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An Age-Defying Yule

Edwin lived with his mother.  He had never had a girlfriend but he was trying hard.  He'd had a crush on Lois in Accounts for three years but had never even spoken to her.  But now he'd sent away for a book and he'd got it sorted.  "Effortless Pulling:  Make Every Woman Fall in Love with You in Three Days or Your Money Back...with Free Deodorant!" 

It had three key actions points:  Have a Sense of HumourBe Attentive and Interested.  And most important, Be Vulnerable and Appeal to a Woman's Maternal Instincts.  Yup.  He'd read it and reread it.  He'd got it.  And he thought tonight might be his night. 

He'd been invited to a Christmas party.  This was unusual as he didn't get invited to parties usually.  But someone in the Accounts office had announced a party to the room in general and he had happened to be in Accounts collecting a docket, so he figured that this meant he was invited too.

Edwin took a long bath in preparation for the Christmas party.  There was no soap by the bath but there was a bottle of his mother's shampoo.  'Age-Defying' shampoo' it said.  'That'll do, he thought,' and he set to work at washing his hairy bits, paying particular attention to his armpits and his scrotum, but also his whole body, from his hair right down to his fine and firm hairy legs. 

After the bath he set to drying himself when he noticed that his hairy bits were distinctly less hairy.  He thought it was a bit odd but carried on.  After all he was getting ready for a party.  He squirted copious amounts of the free deodorant on his increasingly hair-free armpits, because he knew that this was what women liked.

He was nervous when he arrived at the party.  It was full of people he didn’t know but who all seemed to know each other.  Even he realised he had probably overdone the deodorant…everyone kept giving him funny looks.  He realised he had to do something. 

He poured himself a sparkling mineral water and ducked under the tablecloth of the buffet table.  He took off his shirt and started to splash the water under his now hairless armpits.  Just then there was a clink and a ring rolled under the table next to him.

'Bugger, where's it gone?' said a female voice.

As he was about to be discovered anyway Edwin picked up the ring, and crawled out from under the table, shirtless and with dripping armpits.

There was Lois looking down at him.  ' this yours....I've just been putting on my Eau de Kerleen..' he smiled.  Excellent, he thought, as he looked up at Lois.  Sense of humour.  Excellent.  He mentally ticked a box in his mind.

', thanks,’ said Lois, who somehow felt obliged to talk to Edwin for a bit.

Edwin put on his shirt and launched into an explanation of the docketing system.  For some reason Lois didn't seem to be showing much interest and looked as if she might be about to walk away.

What was worse was that Edwin kept having to clear his throat, which didn't help his prospects very much.  His voice seemed to be getting higher.  At the beginning of his description he was looking into Lois' clear, blue eyes.  By the end, he was talking closely to her cleavage.  Something was up.

Then, just in time,  he remembered.. 'Be attentive and interested.’

'And what do you do?' he asked.  Excellent.  Going from strength to strength here, thought Edwin as he ticked another box.

'I’m Head of the Cuckoo Rehabilitation Account,’ said Lois from way above him.

'Er, Cuckoo rehabilitation,' he squeaked.  'What does that entail?'  he said.  Good.  Good.  He thought to himself.  Two questions without talking about yourself.  Well done.  He was now looking at her navel.

'Well cuckoos are very naughty really.  Kicking all those eggs out of other bird's nests and everything.  Then laying their own.  It's really not right.'

'Yes.  No.  Quite right.  Very naughty,'  said Edwin.  Superb, he thought.  Agree with her.  Edwin was also wondering whether his rapidly declining height might bring out the woman's mothering instincts.  Lois seemed not to have noticed and was not even looking at him as she spoke, looking around the room as if she was looking for someone.

'We train them to be better birds, build their own nests and stop bullying the other birds.'

Something was bothering Edwin.  This didn't seem right.  But for some reason he kept thinking of conkers and catapults.  Just as he was framing his next question a tall man wearing very stylish glasses came up to join them.  He beamed a big smile at Lois.

'Hi, my name's Kendal.  I'm a Retrophrenologist.'

'Gosh,' said Lois.  ‘What's a Retrophrenologist?'  Suddenly Edwin felt even smaller.  In fact he was.  He suddenly became very pre-occupied with what it would be like to pull the legs off a daddy longlegs.  For some reason Lois was appearing less and less interesting.

'Well,' said Kendall, 'sweeping back a long lock of curly hair from his forehead.  He hadn't even noticed Edwin below him.

'Using a carefully graded system of hammers, we hit people on the head to give them the bumps, and thus the personality of their choice.'

'Fascinating,' said Lois.  'Tell me more.'

'Boring,' thought Edwin, and he sloped off, wondering why there wasn't any jelly at this Christmas party, and wondering when Santa Claus might arrive.

He went over to the buffet to see if he could find any jelly.  Everyone seemed really big.  There seemed to be legs everywhere.  He wove his way through.  Then he saw in the corner of the room.  A great big Santa Claus.

Of course, Santa Claus.  Father Christmas. 

He made his way towards the big, red, jolly figure.  When he arrived he could barely walk.  He half toddled, half crawled towards the figure and threw his arms around it.

Father Christmas was made of cardboard.  And he fell over as Edwin embraced him.

Edwin wanted to cry.  Suddenly he felt very tired.  Out of the corner of his eye he saw somewhere warm and soft.  It was surrounded by donkeys and weird blokes with halo's and expensive looking gifts.  Edwin could only crawl now.  He crept over to the comfy looking place.  There was dodgy looking plastic baby lying inside.

Edwin threw the plastic baby to one side and climbed into the crib.  His mind really weird now.  He kept thinking of women's breasts, but it was in a different way now.  Milk and comfort and warmth.

It was warm and comfortable in the crib.  He could vaguely make out figures leaning over him as he gurgled and stretched.  Was one of them Lois?

'Oh what a beautiful little boy,' she cooed, 'what a gorgeous, handsome boy.

© 2005 Ged Duncan

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