Written in December 2003, the short story, Angie, was written as a writing assignment. I've put it under the coffee break fiction section, but to be honest I'm tempted to create another section entitled "humour/offbeat".
Absolutely stunning, darling," Angela said to the rear-view mirror as she applied the finishing touches to her make-up. She badly wanted to prove to her daddy that she could pay her way, and so she was desperate to make a good impression on her first day at Lemmi’s Parlour.
A quick splash of CK1 and she was ready. Angela picked up her Gucci handbag and got out of her gold Audi TT.
A short walk down Clarkson Road gave her precious moments to think about her job, though she found herself pondering why an up market beautician would be located in an area like this. Angela had seen places like this on television, but she wasn’t aware Chester incorporated its own down-town Bronx.
Angela observed the street numbers as she teetered along on china blue shoes that complemented her eyes and ensemble perfectly. 175. 177. 179. 181. 181? There must be some mistake, thought Angela as she checked and rechecked the job centre’s advice slip. The name above the shop enforced the grim reality. Lemmy’s Tattoo and Piercing Parlour.
“You must be Angie, eh lass” said a burly pony-tailed man approaching her.
Immediately Angela reached for her pepper spray. Too late. Lemmy (one of his arm tattoos gave his name away) grabbed her wrist and dragged Angela into the shop.
"Sylv," Lemmy yelled. "Your new assistant, Angie, is ‘ere."
"Actually, my name is Angela, and I’m afraid there’s been a terrible mistake.
You see, I…"
"Flamin’ ‘eck!" exclaimed Sylv. "You’re a bit tarted up for this job, aintcha."
Angela approached Sylv, thinking it might be easier to explain to her, when she caught a whiff of Sylv’s perfume. Or to more precise, bog water. Angela imagined Sylv bought it by the gallon from a garage forecourt. She didn’t mean to, but Angela couldn’t help squirming under the nasal attack.
"What’s up with you?" Sylv asked.
"I’m sorry. Your perfume is very," Angela searched for a subtle yet accurate word, "overpowering."
"Ta very much."
"Sylv," the coarse syllable scratched at Angela’s throat. "As you can see from my attire," Angela’s manicured nails indicated her pristine Prada suit, "I’m not cut out for work at a tattoo parlour. The job centre intended to allocate my services to a beauty parlour."
"More’s the pity," Lemmy said.
Angela prickled at the colloquial use of the Queen’s English, and turned to Lemmy in time to see him pick some wax from his ear and brush it across his yellow teeth. She could not believe how unreservedly disgusting Lemmy was.
How typical of a greasy low life oath, Angela thought. He’s probably a biker and listens to heavy metal. Oh yes, his Metallica t-shirt confirms that.
She felt angry towards the job centre, but also very scared of what Lemmy and Sylv could do to her, and she had an unerring distrust of anyone in leather trousers.
Lemmy took several slow steps towards Angela. She noticed a stand-up fan rotating behind him just as his body odour washed over her.
She had only smelt a similar stench at a restaurant whilst on holiday in Hong Kong, however this smell was ten times stronger, and her delicate senses were telling her to be sick.
"Y’see Angie. We need someone today because it’s the first week of University, and we always get a rush of students coming in."
If she thought his body smelt bad, she could almost taste the dog dirt stinking from his mouth.
Angela thought about her predicament. At least this greaser is conceding a mistake has been made, and if I agree to suffer a day’s work here then I may get out here alive, she resolved. I guess Princess Diana had to put up with worse things when she went to Somalia, and besides, my girlfriends will lap up this story for months.
"I’ll work for you today only, and on one condition."
"What’s that then Angie?" asked Sylv.
"Call me Angela."
"Fair enough, Angela." Lemmy emphasised her name, showing a yellow toothy grin as he did. "You’ll be ‘elping Sylv with piercings. You done any before?"
"Oh, you mean earrings? No, I have not, but if you show me your handiwork I’m sure I could give it a whirl, just as long as I don’t damage my nails."
A strange smirk came across Lemmy’s face as he asked, "so, you want to see an example?"
"Okay," Lemmy laughed and promptly dropped his trousers to expose an intimate piercing.
Sylv and Lemmy laughed raucously and even more so when Angela exclaimed, "Oh my giddy aunt" and fainted in a heap.
**** Update October 2012****
I've just looked at the stats of this blog and this post is the most popular of all posts! Whilst I think it is a great coffee break story, I was surprised.
Want to more coffee break fiction?