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Hey Pretty

by jim60 

Posted: 31 March 2011
Word Count: 1950
Summary: From The Valium Monologues. Contains strong language and sexual references throughout. May contain traces of nuts.

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Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

Pat handed Richard a piece of paper with a list of names and phone numbers on it. At the bottom, just in case, Pat had written the website address.
The names weren’t written in any particular order. This was Pat and what he thought Richard might like.
Of the group, there’s four in all, Richard is the one who’s single and according to Pat, that’s not right.
Richard was about to put the paper in his pocket, but Pat stopped him. He tapped at one name in particular. ’Now she,’ he said with that all too clear knowing grin of his, ’will fuck your brains out if you’re not careful!’
Pat wouldn’t know that for certain. He was bullshitting at Richard’s expense.
Richard folded the paper and shoved it in his jeans pocket and forgot about it until he got home.
About two hours later.

During the drive back to his apartment, Richard questioned why he’d said anything and why he’d been that stupid in front of Pat. It was a well known fact at work that he was single and had been for a long time. He had admitted to taking a fancy to Victoria, the lap dancer at the club. Her origins were whatever she wanted to claim. Somewhere in Europe was close enough. She was, from Richard’s own words, rather pretty. She was incredibly flexible, and after about a month or so of him taking many expensive dances with her, able to call him by name. One of the lessons learned was that you never, ever offer to buy them drinks. Just chat and that sort of stuff. She would lean against him and her hand would be way up on his thigh and she’d say, ’Deekie…’ and… and.. Well, whatever way you said it, it still worked.
It came to an abrupt end when he did finally ask her out, that was when he discovered that the big bastard at the door who was nearly seven feet tall was her boyfriend. A lot of running suddenly took place and Richard was wary about going back. Bit of a shame really. He wanted to see that trick she did with her legs.
He pulled into the Eurospar car park. He had to get milk.

Richard took his tea and sat on his couch. Lighting a cigarette, he took the paper from his pocket and put it to one side. Although he was convincing himself he wasn’t looking at it, he bloody well was.
He got a pen off the table and had the paper in his hand. What he’d do, is shut his eyes and mark the paper. Whatever name that mark was against, he’d call her and go from there.
Best of three perhaps?
Okay, why not.
Richard closed his eyes and heard the pen scratch slightly at the paper. Opening his eyes, he saw a tiny mark alongside Cathy and her phone number.
He closed his eyes and repeated the thing with the pen.
He hadn’t missed the paper, but this time, he’d marked Michelle.
The two would do. He put the pen away and finished his tea. He had two phone calls to make and had a sudden bout of diarrhoea.
Richard was trying to think if either of these ladies was the one Pat had pointed out who would most likely fuck his brains out.
He couldn’t remember.
It didn’t seem to matter. What did, was the scary thought of not having enough toilet paper and kitchen towel lacked a certain softness.

Having cleaned himself up, he sat down and picked up the piece of paper. He took a breath and mildly shaking, made the first call.
He got Cathy’s answering service. The voice asked him to leave his name and number and he would get a call back. Richard did.
After a cigarette, he read Michelle’s number out as he dialled. If he was scared when he called Cathy, he wasn’t now. He felt… well… relieved.
He didn’t get an answering service. He got a lovely soft sounding voice and the first thing she said was ’Hello…’
Richard coughed. He was trying to say something and although he’d visualised the words, they tripped themselves up and wouldn’t get passed his tongue.
The second thing she did was laugh.
He did manage to get words out, perhaps not in the right order, but from her reply, she understood him.
Arrangements were made.
Richard gently whacked the phone against his forehead. Suddenly, this wasn’t such a good idea. He needed more tea. A lot more.


Bravery can be a fine thing. But when you’re standing at a hotel bar and not really knowing what you’re getting into, bravery laughs and does a runner. This is where its cousin stupidity takes over. Richard, in all his thirty seven years, has been very, very stupid.
In order to counter stupid, he ordered another Corona and he knew that three was passed his limit.
Having got through the second, he was surprised he hadn’t passed out.
Yeah, but that could still happen.
The third was delivered by a barman who was a mind reader. It was the way he was smiling that put Richard off. It was that “we know what you’re doing” smile. That and vision that was ever so slightly blurred.
Seven for seven thirty, she’d said. He fought the urge to look at his watch. Which given the current state of what he could and couldn’t see, was just as well.
He didn’t look.
He took a mouthful of beer and there was something, wasn’t there?

