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The Flood: Sample Chapter
Allow me to introduce you to my friends…
The text alert pierced my ear drums like someone had just plunged a needle into the side of my head. Blinking hard, my eyes momentarily struggled to recognise my own bedroom. The stench of beer farts lingered in the air. I smacked my lips together and the stale odour of kebab seeped out from the depths of my bowels, making me feel nauseous. I groaned and pulled the pillow to my face, burping as I did so and filling the small pocket of space in which I had given myself to breathe with the aroma of last night’s Tequila shots.
My body felt like it had been gripped in a vice all night. I ached everywhere. My temples throbbed, my pulse pounded away at the side of my head like it was miniature mallet. My mind wandered back to New Year’s Day, the last time I had inflicted this much pain on myself. That morning I had woken to 47 irate voicemail messages from my ex-girlfriend Stacey after one of our more futile arguments. God I hoped I had not experienced another night like that.
I arched my body back and in doing so I triggered a movement from behind me. I froze as the foreign body pressed up against me for warmth. Momentarily I was paralysed with shock at the realisation that I was not alone. Immediately I started to try and recall last night’s events, but the hangover was clouding my memory. I had to think fast. No doubt I only had a couple of minutes before I was going to have to have that awkward morning after conversation with this girl lying in my bed behind me; the least I could do is to remember how we met. Heck, even remembering her name would be a good start.
I racked my brain and tried to retrace my steps, which wasn’t easy considering the frantic pinball machine that was tumultuously ricocheting from one side of my skull to the other. Start at the beginning I thought to myself.
Okay, baby steps. It must be Sunday morning because yesterday was Saturday. I know it was Saturday because that’s when the lads had come over to help me pack for the big move to my new flat in Clapham later on today. And Sunday comes immediately after Saturday!
Look, I’ll be the first to admit that Sherlock Holmes need not worry about someone else muscling in on his patch and matching his investigative skills, but as anyone who has woken still half-drunk from the previous night’s antics will testify to, even remembering that English is your first language can be classed as a pretty impressive achievement.
It had taken us nearly all day to pack my stuff up and after a hard day’s work I had rewarded my troops with a well-deserved cold pint down at The Crown to replenish their energy. See, that’s the type of guy I am; Daniel Hilles – do a good deed for me, and I’ll buy you alcohol. And before you knew it, one well-deserved beer had turned into seven or eight.
My iPhone, clearly irate that I hadn't responded immediately, reminded me for a second time that I had an unanswered message and the alert cut through the morning silence once again, causing the stranger behind me to nudge me in the back and thrust the smartphone into my hands. No doubt she was feeling the same morning after pneumatic drill sensation that I was experiencing.
Then she farted.
And I’m not talking about a small quiet girly flatulence that the lady might blush and giggle about either. I’m talking a rip-roaring, deep, trombone-styled prolonged toot; the smell of which was like a rat had crawled under my bed and died during the night.
What sort of monster had I brought home with me? I panicked. It wasn’t as if I could sneak out and make a run for it, we were in my bedroom for crying out loud. She draped her hand over me and pulled me closer. God she was strong, I had no option but to give in to her request to spoon. I remained motionless, feeling her heavy breath against my neck.
Who was she? Think Dan, think! Then I remembered. Around closing time we had started talking to a group of girls out on a hen do. One of the girls was called Katrina and had made a beeline for me just as we were leaving. If I was being kind I’d call her big-boned, and if I was honest I’d call her a hippopotamus. It must be her. It had to be her. I couldn’t remember bringing her back to my place, but then again I’d only just about worked out it was Sunday via the process of daily elimination. Damn it, Hurricane Katrina had blasted her way into my bedroom.
My next move was crucial. I had to use the tact and finesse of an escape artist, the craft and guile of a master tactician, the cunning and bravery of a lion.
Or as some might describe it as, the cowardice act of a man who was going to do their utmost to bullshit their way out of a one night stand I already knew I was not interested in repeating. That lingering dead rat smell had put paid to that.
