The Writer


The girl at the table looked up from her book at the stranger. He was middle-aged, well-dressed and wore a watch that could pay off the national debt of a small country. She gave a smile, just enough to be polite, but not warm enough to encourage any further conversation, then returned to her book.

“I hate these soulless hotel bars. Do you mind if I sit here? Just so I’m not sitting on my own.”

She hesitated, but couldn’t think of a reason to deny him. “Sure,” she said, then rested her head on her hand, concentrating on the page before her.

“I’m Alastair.”


“Are you here on business?”

She nodded, not looking up from her book. It was hardly an inspired guess. It wasn’t the sort of hotel you spent a vacation in.

“What sort of business?”

She placed her finger on the page, marking her spot, then looked up.


“What sort of business are you in?”


“Cool. I’m a buyer. Maybe we should get together. Sorry, sorry, that sounded funny in my head. It just sounded creepy when I said it out loud though, didn’t it. Sorry.”

She shrugged and returned to her book.

“Look, sorry, I must come across as an awful creep. I just over-compensate, that’s all. I’m sorry. Look, Helen was it? Helen, let me make it up to you. Let me buy you a drink, and I promise I’ll leave you alone.”

“I don’t drink.”

“What, never?”


“Oh, okay. A salesperson that doesn’t drink. That’s a first. Is it a good book?”

Helen sighed, looked up from her book and sat back.

“Sorry, what was your name again?”


“Alastair, you’re probably a really nice guy, but here’s the deal. I have a boyfriend, I’m not lonely, I’m not drunk, I’m twenty years younger than you and I don’t do one night stands. I’m stuck in this hotel because I have to meet a customer tomorrow first thing. I don’t know if this is a good book or not, because you keep talking to me. I don’t want to be rude or anything. If you want to sit there, please, feel free. Just let me read my book in peace, okay?”

“Sure, sure. Sorry.”

She nodded her acceptance of the apology and returned to her book. Alastair looked at her for a few moments, sighed, then closed his eyes. A few seconds later, he opened them again.

“Your boyfriend, he’s a lucky guy.”

She nodded.

“You must miss him.”

She nodded again. “God yes,” she muttered.

“What do you miss most?”

“Just the physical contact, you know? Just being able to touch someone.”

Alastair reached across the table. Helen absently took his hand and started to stroke his palm with her thumb.

“What sort of men do you find attractive, Helen?”

Helen looked up from her book.

“Older men.”

“Yeah?” How much older?”

She smiled.

“Oh, about twenty years.”

“Really? About my age then.”

“Yes, exactly your age.”

“Are you here for just the one night?”

“Yes. I’m going back home after the meeting.”

“Do you want to spend the night with me?”

Helen looked around in case someone overheard, then leant forward. “Yes,” she whispered.

“Okay. Let’s have a drink first, though. I bet I know what you like. Vodka and tonic.”

She giggled. “That’s amazing. That’s exactly what I was thinking. Are you a mind reader?”

“A mind reader? No, I don’t read minds.”


About snodlander
Snodlander is the nom de plume of Bob Simms. He is an IT trainer, but it's not as glamourous as it sounds. When he's not enthralling classes with adventures through SQL Server, he writes, draws and drinks his own home-brew. Buy his novel on Amazon Kindle at The Young Demon Keeper, It's 74p, for crying out loud!

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