Something brushed his arm. So soft that at first he hardly noticed it. He turned to his right and standing quite close was a tall woman in a dark coloured dress.
She smiled and said, ’The flowers look lovely, don’t they.’
Richard nodded, ’Yeah but not as lovely as you.’
He hoped to Christ he’d got the code words right, otherwise he was in deep shit.
She slipped a bag off her arm and coughed, politely.
‘Would you like a drink?’ He asked. And he slurred. A little.
She looked around and stepped away from him, ’Yes, thank you. A white wine would do.’ She then pointed at a table in a semi secluded area of the bar.
Richard took a breath, along with another drink and that barman was back again.

Negotiating was like buying a car. What’s “standard” and what falls under “optional extra’s”.
With Michelle, what he didn’t get was the alloy wheels and a sunroof.
She didn’t do “rough stuff” which was rather nice of her. Richard didn’t play that game either and he was willing to try anything. But that could‘ve been the drink talking.
Role playing was okay, she said that could be fun. If he was inclined for a bit of the kinky stuff, she wouldn’t be adverse to that and she said she owned a baseball bat if things were to get a bit freaky.
She said something about nipple clamps. He really didn’t want to ask. Then something called a cock ring.
A butt plug? He thought that was funny, but Michelle looked serious.
‘Some men like them.’ She said in a so matter of fact kind of way.
“Knowing about” but “not using” are wholly different words. He simply took her word for it.
Richard stood up at the bar and that man was really becoming annoying.
He held yet another Corona but wanted tea.

Payment for services rendered was conducted prior to the event. The etiquette didn’t allow for him to run off afterwards looking for a cash machine.
Once their business was concluded, she would leave first. That limited his option of coming back and trying anything.
If she was required to spend the night, that was pre-arranged and a fee agreed.
So now that he was fully aware of the ’do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ and the ’I will do that’ and ’You’re not putting that in there!’ requirements, he wasn’t any more braver or stupid. Just happily drunk and allowed himself the opportunity to pass out.

Richard woke up in his own bed and naked. He didn’t feel well. There was a card on the bedside cupboard.
On one side, there was her name and phone number.
The other read; that was fun, call me! Underneath that, there was a large ’M’ and three crosses.
Three strikes and you’re out?
He closed his eyes as sleep pulled at him again. More of a yank, really.


He’d cuddled up long enough to the toilet bowl so that his arse had gone beyond being numb. It told him it was dead.
There had been a few Technicolor yawns and calling out to someone called ’Gard…’
Once he’d got off the bathroom floor and taken a shower and that didn’t do as much as he’d hoped, he stood with his forehead against the cupboard over the sink, telling himself he would never do that again.
Seconds, minutes or hours could have passed. Richard felt sorry for himself and it wasn’t too long after this that he realised that something was missing.
The worktop next to the sink was clear. There wasn’t anything on the draining board either and there should’ve been.
He hadn’t done the washing up for three days and yes, it had to be done, but somebody had beaten him to it.
Unless he’d done it. But he knew he hadn’t.
Brain kicked into gear and he certainly had not done it.
So who?
Michelle’s calling card was a sign that maybe she had. Richard switched the kettle on. Have tea. Oh, and put some bloody clothes on.

Missed calls and a message from Pat; gig tomorrow night, details later.
Of the missed calls, one, two and three were from his mum. A clear sign that he should ring her and be quick about it.
The other was the call back from Cathy. He’d better phone his mum first.
Mum’s primary concern was Richard and him being on his own. Richard had a brother and three sisters, and mum wanted him settled down with a wife and kids.
It was like he’d been in the wrong queue.
‘You’re not a poof, are you?’ She’d asked.
It didn’t take much to think about, but he’d said no, but was willing to give anything a try.
Mum didn’t like that. She burnt his pizza purely out of spite.
He did talk to his mum and it was rather pleasant, but he thought about Michelle and he was in trouble.
What the hell did she look like?
He didn’t voice the question out loud. Mum wouldn’t have understood.
There was something and something else. A dress perhaps, and a bag, but…was that it?
Richard sighed and mum definitely heard it.
The following call to Cathy was a ’Thanks, but no thanks’ call. He was in deep enough already and his brain was trying to tell him something.

Before he pressed the button, he looked at the screen displaying her number. Should he call and ask what she looked like?
Somebody laughed. I wouldn’t if I was you…
He called her anyway. He would like another chance and maybe finish off what he set out to do.
Michelle sounded happy to hear from him and so a date was arranged. Not at that bloody hotel again, Richard could see that barman and his smile. Instead, a dinner date and then onto somewhere else.

She didn’t bring her baseball bat. Or those nipple clamps.
The butt plug?
Nope, there wasn’t any sign of that either.

But as luck would have it, a year later, they got married!


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Comments by other Members

Midnight at 12:45 on 06 April 2011  Report this post
I was a little confused at first I thought Michelle was a call girl, but other than that I liked the happy ending.

