Blog : Bad Writing

Cheat Sheet

(Still kind of under construction)

Accommodation

 

Here are my top sites for booking accommodation in SA. (and when to use each one)

SA venue – This site is probably the most found one when searching for weekend getaways or last minute accommodation. I do however find that there are loads who don’t list on their site.

Safari now – Safari is an older, established site. (Many little vineyard and country cottages use them as a booking system) They are very easy to deal with when you need to contact them. Great customer service.

Bookings.com – I use this site for work travel. It has such a wide variety from hotels to BnB’s. What I like most about it is the way you can refine your search. Need wifi and breakfast buffet? Easy find on Bookings.com.

Air BnB – GREAT for strange getaways. You can rent a little flat in the city for a night or two or a villa in Spain if you please.

Lekker slaap – Lekker Slaap has the most incredible local little places on it. I use this site when looking for places that sleep a few people. Friends getaway vs just Os and I. it feels as if many of the coolest little places are hiding away on this site.

Groupon – Hey look, Groupon is what Forest Gump would call a box of chocolates. You never know when you are going to get a coffee liquor dark chocolate or that kak one with the moerse nut inside it.

Daddy’s deals – Total hit or miss. Sometimes they have amazing deals and sometimes they are R5.00 off if you sleep 6 people and stay 8 nights.

Accommodation (1)

5 Reasons why I choose MANGO AIRLINES.

International…coming SOON.

 

Accommodation (3)

 

How about a STEAM TRAIN RIDE?

Perhaps a visit to a VINEYARD?

Pack up your things and go CAMPING. I know a great spot.

Looking for a fun night out in Joburg? Why not a REAL LIFE PROBLEM-SOLVING GAME.

 

 

Accommodation (2)

 

Go get some fresh air and visit a BOTANICAL GARDEN.

Perhaps a nice DRIVE in the Klein Karoo?

I have a little list of 5 PLACES (in SA) that I would very much like to see.

Accommodation (4)

 

Coming SOON.

Accommodation (5)

 

Going to the BEACH?

Going on a ROAD TRIP? (BONUS, some great road trip songs)

Gotta print that CHECK LIST. 

 

Accommodation (7)

Watch a MOVIE to make you want to pack your bags.

 

 

 

Chapter 28.

Chapter 28.

Read Chapter 27 here with Cupcakemummy

I snuck a chocolate into the package for Winter. I had to buy Michael lunch to get him to tell me what Winters favourite sweet is. I figured her life needs some sweetness. God knows she must have her hands full with Michael. Although I can see what she sees in him. Not so much the looks. He is a bit too clean cut for my liking but he is rather cute. He has these little habits he thinks no one sees. I guess we all have those.  Michael must be working from home or be at a client today. His desk is vacant. The thought of messing with him is just too tempting and I grab my post’it notes and go to town on his cubical. It’s starting to look like a highlighter puked on it and I get lost in the tedious task of pasting each little note at the last ones edge. As I paste the last one I give it a swipe with my index finger to insure it stays put and stand back to appreciate my work of art. It is perfect.

Mark is also not in today but I know he is on a deadline with his client. A magazine has so I am sure he has his hands full. Flat White Magazine. I mentioned it to Winter a few weeks ago. They needed some illustration work done. I hope she got into contact with them.

It feels strange to have the office so quite.  I wonder if this is what Winters world feels like? Nothing but a little muzzled noise coming from somewhere outside.  My mind is a little all over the place today. As you can tell. I keep thinking it’s time to tell the Mateo’s about the book. It is party about their son after all. But how am I supposed to bring it up? “Oh hey, here is a children’s book about the child you lost and oh, your son’s character is a sad duck”.  The might just throw me with a loaf of bread. Not really a topic I think they want to crack back open. I am perplexed though. I can’t NOT tell them. I have to do it before we go to print. Or before the launch. Part of me never wants them to find out. It would just be easier.

I have been doodling on the back of an old calendar on my desk.  I might be a novelist but part of thinks my soul has always been a poet. (Albeit not a particularly good one)

Silent was her world. But not cold nor dark.

Grey were her eyes. But not her heart.

She lived in colours unseen by others.  Beautiful thing that smothers

Her soul was green, Spring. Her name was Winter.

wpid-20140729_161303.jpg

I scrounge up the piece of paper and throw it into the bin in the far corner of the office. When I look up Mark is standing next to the bin clapping hands, with the biggest grin on his face. Gosh he is edible.