A second nudge, this one catching me sharply in the ribs and causing me to release a small gasp of breath. Then she grunted, a murmured release of frustration which sprayed the back of my neck. But there was something familiar about that grunt, so rough and gruff that my stomach turned at the thought that maybe I’d recognised it as one of her groans of passion.
‘Are you two comfortable?’ A voice asked from behind me, but this time the sound was more distant, not directly behind me, and this time I definitely knew this voice. This was a voice I’d known since primary school. It belonged to my best pal Rob, but what it was doing in my bedroom whilst I clearly had female company in my bed didn’t add up. I wasn’t exactly in the habit of inviting my pals around to ogle at my latest conquests. I’m not one of those guys who likes to be watched during the act. That’s how rumours start and reputations get ruined.
Rob’s presence took me my surprise to say the least and I quickly spun my head around to respond, but in doing so I head-butted the figure behind me.
‘Ouch!’ they groaned, and it was at that point I was able to crane my neck back to get a good look at the person spooning me.
‘Ollie?’ I said in horror. ‘What the hell are you doing?!’ I shrieked, scrambling my way to the side of the bed, pulling the covers with me to reveal a very naked Ollie. ‘And why are you naked?!’
‘This is so wrong I don’t even know where to start,’ Rob said, who was hunched up in the corner on a bean bag, his jacket pulled over him to keep him warm.
‘I always sleep naked,’ Ollie informed me without a hint of acknowledgement in his voice that this was bloody weird. ‘I prefer the feeling of freedom.’
‘What made you think it was okay to jump in bed with me with all that –‘ I paused at the sight his horrible hairy testicles which gave me the overwhelming feeling of wanting to shower and cleanse myself there and then ‘– freedom hanging out?’ I finally managed to finish.
Ollie simply rubbed his forehead and scratched at his man regions, before tugging back at the duvet.
‘Because it was bloody cold on the floor so I jumped into your bed in the middle of the night.’ His six-foot-four frame overpowered me and he easily wrestled the cover away from me.
‘If you were so cold, why didn’t you keep your bloody clothes on?’ I asked, jumping out of bed and wrapping my Rocky Balboa dressing gown around me as I did so.
‘I would have thought that was obvious,’ Rob chuckled to himself. ‘You know, when one man loves another man…’
‘Shut it.’ I wasn’t in the mood for jokes, not with this headache, and certainly not with a naked Ollie next to me.
‘Answer that friggin’ text!’ Ollie shouted at me. ‘Some of us are trying to sleep over here.’
I scooped up my phone and opened my messages.
Hi love, your dad and I will be at your flat at 10am. Make sure you are ready. Mum x
Shit, it was 9.55am. ‘We’ve overslept!’ I shouted at the others, but neither of them moved. Ollie just pulled the pillow over his head and Rob remained huddled in the corner. ‘Come on, my parents will be here soon to help with the move,’ I shouted at them in an attempt to create some urgency. ‘And where is Jack?’
Rob simply pointed his thumb towards the door and pulled the hood of his jacket across his face. I plundered my way towards the living room, tripping on a random shoe that was sprawled across the floor, causing me to ram my knee into the bed post. I hopped out into the hallway and opened the front door to peer outside. The coast was clear, for now.
‘Jack, wake up!’ I cried as I staggered into the living room, still clutching my knee. Much to my pleasant surprise Jack was already awake, sitting upright on the couch with a white sheet draped across him, watching TV. ‘Oh good, you’re awake. Come on, my folks are going to be here any minute.’
‘No worries, I’ll be right there,’ Jack said with an awkward grin across his face. ‘Just give me five minutes.’
‘We don’t have five minutes,’ I fired back. But something wasn’t right here. I scanned the room. ‘What are you up to?’
‘Nothing,’ he protested in that cheeky-chappy cockney accent, his palms raised in front of his chest defensively. ‘That’s a great dressing gown you’re wearing.’
‘Thanks,’ I stuttered. ‘It was a gift from Kelly.’
‘That’s just swell,’ he said, which was odd because he never used words like swell. ‘How is the lovely Kelly these days?’
