Authors: Emma Kaufmann
Ms Kate Pickles
96B Trumble Road
31 December 2010
Oh my dear, dear Egg,
I've done it. I've finally done it. Bagged myself a date with the hottest guy on the planet. He's called Will the Weasel (I'll explain the nickname later) and he's picking me up in forty-five minutes and thirty-two seconds.
I can just picture you reading this. You're lounging on that gorgeous huge pink linen sofa you have in the front room, the bay windows thrown open onto Sydney Harbour, a breast lodged in Baby Blair's mouth. Three year old Basil is busy doing a sketch with a black felt tip on the pale blue carpet, but you don't notice because you're too engrossed in this letter from your little sis. Sun streams onto your silky blonde tresses, which you're shaking back now, a look of disbelief crossing your face. Because I know I've boasted about having just met the man of my dreams before. And then it all turned to crap. But this is so, so different.
I've known him for a few months now, and for some reason he seems to like what he sees. So what if my hair is the colour of sludge and whatever product I squirt on my curls, they persist in looking like a giant mop? So what if I can grasp the flesh around my middle and still have enough flab left over to pad out a decent sized armchair? To the Weasel my snub nose, tiny raisin eyes and balloon shaped face are charm personified. He wants me Egg! This is going to be the year when everything starts happening for your baby sis, Kate Pickles (aka Gherkin). You'd better believe it baby!
Oh crap, I just dropped the piece of Black Forest Gateau I was stuffing my face with on this bit of writing paper. Okay, I've wiped the cream off and I think my writing's still legible. In any case I don't have a clue where I might have any writing paper hidden in this tip of a room and I don't want to start rooting around in Eva's pigsty next door either. I haven't got all night. In fact I've only got thirty-five minutes and twelve seconds. Just time to jot down my resolutions. And this time I promise I'm going to keep all of them.
Look, who am I kidding? I can pretend that I'm going to go out tonight and just sip a sparkling glass of champers and flirt like the blazes with the Weasel, and when he tries to jump my bones at the end of the night I'll give him one teensy weensy kiss (definitely no tongue) before slamming the door in his face. But dear God, and I apologize for being frank here, my girly bits are already melting and flowing and there's not a chance on earth that we won't consummate this thing tonight.
I'm £3,456.78 in debt to the Visa people. Don't look like that. You spend a ton of Donald's money on interior designers, and just because my weakness happens to be cake you're always admonishing me. That's why I've stopped calling you. It always ends up in a long lecture about self-control. How I could break my cake habit, if I really wanted to. All right, I'll admit I have a problem with buying and ingesting cake, but even I can't have spent £3,456.78 on sponge fingers and éclairs. The debt is much more likely to have been brought on by my attempts (unsuccessful, I need hardly add) to fashion the tan, toned, svelte body of my dreams out of the pinkish, hairy, bouncy one of my nightmares (the one I currently possess). You might not know because you've always been so effortlessly hippy-chick-Kate-Hudson-eat-yourheart-out flipping gorgeous that you never needed them, but body waxes and hair defrizzing treatments, cellulite removing creams and mud wraps, well, they don't come cheap. Is a little sympathy too much to ask?
What exactly are my interests? Food. Wine. That's about it. I could get a job in the Harvey Nichols food hall, but although their wild mushrooms are £13 per punnet, I'm sure their hourly rate is considerably lower.
Not that I particularly hate London. It has great shops and restaurants and all that, but I've lived here all my life and am beginning to feel that at twenty-six I wouldn't mind a change or a slow down or something.
Better still, 20 or 30. Being five foot four and on the curvy side every pound shows and I know I'd feel better in a size 10 rather than a 14. I just know it.
I've been doing quite well on this front. I often forget to think of him during whole episodes of Friends and for stretches of up to nine hours (I'm asleep at the time, does that count?) Seriously though, it's now coming up for a year since the bust up and I am getting over him. I'm just having great difficulty finding someone who matches up, especially in the bed department, where, as you know, he was the business. With the two guys I've dated since we broke up, the sex has been mostly of the so-what variety. I'd sometimes catch myself drifting off and compiling shopping lists during the act. And that never happened with Ben. Not once. That's got to be worth something, doesn't it?
I don't know if I told you but I've fantasized about murdering my boss at the Canter Agency where I'm a copywriter (real name Miss Craddock but when you've got a face like a fish what do you expect everyone'll be calling you behind your back?) ever since she joined ten months ago. It's at the point now where I realize that much as I'd like to finish her off with my own hands, I'm just not brave enough to do it. And though I'd love to enlist the services of a hit man you can't exactly look one up in the Yellow Pages. Where do you find one? Any ideas?