Mark: Nice shot.

Me: You sound surprised.

Mark: I didn’t know you were so…athletic.

Me: I am very athletic. You should see me run

Mark: Really?

Me: Yes, I am exceptional at shot distance running.

Mark: Oh really? What distance.

Me: Couch to fridge, I am the record holder.

Mark smiles and shakes his head. He walks over to my desk and leans over my cubical with folded arms. I can smell his aftershave. It smells of sweet pears and the ocean. It’s rather intoxicating and I struggle to focus on what he is saying.

Mark: Iris!

Me: Yes?

Mark: Wake up.

Me: I am awake.

Mark: It looks like your dreaming somewhere far away from here.

I smile at him.

Mark: I assume you went to town on Mike’s desk?

Me: He needed some colour. Don’t you think?

Mark: I agree. He seemed a bit lost lately. So pasta?

Me: huh?

Mark: can you cook pasta?

Me: yes, why? Well define cook.

Mark: edible

Like you, I think.

Me:  In that case yes. 

Mark: Done, dinner at your place. 7ish?

I try to argue but he leans over the cubical divider and plants a kiss on my cheek.  I immediately Google easy pasta recipes and get lost in words like “parboil” and sauté. I appreciate good food but couldn’t be bothered to cook fancy food for myself. Maybe things will change when it’s not just me anymore. A smile makes it way from my heart to my face. I have been alone so long the thought of coming home to someone is as good as my fairy tale gets. And I am completely ok with that. I don’t need swooping, white horse, flowers every night might kind of love. I need someone else on my couch that laughs at the same parts in a movie as I do.  He fits. It fits.

I finally set on a super easy recipe with chicken and bacon in it. Everyone loves bacon.  Well, everyone should. I hit print and before I make my to the copier room to pick up my print I hit send and receive and get a mail from Winter. I hit reply.

Email To: Winter

From: Iris

RE RE: BIG NEWS

Hey Sweet pea,

SO glad the chocolate made its way there. Figured you would want something sweet to celebrate with. Enjoy it. When you have a chance please go over the last details of the beta copy. I would like to submit it to the printers as soon as possible. Once we are happy with the colours etc we can do the first print. I would be honoured if you were to sign one for me? I will treasure it forever.

I want to ask you some advice. I need to tell the family (of my brothers friend) that I used their child in book. I don’t know when to tell them or if I should tell them at all. I feel a little lost here. If it were your child, would you want to know?

I am so thrilled about you and Michael. Also good to know the man is good with gardening. He is husband material. Hold on to him.

I am cooking for Mark tonight. I am SO excited. I even Googled a recipe am hoping he wants me for dessert.  

Listen I have to run. I still need to go shopping for tonight. And shave!

Courier the copy back with your notes as soon as you can.

Love,

I log out of my computer and grab my bag on the way to copier.  As I approach the printer I see Mark leaning against the table with the guillotine. I am flooded with a warm desire to take off where we left it in there the last time. That room is hallowed ground to us.  I open my mouth to say something sexy I haven’t quite formed in my head and suddenly my breath is stolen. As if vacuumed from my body and I freeze. Breathless.  I see Pam lean in and kiss Mark on his stubbled cheek while she says “Thanks for the other night Marky. It was…fun.”

I let out an audible sigh and Mark jumps back from Pams grip as if she was poisonous.

“Iris! Please… it’s not what you think”

 

 

Chapter 26.

Chapter 26.

Read Chapter 25 here with Cupcakemummy 

It has become apparent that Winter is more than just my illustrator.  It seems funny to thing you can connect with someone whom you have never met. But it happened. The thought of not being able to talk, or mail rather, to her everyday scares me. When did this happen? When did we become friends? I have never been one who has many friends. Not girls either. Woman in general are far too prissy for me. Not that guys don’t have their shit but I prefer a rude to a bitch any day.

The date with mark ended up not being a date. We ordered pizza and watched a few quiz shows  on television. While guzzling obscene amounts of red wine of course. This in turn lead to my light blue lace thong hanging from the ceiling fan. That man just makes me want to take my clothes off. It didn’t go very far though. As it turns out red wine makes me too tired to have sex. Where is the fun in that? I fell asleep on the couch after a few minutes of making out. He must have felt sorry for me or something because when I woke up this morning I was covered by a blanket and upon closer inspection I noticed he had taken the leftovers to the kitchen and wiped the counters. Or does he think I’m a slob? He even fed the dog.