I was a little unsure if you needed some of the detail that you provided, but I am quite new to giving feedback so it is probably just me.
I think I would have preferred more dialogue, but that is just me.
The story flowed from one part to the next and you ended with both Richard and I am guessing his mother happy.

jim60 at 11:11 on 08 April 2011  Report this post
Hi Midnight.
Thanks very much.

GaiusCoffey at 23:13 on 09 April 2011  Report this post
Hi Jim,
As ever, this will be my opinion only, hope some of it is useful. Ignore anything else.

Firstly, I'll 'fess up and admit I read this with trepidation as the last piece of yours that I read was way back when, I think, I gave a bit more of a robust review than I meant to. However, that trepidation quickly melted away as this was much stronger. I quickly got into the flow, the writing is smooth with relatively few picks and there is a lot to like here story-wise too; the tension of the single friend in a group of couples, the moral dilemma of taking a paid escort, the insecurity of a lonely bachelor on unfamiliar territory and all of that. There is, in fact, a whole universe of story possibilities here.

Which brings me to my first and (IMHO) most significant (perhaps my only) crit;

But as luck would have it, a year later, they got married!


You've just spent the guts of four pages bringing me to the start of a story and then throw it all away by ending it before all the tensions can be resolved?

It's a bit like watching a poignant film about the heart-rending demise of a (preferably beautiful) dancer and spending the first 90 minutes dwelling on her slow, painful decline toward a debilitating and undignified death until, in the 91st minute, up pops a doctor who says "here, take this, you'll be fine." And then she is...

Alright, so you want a happy ending - nothing wrong with that - but (IMHO) you have the ingredients to take us on a bit more of a roller-coaster ride to get us _to_ that happy ending.

So, I will ask the question; have you started in the right place? What is the story that your readers will be most interested in?

There is, as I said at the start, a lot here to like story-wise. I can see loads of mileage in the journey from there to the blissful marriage in your happy ending. In my opinion _that_ should be your story. The redemption of a lonely bachelor by finding love after he has sunk to (what I believe) he sees as a personal low (he doesn't come across as the type to take a paid escort) is poignant and compelling. The highs and lows of that journey are, in my opinion, far more exciting than the one brief fling that got them to the start.

I hope some of this is useful, sorry it's a bit heavy; to reiterate, the concept and the writing are there, but I felt cheated that you didn't indulge me with the raw emotional journey that (I think) could be the meat and veg of this one. Based on your (noticeably smoother) writing, I think you could give me that journey. I hope you will.

Thanks for the read,


jim60 at 23:06 on 10 April 2011  Report this post
Gaius, yeah, you're right. The last piece you critted on was 'Provocations' and that was a long time ago.
I've put on a shit-load of weight since then. But hey, I always was ugly.
So, thanks for the crit here.
Not sure about adding any more to this as it was done while I was playing about on YouTube, and your comments have given me something to have a think about.
I like the way it stands, the only rule with the pieces for TVM is that none of them can go over 2000 words.
So, Thanks again.
Much appreciated.

alichundroe at 16:45 on 15 April 2011  Report this post
Hi Jim,

I liked this. It took a couple of goes to get used to your style but once I got going this flowed and read well, and was very funny in parts.

I couldn't find any valium reference in the piece - or perhaps this isn't the intention - if not I don't quite see how the piece fits with the title. I'm not saying this should be case but normally with a series of monologues on a theme there should be some tie in or reference? Correct me if I'm wrong. Or perhaps I've missed it?

If this is a standalone piece within a series then it works well. I think the ending works as well - for some reason it's becomes obvious (maybe from the stripper scene onwards), so when it comes it's not too sharp a reveal, it's sort of expected. If you intend to use these characters again and continue the story then I agree with Gaius and the show is too soon.

Couple of comments:

This was Pat and what he thought Richard might like

As this is right at the start of the piece this jolted with me for some reason and I had to re-read. This is your style so taken in context with the rest of the piece it works but coming on it cold it didn't for some reason. Perhaps making it a little more literal might help smooth the reader in. Perhaps:

Pat had written what he thought Richard might like

He closed his eyes as sleep pulled at him again. More of a yank, really.

I really liked this description. I know exactly the feeling - wake up with a hangover, struggle hopelessly for a bit, get pulled straight back to bed.

Thanks for this, I very much enjoyed the read.


jim60 at 14:39 on 16 April 2011  Report this post
Hi Alex, thanks for the feedback.
This, like all the pieces for TVM are one-offs, and they all have a different theme.
The Valium Monologues is the file name they live in.
Glad you got a laugh out of it.

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