. “Here you are, sir, on the house!” “Why, that’s kind of you!” “You’re welcome, sir.” The bartender took a sip. “Look sir, I’ll let you in on a little secret.” He winked.
(650 words) With any luck it would blow over. I wouldn’t miss her, though. In fact, now I thought about it, I could quite happily live without Alice wandering around the empty, echoing corridors of Thurkett Grange, dressed in nothing more than a long-sleeved shirt - pale green stripes on white - with her small, hard breasts showing through the material like two cherry tarts. As often as not she’d be humming tunelessly, frowning, pacing up and down, sometimes muttering to herself. And as for ‘Steve’!