I am working from home today as the offices are being painted. I grab my laptop and touch base with Winter. I haven’t told her the news yet.

Email To: Winter

From: Iris

Subject: BIG NEWS.

Winter, my stormy darling.

Book 1 is going to print next month and the proof copy is being couriered to you as I am typing this. Please indicate necessary changes and then the final one will be done again for us both to approve once more. I have meetings next week with bookstores who are pre-ordering the book. (Still can’t believe I wrote a fucking children’s book, who am I.)

I have missed talking to you. Mark is wonderful. But it all seems a little unreal. We spent a few hours making out on the couch and I did my signature move where I fling my panties across the room. I shall now refer to this mating call as “Iris’s peacocking” Get it…peaCOCK. I apologize for my stale and bad humour, I should be in medication for it.

So…Michael…

He let it slip that he was with you the whole time in hospital. That man adores you. And here I thought he was getting it on with our receptionist this whole time. Turns out you are his distraction and his focus all in one. I asked him if I would be able to come and visit you and he told me I better give you some time to get used to this whole 2 casts thing. I respect that.  Michael feels very responsible for the accident. Even caught the man crying in the kitchen area at work.  My heart broke when I saw it and gave him the most awkward hug in history. I had totally forgotten to wear a bra that day. Here’s to wishing he couldn’t tell. Also it wasn’t too bright to wear a white blouse that day. But hey, if you are gonna go awkward, do it right.

Also he kept leaving early from work this week to go look after a garden somewhere.

He is a good man.  Take care of him and more importantly, let him take care of you.

Love,

 Iris

I do a few more mails before I close my laptop.  I am ahead of the curve with work. This means lunch. I grab my scarf and head out. Its chilly today and the clouds are hanging low. The world is dark grey and I like it. As I am approaching Papa Mateo’s I see some construction outside. What on earth…a ramp? Why the hell would they install a ramp? Noah sees me coming and does that thing where he whistles and looks around as if he has no idea I am there.  I smack him on the back and greet him with a hug.

Me: And this?

Noah: Wheelchair friendly and all that?

Me: I can see that, but why now after 20 years?

Noah: How insensitive Iris. People in wheelchairs need good bread too.

Me: Ok ok, geez calm down.

I ruffle his hair before heading in. Mama sees me and almost jumps over the counter to hug me. She honestly gives the best hugs.  I plonk down in my usual booth and it isn’t long before she brings over my avo ciabatta. But this time she sits down in the booth. She slides in on the opposite side and faces me. She takes me hand and I am now worried and puzzled.

Me: What’s wrong?

Mama: Nothing is wrong my dear.

Me: To what do I owe this lunch date?

Mama:  Iris…

Me: …yes?

Mama:  You are a such a great girl. Why do I never see a man with you?

Me: Oh Mama really?

Mama: A girl even a strong one like you needs a man in her life. We all have needs you know.

This though is putting me off the greatest sandwich in the world. I can feel that I-just-ate-a-sour-lemon mixed with smelling-something –bad look on my face.

Me: Mama please stop there.

Mama: We want to see you taken care of Iris.

I laugh and take her hand to place a gentle kiss on it.

Mama: Don’t worry.  I am very capable of taking care of my own needs.  

As I leave the cafe I realize that last line makes it sound as if I masturbate a lot. Great. As is that conversation could have gotten any more awkward.  Besides, I have a man. Well I don’t really know if Mark is MY man. I know we have known each other a while but I don’t know if I am ready to be that serious. Oh crap. Now I don’t know anymore.

As I reach my front door I see there’s a letter sticking out of the mail-slit.  I grab it and go inside and start ripping it open as I take my shoes off. The envelope just says “Iris” in a rather shitty handwriting. I drop the envelope as I realize what this is.

“Iris – I wanted to get you flowers. But I wasn’t quite sure what you liked.  Then I thought about chocolates. But again I didn’t know whether to go for dark or milk. I thought maybe she would like a teddy. But your dog hates you and would eat it. Then I remembered your paintbrush. The slightly chewed one you always wore in your hair. I noticed it has been absent these past few weeks so I got you a replacement.  Keep it away from the dog”

I pick up the envelope I had dropped take out a brand new wooden Paint Brush. It’s perfect.

Where on earth is my old one?