‘She’s fine, just fine,’ I was flustered, not in the mood for small talk.
‘That’s just swell.’
I looked at him suspiciously and scanned the room again. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. On the TV screen there was an image of a red sofa, not too dissimilar to the diary room chair they use on Big Brother.
‘What is this?’ I said, pointing towards the TV. ‘Is Big Brother back on again already?’
‘Oh yeah,’ Jack said, nodding profusely. ‘Bloody load of rubbish if you ask me. I hate all that reality TV.’ He puffed out his cheeks. ‘Anyway, you’d better get a move on before your folks get here.’
‘Okay, I’ll be back,’ I said in my best Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation, which coerced Jack into an over exaggerated fit of laughter. I gave him a quizzical look before scanning the room one last time and then turned to exit the living room.
‘Has he gone yet?’ I heard a feint Eastern European accent ask from behind me.
‘Who was that?’ I spun around, my eyes darting around the room once again.
‘I didn’t hear anything,’ Jack shrugged.
‘Shhhhh,’ I held my finger up to my lips, perusing the living room even more closely than before.
‘Can I come out now?’ the voice asked, and this time my eyes were drawn to the coffee table where my cordless house phone sat on top of. I tip-toed towards it, eyeing Jack up distrustfully as I did so.
‘I’ll get that,’ Jack said reaching out towards the phone, but I smacked his hand away and pressed the speakerphone button so we could both hear the voice out loud.
‘Hello?’ I hesitantly said.
‘Hello baby, can I come out now?’ the female Eastern European voice came through loud and clear.
I shot Jack a look and once again examined every square inch of my living room, fully expecting to see someone huddled underneath the dining table. ‘Yes, you can come out,’ I said, my eyes still searching for any sign of life.
And then I saw it, a pair of eyes peering out over the sofa at me.
Peering out over the red sofa on the television!
Slowly a blonde lingerie-clad model began to hoist herself up from behind the sofa on the screen. I rubbed my eyes and turned to Jack, who was now pretending to look as shocked as me.
‘Bloody Big Brother,’ he said to me, shaking his head. ‘I can’t believe they allow this sort of thing on at this time in the morning.’
‘Do you want me to spank myself again you bad, bad boy?’ the voice again came through crystal clear over the phone handset, her lips moving in perfect time with those of the blonde model’s lips on the TV screen.
‘What the hell is going on here?’ my face went red with rage as I turned to Jack and demanded an explanation.
‘I am about to…’ she paused. ‘How did you tell me to say it again?’ Another pause. ‘Oh yes, hold your sausage hostage,’ the semi-naked blonde babe finally answered.
‘Can we take a quick timeout Slutvanna,’ Jack said. ‘We have a small problem here.’
‘Don’t worry baby, I can help you grow that small problem into a big one if you like?’
‘I bet you could you filthy little…’
‘Jack!’ I shouted, breaking him out of his perverted-like trance. ‘This is not Big Brother. This is one of those live sex chat TV channels! These things cost a fortune!’
‘How do you know how much they cost?’
‘Er, well…’ damn it, he had me. ‘That’s not the point! What’s wrong with you for crying out loud? Can’t you control yourself for five friggin’ minutes?’
‘I’m sorry!’ Jack shouted back. ‘It’s not easy living with an addiction to sexy women.’ He screwed his face up at me like a petulant child.
‘Oh thank you babe,’ Slutvanna expressed her gratitude to Jack from the TV via my phone.
‘Anytime sweet cheeks,’ Jack said, peering around my body which was now positioned between him and the TV.
‘Jack!’ I shouted to get his attention again.
But then it dawned on me as I looked down at him, the sheet strategically placed across his lap, a box of Kleenex seated on the sofa next to him. ‘Oh my God, please tell me you weren’t masturbating in my living room?’
Jack paused, crossing his arms and averting eye contact in a sulk. ‘If you had just given me five minutes like I asked…’
‘You have got to be kidding me!’ I was now nearing a state of hysterics, but time was not on my side. ‘Right, we can deal with this later but right now I need you to get up, get ready and get this porn off the TV before my parents get here.’ I stomped my way towards the living room door.
