Bert felt jealous, cheated on, and blue. Then he discovered he could morph into a giant nightmarish slug...
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On Wednesdays and Sundays I’m blogging nibble-sized chunks of new ‘Life in the Clouds’ novellas. You can check in regularly and read them bit for bit, or leave a message in my 'contact' page, and I'll send the entire digital story to you for free when published.
Life in the Clouds #6: Take a Slug ® James Field.
Bert shoved his empty plate to one side and drummed the table with his fingers. “Olive, isn’t it time to grow up and stop being so fruvolous?”
“You mean frivolous.” Olive took his plate and loaded it into the dishwasher. “And no, it isn’t frivolous to have fun with our friends and neighbours at a masquerade party.” She stirred five teaspoons of sugar into an oversized mug of tea, carried it across to Bert, and stroked his bulbous cheek. If you wanted, you could come too.
“Not so much of the ‘old’,” said Bert. “I’m only thirty-something.” He lumbered into the lounge, picked up a pair of dumbbells, each weighing twenty kilograms, and began pumping arm curls. He imagined Olive at the masquerade party, flaunting her body and close dancing with one masked man after another. After the unmasking, she’d throw herself at the most romantic man and lead him home to her house, next door to his, for a cosy little nightcap.
As Bert pumped his dumbbells, Olive sauntered to the door and leaned her plump shoulder against the frame. “Do you miss living at The Cloud Estate?” she asked. “In the gatehouse, with Alf?”
Bert often thought about his old way of life at the estate. It had been simple then: all delicious meals in Sibyl’s kitchen, punch-ups with Alf, and no futile complications with women. If only Olive wasn’t such a flirt, he thought. He wiped sweat from his brow and gazed at Olive with puppy eyes. “Can’t you stay home tonight?”
“No, Bert, this masquerade party will be fun. When does your shift finish?”
“Ten-o’clock this evening.”
Olive clapped her hands. “The party will still be young. Come when you finish, Bert, please.”
Bert lowered his head, dumbbells dangling by his sides. Olive would ignore him and go to the masquerade party, regardless of what he said. For a moment, he considered dropping her to spare himself the heartache she had caused him. She would never settle down with children and pets. Her hobby was breaking as many hearts as she could, and she’d broken his often, including now, by attending this stupid masquerade party.
To be continued…
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Like to know more about Alf, Bert and the rest of the gang? You can read their chaotic history in What on Earth.
Image by Henryk Niestrój from Pixabay
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The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
There’s a lot to like and a lot to dislike in this story. I like that it’s cosy, funny, and heart-warming. The plot, however, is a tragedy. There are two murders, and every character in the book, of which there are many, has a motif. With so many twists, turns, and red herrings throughout the narrative, it lost me in a virtual maze.
But the author commits the gravest crime: he introduces a new, guilty character right at the end of the story. Tut, tut, naughty.
View all my reviews