 

 

 

Chapter 22.

Chapter 22.

Read chapter 21 here with Cupcakemummy

 

Work has been busy today. Nonstop phone calls from clients. So many reviews written. After that message from Mark I didn’t know how I would be able to work today. Every couple of minutes I pretend to be working on my phone just to read it again.

Iris, I like you. I liked you even before you flashed me at your desk that day. Let me take you on a real date.

Yeah ok, I like Mark. Besides Michael he is the only one around the office that laughs at my shit jokes. And so what if he happens to be a bit of a dish. Anyway, he hasn’t been in office the whole day. As far as I have casually snooped, he is at the printers today for one of his clients. His eyes bring out the writer in me. I can’t wait till he comes back. Oh my word I have turned into a teenager dripping with puppy love. Enough I am better than this. I am cooler. Much cooler. I glance at my watch and realize it’s almost lunch time. I have been daydreaming and working so hard I haven’t eaten today. 4 cups of old coldish cafeteria coffee doesn’t count.

I decided my life needs some carbs. Some good carbs. I dial up Papa’s and Noah picks up.

Me: Hi Noah, its Iris.

Noah:  Yeah Yeah I know. (He says in a jokingly annoyed tone.)

Me: Fine, I’ll take my order elsewhere if you don’t want it.

Noah:  Fine, if that’s what you want go right ahead. I dare you to find bread this good anywhere else.

Me: Well…you got me there.

Noah: hahaha. Come now Iris. What do you want for lunch?

Me: The usual please, Ciabata with avo and tomato and that other thingy you always put on it.

Noah: You mean Blue Cheese. I got you Iris. (I can hear him smiling). I might be able to steal a few peanut-butter cookies for you.

Me: Oh those ones you brought me a while ago? They were awesome. Yes please.

Noah: Done, at the office.

Me: You know it. See you in a few.

Michael has been pacing in front of my desk ever since he got that text earlier. What is it with this man. He must be getting some somewhere. Possibly big-boobs-Pam.

I haven’t really gotten to any of my emails today. I should really reply to Winter…after one more cup of crap coffee while I wait for my lunch order.

To: Winter

From: Iris

RE RE: Yay us

Hi there darling Winter.

Business first.  Have you given the cover any thought? We will need to submit it to the printers soon for them to print proofs for you. Can you believe we have made it all this way? I would like to have a pond or body of water on the cover. With the duck and cat of course. I Think your water colour and Ink style would work perfectly here. Hey, look. Please let me if you feel a different style or approach will work for this. I trust your opinion.

Oh my gosh, Mark, is copier guy. Oh Winter, he makes me break out in verse and haiku’s. He is a chunk of man. Tall. Like Zoro. Dark and exotic looking. Everything about this man makes me feel like I just sank into a warm bubble bath. I feel like I am telling my high school BFF all about my crush.

I am starving. I ordered lunch but its taking forever. I am gonna go dig in the office kitchen for something to masticate on.

Speak soon.

Iris

Seriously, were the hell is Noah? Churning the butter himself. I in a daze of hunger I text Mark back. (16 hours later because ladies make ‘em wait)

Date? Yeah ok. I’d be keen.

How is that for a cool message? Nailed it. Or did I? Great. Did I just screw this up? What if he thinks I am not interested? Fuck.

I like you too.

Smooth Iris. A second message doesn’t sound desperate at all.

I wonder what it would have been like if mark and I …finished in the copier room. Would he still be pursuing me?  Why do I second guess every bit of good fortune life flings my way.  Even with my first novel. All the glitz and glamour that came with the launch and success of the book is what I hid of. I kind of felt that if I show that I enjoy it will all be taken away from me. Why do I deserve to be happy? I have never understood that.  I get lost in my thoughts, then more emails. Suddenly realize it’s been 3 hours since I ordered lunch.

I grab my phone. Mark hasn’t replied. I phone Noah’s mobile phone.

Me: Hey what happened to you? Did Papa have to teach you how to make the bread first? Did the zombie apocalypse hit the bakery?

Noah: There’s been an accident. I am so sorry Iris, I won’t make it today. So sorry. I have to go.

BEEP BEEP

The line went dead. Shit I hope everything is ok.

I grab my coat and head to the bakery.

 

Chapter 20.

Chapter 20.

Read Chapter 19 here with Cupcakemummy

My kettle is whistling. Time for tea.