‘I can’t get it off,’ Jack said, leaning across the back of the sofa towards me. ‘This was already on the TV when I came in this morning.’
‘So?’ The impatience in my voice was all too apparent.
‘So I didn’t think it would be right to waste the opportunity…’
‘I’m not talking about your sick perversions,’ I cut Jack off. ‘Why can’t you turn it off?
‘Oh yeah, that. Well when I heard you coming in I panicked because I couldn’t find the remote control so I told Slutvanna to hide.’
‘I did good didn’t I baby?’ Slutvanna asked for Jack’s approval.
‘You did fantastic,’ Jack said turning back to the TV with a combination of lust and pride in his eyes.
I stared blankly in disbelief at the situation in front of me, trying to take in the sheer absurdness of what was unravelling in front of my very eyes. It was so ludicrous it was almost funny, but that thought quickly disappeared as the living room door swung open and caught me square on the back of the head.
‘Yoo-hoo, only me,’ my mother greeted us as she entered the living room followed by my dad. ‘The door was open so we just let ourselves in.’
‘Hi mum,’ I nervously said as I hugged my mum, mouthing to Jack behind her back to find the remote and turn the TV off.
‘Hi Mr and Mrs Hilles,’ Jack said, rigorously patting all around the couch for the missing remote control, all the time holding the sheet across him to protect his nakedness.
‘Hi dad,’ I greeted my father, who was already giving Jack a quizzical look before his eyes moved up to the TV screen.
‘Do you like my honkers, as you called them?’ was the sentence Slutvanna decided would be the perfect way to reintroduce herself back into the conversation.
‘Oh my!’ my mother practically jumped out of her skin as she too clocked the image of Slutvanna slipping off her bra on my TV. ‘What are you boys watching?’
‘Mum, I can explain…’ and I trailed off as I quickly realised that quite simply, I had no idea how to explain this.
‘Can she see us?’ My mum wandered around to the TV screen and waved her hand in front of it, like someone might do to a blind person to make sure they really can’t see. ‘Is this one of those Swipe computer call thingy’s?’
‘Er, not exactly mum,’ I nervously replied.
‘It’s called a Skype call,’ my dad corrected my mum. ‘But this is an entirely different type of call altogether.’ My father eyeballed me, his look said it all. I could tell the man in him was pleased to see a hot topless Eastern European woman, but the father in him thought I was a strange pervert for hanging out with my half-naked pal watching porn at 10am in the morning.
‘Hello love,’ my mum started saying into the TV. ‘What is your name?’
‘My name is Slutvanna,’ came the response from the speakerphone.
‘Slutvanna?’ my mum screwed up her face as she looked back at us. ‘Well, put some clothes on dear. You’ll catch a death standing there like that. And come on now, that’s not your real name is it?’
Slutvanna finished clasping the back of her bra back together, sat on the edge of the sofa and without warning buried her head into her hands and started sobbing. ‘That is the first time since I've been here that anyone has asked me what my real name is.’
Okay, time for a quick time out because I know what you’re thinking – this is absurd. This is so far-fetched that I refuse to read any further. You’re thinking I’ve only just met this Dan guy and he expects me to believe this crap? Look, I’m with you – I wouldn’t believe it either; that is unless I hadn’t lived in my own skin for the past 25 years. But this is my life. These are my friends and this is the sort of shit they seem to get me involved in.
Oh, you don’t believe me? Read on, it gets better.
‘Don’t cry dear,’ my mum scornfully turned to me and Jack. ‘What have you two boys been making this poor girl do all morning?’ she asked in a harsh whisper as though she didn’t want Slutvanna to hear.
‘Don’t look at me,’ I said defensively, pointing at Jack. ‘It was Jack who was making her spank herself.’ Looking back, it probably wasn’t the best response I could have given my mother considering the situation.
‘Tell me your real name,’ my mum asked Slutvanna again, turning back to the TV as she sat down on the corner of the coffee table like she was Oprah Winfrey interviewing a guest.
