Today’s the day for Roxanne Riding Hood and Other Dubious Tales to hit the book sites, and a random check this morning shows that the book’s hit quite a few of them, including Amazon, W.H. Smith, Waterstone’s, Blackwell’s, Barnes and Noble and many others. Here’s hoping Roxanne will be strutting her stuff for a good while.
I’ve now previewed twelve of the stories, leaving seven more, and today I’ll cover three, and then finish things off in a couple of days.
These Foolish Things is an argument by e-mail, between John Harrow and his ex-girlfriend Elaine Cunningham, whose romance has unfortunately hit the buffers. John’s attempt to sound pleased about it is perhaps just a little forced: ‘I don’t clatter several objects down on to the floor every time I turn round in the shower, and I usually have a bit more than the 3.36 minutes I generally had in the bathroom in the morning after you’d been in there for about five hours tweezering’
Elaine, it would be fair to say, is not much impressed. ‘Oh dear, Johnnie. You always were a bit of ranter, weren’t you? A shame you weren’t a raver as well, with your bloody scale model replicas and Mercedes boxer shorts’.
We, the bystander readers, could be forgiven for thinking that John and Elaine are most certainly not an item and not likely to be one again. However, as they bash their e-mails back and forth, the ice begins to melt. John is obviously having second thoughts. ‘It was good to know you, Miss Elaine Cunningham, and I’m filling up here. I hope you find who you’re looking for, only don’t let it be Jason Feltham, because I’ve heard him talking about girls in the pub and it’s not nice’.
This transfers itself to Elaine, who is encouraged enough to mention the first time she noticed John, when he was staggering off a rugby pitch. ‘You were a mess, babe, to be honest, streaked in sweat and a bit of blood; you were limping and breathing heavily. But your shirt was off and I looked and thought, well, if ever I’ve seen a fighter and a tryer, that guy is it’.
Do Elaine and John get it together again? Well, as they say in ‘Homes Under The Hammer’, you can find out, later in the show.
Beans, Broccoli, Boys begins with Mrs. Rawlinson making an innocent enough visit to her allotment quite late in the day to get some supplies for a family visit next day. In the dusk, she sees something rising and falling just outside her patch, and eventually detects what it is. ‘I realised that the object was, in fact, a bare bottom, and apparently, a male bare bottom, the gender given away by the muscularity, like two large eggs in a container neatly adapted for the purpose’.
The lady recognises the bottom’s owner as belonging to Lionel Parsons, the supposedly blameless son of one of the neighbours, who is with a girl called Denise. Brisk exchanges follow, and how Mrs. Rawlinson and the young couple then handle the ensuing situation makes up the remainder of the story.
And so to Appetites, which might take the award for the rudest story in the collection, featuring as it does a lad called Mark, a student currently employed in delivering pizzas, who wants to ensure that he doesn’t finish his student days heavily in debt and is not too particular about how he goes about doing that. His first call is to an ex-film star, Miss Hunter, who greets him from the bathroom: ‘It’s my little foofie-capped Markie-Mark, isn’t it now?’
As I said, she’s not just about pizza.
‘Yes, me again, Madam, a very special delivery for you.’
Mark records the ensuing bathroom scene on his phone, as he usually does, and then announces to the lady that this will be his last visit and he has been making movies himself ever since he started. She pays up her ‘hush money’, and then Mark goes on to the next person on his round, a gentleman with bizarre tastes of his own.
Yes, it’s all there, later in the show. Enjoy.