I should be happy right now. I mean, they approved both Feathers and Fur Books and Winter’s drawings. We are going to print in 2 weeks.  I should be happy dancing but all I can think about is Mark. Gosh he is such a good kisser. I want more. No, I need more. But how do I go about this now? How do I make another move? Surely I can’t throw my panties at him again, like an ape flinging faeces.

Kettle still whistling. I walk over and flip the lid to silence it and realize my phone was ringing this whole time. I didn’t even notice over the sound of the incessant whistling.

1 Missed Call – Mark

I MISSED HIS CALL! I have been daydreaming about him for the past two days and now I will never know what he has to…

BEEP BEEP BEEP

1 Text Message – Mark

“Dinner? That place with the wine you like. 7pm?”

HE WANTS TO TAKE ME OUT ON A DATE! Wait. He wants to take me out on a date. An actual dinner date. I seriously underestimated the power of flying underwear. Guess I need to shave my legs for this. I message him back:

“Hi, yeah ok”

Nonchalant enough? I recon.

I better get some work done before I do the whole faff thing. Also haven’t been to see the Matteos i a while. Maybe Ill grab some lunch there tomorrow. I need to tell Winter the good news about the books. Gosh I completely forgot to let her know we are good to go. I grab my tea cup and start up my laptop.

Email : To Winter

From: Iris

Subject: Yay us.

Hi Winter,

I have some fabulous news for you. Books and illustrations approved! We are going to print in 2 weeks. I have a few small notes about colouring and such but will send it to you in a separate mail. Welcome to the publishing world Miss Winter. (I hope you plan to celebrate)

Interesting how you and Michael know each other. He seems in a different world these days. Kind of floating around on a cloud. I think he is getting lucky somewhere. Maybe Pam from the office? Has he ever mentioned her? She has jugs the size of giant beer kegs. She is always giggling at his lame jokes.

Either way. Dude looks happy lately. Maybe he will stop bugging me now.

I have a (hopefully) hot date with copier room guy tonight. Wish me luck.

Speak soon,

Iris.

I take a long bath and shave my forest- looking legs. I have laid out a little green dress laid out on my bed. I haven’t been this excited for a date in ages!

BEEP BEEP BEEP

I try to hang over the side of the bath tub to dry my one hand with a towel enough to unlock my phone and read the text.

It’s from Mark…

 

Chapter 18.

Chapter 18.

Read chapter 17 here with Cupcake

Mark made a pass at me this morning In the copier room. He slide a note into my hand that read “ Your boobs, 1pm, on the copier”. You know what? My sexual drought has lasted long enough. Mark is as average as men come.  Tall(ish), hazel eyes with this golden rim around them. Quite charming actually. His hair does this thing where the little bit on the left always sticks up, when he’s nervous he combs it down. He combed it down this morning when he handed me the note. His skin looks so smooth. Even with his 5 O’clock shadow his skin looks better than mine. Fucking freckles. Ok maybe he is a little more than average. Maybe he is a little hot. What the hell does he want with me? Must have been that day I had my boobs out at my desk.

Thank god I wore my lace panties today. I was very close to going the granny panty route but the lace was new and I figured YOLO.

It takes ever last bit of courage I have to get up and walk to the copier room. I follow Mark without saying a word. I now realize why he chose 1pm. Everyone is out on lunch. The office is basically vacant, with the exception of Pam at reception glued to her monitor filling her lunch hour with Youtube nail painting tutorials. And us. Now awkwardly staring at each other from opposite ends of the room. Am I supposed to make the first move? I am no expert at office sex! Do I take my panties off and throw it at him? Is that still a turn on? Has that ever been a turn on?

I am still contemplating if I am really going through with this and suddenly he grabs me and plants his lips solidly on mine. Ok I guess we are going ahead with this then. His lips are soft. I think he put on chap-stick for this. He is good at this. I can feel his left hand run up the nape of my back. Suddenly His left hand glides into my hair. I’m glad I wore it loose. His hand caresses my head while his right hand takes a firm hold of my buttocks. I find myself sighing into his mouth. He notices and squeezes my arse tighter. He lifts me up as if it’s no effort at all. That a first. I am now sitting on the Xerox machine and I can feel him against me. I hike up my skirt and wrap my legs around his back. I can feel him rubbing up against me. He is bigger than I imagined. Not that I ever imagined his penis. Who am I kidding? Of course I did. This is it. I slide off my lace thong and do the first thing I can think of and fling it at him. It swooshes straight past him and lands in the recycle bin. He pulls out from the kiss and looks at me. Smiling. He is biting his bottom lip and I want him as much as a fat kid wants cake.