‘My name is Veronika. I came here from Latvia two months ago,’ Slutvanna – or Veronika as she had now revealed herself to be – started to explain to my mother through the TV via the speakerphone. ‘I thought I would make nice money when I got job on TV, but all I do is speak to horrible little men talking dirty talk to me all day, making me do degrading things like smack my bum.’
‘Hey, I didn’t ask you to spank yourself!’ Jack hit back.
‘Not the time Jack,’ I said through gritted teeth, not that the little twerp took any notice of me.
‘I wanted her to get her bra off straight away. I’m not even into spanking that much,’ and Jack turned to my father. ‘You look like a boob man Mr Hilles, so you understand right?’
‘Enough Jack!’ This time I clipped Jack around the back of the head. ‘And end this phone call. How much is this costing me?’
‘Four pounds a minute,’ Veronika responded through sobs, a tear sliding down her cheek at just the right pace to tug at my mother’s heart strings.
‘Four pounds a minute?’ I was flabbergasted and scooped the phone up. ‘I’m hanging up now.’
‘Don’t you dare,’ my mother said in a tone of voice I had not heard since I was five-years-old when she had caught me decorating the kitchen walls with my crayons. ‘Ignore them love,’ my mum once again shot me a disapproving look. ‘Carry on.’
‘I just wanted to find a nice job and a nice man to love me,’ Veronika continued to melt my mother’s heart with her tale of woe, tears now streaming down her face. It was as good as any emotional confession you’d get from a hopeful contestant on The X Factor.
With that the living room door swung open again and Rob entered the room. ‘Morning everyone,’ he greeted my father with a handshake and then made his way over to my mother to kiss her on the cheek. ‘Good morning Mrs Hilles, you look beautiful as always,’ he said turning on the charm offensive as only Rob could do. He then clocked a semi-naked crying Veronika on TV and his expression was pretty much the same as the one you’ve got on your face right now.
‘Robert!’ my mum said hugging him. ‘Just the person I need. Come sit here next to me. Veronika, sitting with me is a lovely young man. Robert meet Veronika.’
‘Hi Veronika,’ Rob said, turning to me and shrugging his shoulders with an expression that asked what the hell is going on. Still, Rob was never one to miss an opportunity with a pretty girl and he turned back to the TV like it was the most normal thing in the world. ‘It’s very nice to meet you.’
‘Robert, I want you to take this nice girl out and show her a good time. She deserves to be treated like a princess.’
‘It would be my pleasure Mrs Hilles.’
Unbelievable. See what I told you? You couldn’t make this shit up.
I watched on in complete disbelief as my mother helped Rob and Veronika swap contact details, all at four pounds a bloody minute! God knows what the population of perverted men up and down the country must have been thinking that morning as they watched on with their pants and trousers around their ankles, wondering if Slutvanna would ever start spanking herself again.
Finally the arrangements for the date had been made and I was given permission to end the phone call.
‘Daniel, you could learn a lot about being a gentleman from your friend Robert,’ my mum said to me. I turned to Rob, who was grinning like a Cheshire Cat. I couldn’t believe my mother could stitch me up like this. That phone call probably cost me at least a hundred quid and it was bloody Rob who was going to reap the benefits.
‘Morning all,’ Ollie said as he bounded into the room; luckily he'd found a pair of boxer shorts and a t-shirt to wear. He slumped down beside Jack on the sofa and placed the TV remote control down on to the coffee table.
‘What are you doing with the remote control?’ I barked at him, my patience now at boiling point.
‘I couldn’t sleep during the night so I came in here and had a bit of a chat with some chick called Slutvanna on the TV,’ Ollie said as nonchalantly as you like. ‘Oh look, there she is,’ he said excitedly pointing and waving at the television, that big dopey grin stretched wide across his round face. ‘Hi Slutvanna, it’s me, Ollie! Are you going to spank yourself again?’
Sex, Love & Dating Disasters: The Flood will be available from Amazon and all good bookstores from March 2016.