Eva and I owe three months back rent and if we don't pay up soon it looks like we'll probably be out on our ear by the end of the month. Not that I'm exactly attached to this tiny cramped flat. The bathroom has mould growing in its crevices, a toilet that is invariably blocked and a permanently jammed open window, so that in winter you have to bathe in an arctic draft.
I've mentioned our imminent eviction to Eva several times but she just laughs it off. She can't imagine the landlord will actually kick us out. Besides, her parents have a posh house in Eaton Square whereas as you know, mum and dad still have the old shack in Tufnell Park and rent both our rooms out to students (and no, they still haven't decorated since you left. It remains, with its swirly brown carpet and wood effect wallpaper, the very essence of hip, circa 1976).
Oh Egg, you just don't know how much I want this to work out between the Weasel and me. We first bumped into each other a few months back when he was on his way up to the studio at the advertising agency where I work. Eva (who works there as an account exec) told me later that he's called the Weasel because he has a past of being in trouble with the Old Bill (she's not sure for what exactly) and is therefore adept at bolting away from the long arm of the law and disappearing down dark allies, like a greased Weasel diving into its burrow. In any case, a most unfortunate nickname. So much sweeter to have nicknames that no one else knows about, like ours. I remember the day I decided (I was five at the time) that instead of calling you Laurie Pickles, it would be absolutely hilarious to call you Pickled Egg. So to get me back you (sophisticated eight year old that you were) started calling me Pickled Gherkin. And now, all these years later, I thank God that we've still managed to keep the (now truncated) names a secret. But I'm getting off the subject. Now where was I? Ah yes, back to Weasel Boy.
I don't know that he reminded me of a weasel on that first fateful meeting when I stepped into the lift, and pressed the button, but, as I ogled him out of the corner of my eye I was struck by his dark, slippery presence. Slowly, cautiously I turned toward him, taking in eyes the colour of jade and bare tan arms wrapped around his muscular torso. Above his perfect mouth was a trace of sweat. I racked my brain for something intriguing to say but my mind stayed stubbornly blank.
As he slid down the side of the lift, his eyes fixed on the ceiling, looking very cute and boyish, he managed to whisper, "I've got this thing about wasps and there's one up there." His voice was gravely with a cockney twang. Suddenly I felt weak at the knees. Not because I fancied him something rotten, which I did, but because you know what I'm like when it comes to wasps.
"Me too," I shrieked, crouching down beside him, stomach churning. I stared at my feet because I couldn't bear to look up at the wasp.
"I think it's heading our way," he said, his voice just above a whisper. "We're doomed."
"Saved by the bell," I said, as the door pinged open. We hurtled out and clutched at each other, panting and spewing out garbled words. Eventually he said, "You must think I'm mad."
"Not at all. No one understands how you can be scared of a little insect do they?"
"You're absolutely right." We shook out heads in mutual incredulity.
I said, "I was stung on the eyelid when I was six years old. I screamed and screamed. In the end I had to be sedated."
"You don't get over something like that."
"Where did it get you?"
"One crawled up inside my nose."
"Oh, how awful." I said, aware that my hands were still wrapped around his forearms. I clutched a little tighter. I looked at his nose, which was twisted slightly to the right as if it had been broken at some point in his dark past. He was so cool, so dangerous. And there was something about his crooked nose that was wildly sexy.
I knew there and then I had found my soul mate. We swapped numbers and begun to yack on the phone most evenings. Boy did we talk. Once we had covered everything there was to say about wasp phobias we veered into flirtatious banter in which he confessed he found curly haired women erotic. Soon we'd thrown caution to the wind and were discussing our sexual fantasies. His involved being dominated by small curvy women and mine revolved around punishing naughty photographers for imaginary misdemeanours. I was dreaming about him every night and badgering him for a real life, flesh on flesh meeting. Twice we made a date to meet, which he cancelled at the last minute. So you can imagine how worked up I am that he's actually going to turn up for our date tonight.
Three minutes and twenty-four seconds to go. I'm applying a Lancôme lip gloss in Perky Peach when the doorbell goes.
It's not even eight o'clock. Shit he's early. Does that mean he's keen?
As I race off to open the door I'm wondering if this could work out. Do you think it could Egg?
I'm opening the door and just gawping at him, because he looks super hot. I try to control myself from running my fingers along his stubbly chin and attempt (then fail) to hold in my stomach as we walk to Camden Town Tube. Time speeds up because I'm giddy and excited. Soon we're hitting a few pubs and laughing and bonding and I'm drinking tequila slammers. And before I know, it we're at his mate's house party and I'm dancing with the Weasel and my head is spinning and all too soon it's midnight. A quick kiss gets my juices flowing and suddenly I'm impatient for us to leave. But it takes forever for him to say goodbye to all his friends and to find a taxi and then, finally, finally we're at his house. Just him and me.