This is it. It’s happening. I am going to bang this fine specimen right here. I undo his belt.  Slowly unzipping his pants to expose his very-happy-to-see-me-friend and there’s a knock at the door with a very annoyed Michael screaming “Hurry up, I have shit to get done for the 1:30pm meeting”.

Shit. Balls. Fuck. We were so close. I don’t think I have ever seen a man do a belt buckle that fast. I am surprised he didn’t catch something in the fly. I pull my skirt back down and fluff my hair into a semi decent looking quaff. I grab a hand full of papers and unlock the door as if nothing ever happened. I hate you Michael.

Mark heads to his desk and throws me a quick smile and brushes his hair down before disappearing into his cubical. How the hell I am suppose to write now? And a children’s book at that.

I download me emails to distract me.

Spam

Spam

Winter – Ill get to her in second.

OOH my magazine came. It’s the new issue of Flat White Concepts. It’s the photography issue this month.  Great tonight’s reading material is taken care of.  Maybe I should tell Winter to subscribe.  It seems like something she would like. I think I remember Michael saying something about the Mag  needing some illustration done. Then Winter should definitely give it a look-see.

Talking about Winter.

 

To: Winter
From: Iris
Attached: revised – feathers and fur
RE RE: Oops, wine

Hi Winter.

 Its fabulous. I love the style and whimsy of the layout. I think we are a go on the first book. No need to send me inked copies. I am quite happy to proceed. I’d like to do a wording and illustration layout in the next week or so? Will that work for you?

Listen sorry for the sop story and thank you for being so cool about it. Didn’t mean to off load to you. But for some reason it’s just easier to talk to you than it is to a therapist. Gosh where were you 10 years ago? I could have saved me a fortune. I think you brought your friend some comfort. You sure seem to comfort me.

I just had the MOST AWKWARD thing happen to me. I VERY nearly got lucky with this incredibly hot man in my office. And MICHAEL cock blocked me. The douche. I meant to ask you. How do you know him? I’ve worked with him for 5 years now and he is still a dark horse to me.

Btw, wanted to tell you about this online magazine I read. Flat White Concepts. Coffee lovers and more. I heard they might be looking for some illustration work. I have attached the link for you to have a look at. The publisher’s name is Kirsten. Maybe pop her a mail?

Listen I have to get going. I have to submit the second book to the proof readers before I can send it to you. It’s still title-less.

Speak soonest.

Iris.

Om my holy crackers. My underwear is still lying in the recycle bin. Fuck my life.

 

 

Chapter 16.

Chapter 16.

 

Read Chapter 15 here with Cupcake

I hate this day. Maybe even more than yesterday. Wine hangovers are the worst. At least it’s Saturday. It’s one of those do-nothing kind of days but I have ignored my admin for far too long. The due date for the book is getting closer.

I can hear my Mother in the back of my head screaming “exercise!” She emailed me adds for weight loss pills again. According to her if you aren’t a perfect 10 you’re a heart attack waiting to happen.

Fine mom. I’m going.

I pack my laptop and take the long road to walk to the park. Its dandelion season and they are everywhere. I pick one up and take a photo. I blow it to the wind and watch the seeds dance in the breeze as they float away. A grand concept don’t you think? You get picked, blown in a random direction and there you put your roots and bloom. Happily. If only humans worked like that. Wait no. I don’t want to be touched and blown by random passersby. Ew.

I reach the park and it’s quite for a Saturday. Fine by me. I climb the platform for the first time. Seeing I am all alone in the park. Not a bad spot to just sit and read …or write. HAH who m I kidding.

I fling open the laptop and start downloading mails. I have good connection here. The sun is ever so slightly peeking past the leaves and branches of the thick over growth above and warming my back. It’s kind of comforting, winter sunlight. I loosen my hair by taking the paintbrush out. If you can’t let your hair down on Saturdays when can you. I lay it next to my laptop bag. The leather one Michael brought me from India. It is my favourite and I shall use it until it falls apart and he brings me a new one.

Downloading emails…

Winter wrote back. Shit she knows something’s up. Fuck it. Might as well talk to her about it. Save some money on therapy.

Here goes nothing.

