View Full Version : A Man of Two Halves (600 words)

Kieran S
September 2nd, 2014, 09:58 PM
Hi all,

This is the first time I've posted work here, but to see who I am have a look at my intro here (http://www.writingforums.com/threads/150077-Hello-from-Lanzarote). You can also look at my profile page (http://www.writingforums.com/members/57018-Kieran-S) to see more. The text below is the first half of a short story that was inspired when I was living on the holiday island of Lanzarote. There was an underbelly to it that tourists never got to see, and having been part of the stationary circus there for years, I'm trying to lift the curtain a little and show people what they never see on holidays. And of course, I want to entertain and amuse people as well.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, especially the stuff I don't want to hear, such as what people don't like about this work, be it content, style, language, etc. :-)

Having said that, I hope you enjoy reading about Nevillie Buzzbee, the man of two halves...

A Man of Two Halves

by Kieran S

You will no doubt have heard many first-, second-, and third-rate football pundits describe a sporting encounter as being a game of two halves. But what are we to make of Neville Buzzbee, who is best described as a man of two halves?

Bear with me valued reader, and you will hear the straightforward explanation to my question. By way of background, I should inform you that this particular man is short and stocky in build, mid-50s in age, and has a small, close-cropped head. His posture and stride are fine and vertical, suggesting past servitude in the Armed Forces. He has a tanned, familiar face, and he used to frequent a smoky downstairs bar when I worked there years ago.

The first time I saw Neville Buzzbee turned out to be our second encounter. A colleague and I were turning up stools on tables and finishing work for the night, when I asked about the army-type fella who was in the bar earlier. My colleague had greeted him warmly when he entered.

‘That’s Neville’, he said, ‘He comes here on holidays a few times a year… not always with the wife.’

He continued, ‘That was the wife tonight though. He was here last month with an, ahem, younger female friend. Remember the woman in that black mini-dress?’

I then remembered the first time I’d seen Neville. He was with that babe in the black dress, who was surely 20 years his junior.

For the next few months, Neville presented himself for inspection at regular intervals in our bar. He would arrive no earlier than 10.15pm, and no later than 10.30pm. Sometimes, old Mrs. Buzzbee was with him, and sometimes young Miss Mini-Dress would be on his arm. When he was with Mrs. Buzzbee, he smelled of Old Spice and drank pints of lager at a measured pace. But in Miss Mini-Dress’s company, he had a lighter, perfumed smell, and he drank brandy as if it was being scooped quickly out of a big punch bowl.

He would wear pastel shirts and comfortable slacks with his wife, which showed off his slightly paunched belly. With the mistress however, he wore loose faded jeans and polo shirts with the collar up, which gave him the vague air of a not-long retired professional footballer. Neville and wife didn’t dance and never stayed more than an hour in the bar. On alternate visits however, he was a regular Fred Astaire, the last to leave the floor and having to be almost kicked out of the premises at closing time.

Stories and urban legends about Neville’s duplicity grew fast. Local gossips discussed at length the rights and wrongs of his behaviour. The conclusions fell on predictable sexist lines. In general, women thought him a cad and a bounder, or words to this effect. Men, on the other hand, were more forgiving. Some even considered his affair no more than an expensive form of masturbation.

Us locals now eagerly anticipated Neville’s holidays. What type of car would he rent? A sensible three-door sedan, or a vroomy open-top convertible? Would he visit a romantic fish restaurant with candles and violins in the harbour, or would it be more fish, chips and mushy peas during Happy Hour in The British Bulldog?

The big question, however, was rarely asked. Maybe it wasn’t exciting enough for people. And it was this: why in god’s name did Neville bring his mistress to the same holiday island that he visited with his wife?

At this remove, we can never know the true answer, but based on nothing more than observing his behaviour over the space of those few months, let me propose the following simple hypothesis on Neville Buzzbee’s apparently reckless behaviour…

I will post the second half in a few days. Thanks for reading.


September 2nd, 2014, 11:24 PM
Kieran, interesting style, a different pace in the beginning than through out the rest of your work.

This line seemed to stop the flow for me, it just seemed out of sequence. or maybe not even needed.
My colleague had greeted him warmly when he entered.

You started out with a very personal banter with the reader, "I liked that" and then drifted into an accounting of the facts, almost kind of on the dry side. I think that if you can keep it personal, and keep up the banter between you and the reader you really have a good piece. Technically it looks good to me I saw no corrects, but I am not the guy to point that kind of stuff out.

Welcome to the forum, I read your bio, kind of hard to not like a guy like you, based on what you shared...Bob

Kieran S
September 3rd, 2014, 08:38 PM
Thanks very much Bob.

I understand what you mean about the change in pace and style after the first few lines. As far as I remember, I wrote this when I was in the middle of a collection of short stories by a particular author and can see now that I drifted into (i.e. imitated!) his style. It's very obvious now that you pointed out the two different parts - thanks again.