Email: To Winter

From: Iris

Subject: Oops, Wine.

Hey Winter,

Wine should come with warning labels “Do not operate electronics while intoxicated”

FIRSTLY – Happy birthday. May this be your year to bloom no matter where life blows you.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of my little brother and a dear family friend’s son. We were very close and the day hurts more each year. Not less like romance novels would have you believe. I could have prevented this tragedy from happening all those years ago. No matter how many times I have been told it’s not my fault. It pretty much boils down to me being the shittest big sister alive.  My little brother and his best friend were the family favourites. My parents had my sister and I left. He was an only child. Actually He was deaf like you. I can’t remember how he lost his hearing but it was also due to an illness.

I miss them.

You remind me of Antonio. My brother’s friend.  He was a special soul.  Now that you have a little back ground on my cat and my duck, lets write (and draw) a fucking best seller shall we?

Hope to hear from you soon.

 Iris

***

Shit. I am half way home when I realise I left the paintbrush up on the platform.

 

Chapter 14.

Chapter 14.

Read Chapter 13 here with Cupcake.

I got a reply on my mail to Winter.  But I can barely focus on anything today. Today marks the anniversary of that day. The day that everything changed.  Fuck , I hate this day.

I sit at my desk at work and people interact with me but I am numb. Everything is one giant grey blur. It feels like I am sinking. Why doesn’t this get better with time? My family lights a candle in remembrance for my brother every year on this day. That’s their way of dealing.  I still don’t understand how one tiny little light could ever compare to the light he was. In so many people’s lives.

The Mateo’s had fresh ciabatta delivered to my office this morning. Just as they have done every year since.  Noah delivered it. Wrapped in blue and white striped linen. This year was different though. It had a note. A note that broke my heart into a thousand little pieces and scattered it in the rain outside.

“Iris,

Eat child.

All our love.

Mateos”

 

“All our love” I don’t deserve love from anyone. How could I ever accept it from them? I killed what their love created and yet they show such kindness. I should have been me.

***

I pour my 5th glass of wine and weave my fingers around the glass. Sometimes wine is so good it needs to be hugged. I break a piece of the ciabatta off and dip it in fresh balsamic vinegar I bought from the farmers market. As I stuff my tipsy face with carbs I remember last years delivery from Noah. He had two stops to make that day and when I enquired about the other delivery her said it was for the Mateo’s daughter.  It must have been a joke or mistake because they never had other children.  I wonder who she was.

I open my email but my head is fuzzy with wine and my eyes are hazy with tears. Stupid tears. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I hit reply to Winter.

 

I read her mail again first. Shit. She is deaf? Holy balls.

Email: To Winter

From: Iris

RE RE: So whatcha doing?

Hi Winter,

 

Work looks good. Please continue on the same trend.

You are a wonderful illustrator. The easiest I have ever worked with at least.  Only 5 years you say? Michael made it sound like more. 

My condolences for spot. I have dog that hates me. He pisses on my bed every chance he gets. I have taken him to the vet and he is totally healthy. The vet told me to talk to him, let him get to know me. Nope that didn’t work. Dog still hates me. He is probably pissing on my duvet as I am typing this.

So sorry to hear about your hearing. That sounds wrong. But you know what I mean. God I hope you do.

Well I am pretty uninteresting. I have been a writer for most my life. An unsuccessful one for most my life too. I have no man in my life.  I am not sure I want one. I hate oatmeal and the smell of fresh fish. I eat most things and share your sentiments on fresh bread and pasta. According to me, warm fresh bread can save a life.

 

Hits send.

 

It saved mine today.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 12.

Chapter 12.

Read Chapter 11 here with Cupcakemummy

Shit. I’m late for work. Again. I twirl my paintbrush through my hair for it to hold up my messy bun. I have become quite fond of my paintbrush. Its 9am and right now I don’t care what anyone has to say about wearing stationary as cloths. I just need to get to that meeting. Off all days why did I have to over sleep today. It’s the publisher meeting for goodness sake.

Made it work just in time to run past the office kitchen and stuff my face with a bagel. While I am wiping the crumbs off my blouse Mark opens the meeting and introduces everyone in turn around the table. “Vince, our PR manager…John, our assistant editor…Iris, the children’s book author.”  Bloody hell Mark, hold your horses. The book isn’t even illustrated yet and he sounds ready to push it into the nearest book store.

I suffer through a further 2 hours of budgets, PR campaigns and “Iris, please don’t refer to children as little twats” At the end of the meeting I get up to shake everyone’s hands  and as I lean forward over the table my blouse pops its top button exposing me to the entire room. (Who happen to all be males) God I am classy. Thank god I wore lace today. I of course handled it like a champ and still shook everyone’s hands with my tits hanging out. As one does. Hey maybe they will like me more now.

At my desk I keep a box of safety pins, because I am me and this is not my first case of public indecency. I pin my blouse together and carry one with days grind. Ignoring the fact that Mark is still looking at me like I am edible. It’s amazing, we have worked together for 4 years and it takes my boobs hanging out for him to notice me. What did he think was under my shirt? Rolled up socks?

 ***

Winter mailed me, I mailed her back last night quickly. Crap I think I told her about therapy. I really shouldn’t respond to mails while drinking wine. I think she gets the whole black and white world – idea now. Maybe she gets me more than I realise. Hope not. Then again, I haven’t had a female friend since…well…since ever. Chicks can be such bitches. Guys are just easier to deal with. My sister and I were never close. Personally I think Emma blames me for…that day. It’s never been the same since. Or she could just be an unpleasant person. I am opting to go with the latter.

Better mail her back. I need the first rough layout by Friday.

Email : To: Winter

              From: Iris

              Subject: So whatcha doing?

 

Hi Winter,

God please don’t think I’m crazy. Therapy isn’t court mandated I swear.        

Please let her get the joke. She might attempt to have me committed.

I’m just trying to work through some issues. One of which is the pending children’s book I accidently created. One should not drink and write. It’s nearly as fatal as drinking and driving.

Should I leave that “accidental” in there? Meh, fuck it.

Anyway, Mark has informed me we need to submit our first layout by Friday. Think you can manage this?  5 days enough for rough sketches? I hope so, I kinda already told Mark we will be good to go.

Listen Winter, I hope you don’t mind the slightly more informal tone of this mail. Might as well get to know each other since we will be working quite close together for the next few weeks. So…tell me about yourself.

Regards,

Iris.

Right, let’s see where this goes.

 

 

Chapter 8.

Read chapter 7 here with Cupcakemummy.

 

The Duck and the Cat

Quacks and Meows

Stupid cat and stupid duck

Crappy children’s book

Chinese food

Feathers and Fur

Yeah ok, the last one we can work with. Personally I thought “Book 1” had a certain rustic charm about it. But what do I know. I only sold half a million copies of my first novel titled “Tits in the rain”.

(It was an acronym okay) Then again maybe I sold half a million because it had the word “tits” in the title. Actually I have often wondered how many horny guys bought the book thinking it was pages and pages of wonderfully perky wet boobs. I wish my boobs were perkier.

I need to mail back that illustrator. I hadn’t really thought about a contract but to be honest, I don’t really care either. Colour Media pays. Jobs hers. I think I have a standard agreement somewhere. Her sketches are good though. Like really good. But I’m not gonna tell her just yet. Why does everyone have to better at everything than me. I am such a fucking failure.

Email: To: Winter

             From: Iris

             Attached: Illustration Agreement Colour Media House

             Subject: Feathers and Fur

 

  Hi Winter,

            Attached is the standard agreement for Colour Media. I hope you find it in order. Please give  them a shout if you want to know or change something. Thank you for the base sketches. They are adequate. We can work on it if you wish to continue this project. The duck is too…happy. They are lonely, sad creatures. I feel this needs to be highlighted more.

Maybe she won’t notice how insecure I am about my work. Obituaries are better written than my latest stuff.

            We can discuss this further once I have written an alternate.

My first novel was famous for having two endings. Giving the reader the choice to end it off in the way they see fit. Why shouldn’t my children’s book have one? The kid can decide how he wants it to end. Preparing for the real world. Where all you do as an adult is make choices every day. Korn Flakes or Rice Crispies, Hair loose or hair up, tea or coffee, left or right, A or B. Might as well write it, like life.

          Would I be able to give you a call to discuss the some design ideas I had in mind?                                 What do you think of the book done completely in black and white?

She will probably flip her lid for that comment. Her base sketches were pretty colourful.

         Let me know.

        Regards,

        Iris.

RING RING RING – I see Eliots name pop up on the screen. I slide my finger across the screen to avoid the call. I haven’t been to therapy in 3 weeks now. Screw Therapy.