by James Sykes
A fantasy adventure story.
|A bit off top.
(Mister Choo's magic doo)
By James Sykes.
Some say that life is tit for tat, you get back what you give.
Some times it's neither this or that, you only have to live.
Steven Garden wasn't a bad looking guy he wasn't loud or overly ambitious his most outstanding qualities would probably be seen as more of handicaps than attributes. Steven was kind, honest and worse he's was faithful to those around him that needed his help. It's amazing how quickly life can run away from you when you spend most of it helping others. You wake up at fifteen lead a good day and then go to bed feeling good about yourself and smack-bang! Right out of nowhere you are thirty three and hoping that all of your hair won't fall out before the end of the next ten years. But there's nothing wrong with falling in love and wanting to dream together, modest dreams.
Dreaming modestly is a protection technique, dream small and not very often and you are less likely to be let down and any small disappointments that come there afterwards you can always say: its okay I was just dreaming small. For a short time the plan had worked out just fine right up until she had come out of the shadows and into the brilliant bright shining lights. It wasn't the most romantic place in the world: 'Gnarly's' pub, a place so rotten that you would probably see rats wiping their feet as they left. The dreaming had been great in Mel, Steven had found someone that pushed him to think a bit bigger a little more outside the box. Mel inspired passion but she was also a magnet to chaos, but love looks not the the eyes but with the mind and so is winged cupid painted blind. Somebody with a good mind for annalising the human existence had once uttered this but Steven wasn't at all sure who. The relationship have recently soured and Steven was seeing the clues pointing towards infidelity everywhere he looked and even in places he tried not to look. Jumping out of text messages and excuses for missing dates and dinners.
Out of all the insults and injuries that had happened to Steven Garden recently, this one coming now felt like the hardest slap... "You're too soft Steven." Mel said chucking items into a bag, her chewing gum going snap and pop in her teeth like she was chewing on a miniature brain and the chewing was the only way to release the thoughts hidden deep inside. "I need a bit of get up and go, a bit of danger.... No I mean adventure... You're just too down. " Steven was from the west Midlands and had been told before that his voice had a permanently depressed tone to it and his realistic views on life had often been mistaken for pessimism.
Mel was dashing round the flat with an Asda 'bag for life' collecting the last of her personal possessions and the things she thought she had the most right to. It was almost a mad and manic dance climbing over the sofa and running around in a frantic effort to scoop up and grap or just plain snach in all directions, little escaped her egal eyes. "These after shaves from your mother you never put on so I might as well take these too..."
Just because I use them rarely doesn't mean I don't want them."
" you just don't seem to care that much about things, your pet or your people I need more from you." Mel had moments where she was extremely beautiful indeed and these had tended to excuse the moments she had of acting like a monster.
Not the kind of monster that hid in shadows and jumped out of co sed cupboards shouting Raaaaaaa to satisfy an ancient blood lust. But no, the kind of monster that invited you into the trap with soft kisses evenings of videos and pizza and the warm holding, dreaming moments of sex sometimes while watching videos and often on pizza the boxes crunching underneath as they rocked and moaned in the moonlight as shadows creeped over the walls. And the arguments just seemed to come more and more recently and the late evenings and warm snuggles in the dark came less and less until...
Until Steven didn't know what he was now defending, his positions or was he fighting away unlimatly more previous parts if himels she might have been secretly stealing. "I do care, I just have my own ways of showing it."
"Well, I need more than that."
"More of what exactly ? I've given you everything, you've spent all my savings and now you're ruining my flat. I've got nothing more to give you."
"Oh that's just so bloody typical of you, youre so matrialistic!"
"I'm matiralistic now? That's rich just a minute ago you were telling me you didn't get enough from me! I'm tired of your ups and downs, being hot and cold with me. I do understand that you suffer from depression but I honestly think you should be seeing a doctor rather than self-medicating with drugs and alcohol." This was true and she knew it. The problem is that living with somebody who has mental health issues, is that they are just so dammed selfish and eventually it wears you down, right down until your self esteam is so low that you feel completly worthless. A car honked from downstairs followed by a teanage sounding shout: "Mel just grab ya stuff 'n' 'urry up, leave as fast as possible 'innit'!"
"I'm coming 'innit!'" She grabbed a designer sunglasses case from a shelf and tossed it into the bag. Steven didn't even react, he pretended like he hadn't seen it happen.
They had been dating on and off for about three years and had officially broken up two weeks ago but tonight was just a repeat performance, the final act in what had been a farcicle tradegdy. Her fads and interests seemed to go through periods of threes, yoga Pilate's and boxercise all lasted periods of about three weeks each before being abandoned.
A college course in music lasted three months, as did one in cookery and one in sewing. If you could call whT they had a relstionship the fance had been wearing thin from the beginning and after a gradual but steady crumble as they fell apart, it seemed all that had to hold on to now were the broken pieces of a straind way past breaking point relationship but it was clear to both of them the love and even friendship had gone and now all the had was the galling dust. Oh, and Rocky a spoilt lap dog who's favourite pass-time was destroying things that were precious or important and crapping in places that were easy to slide in.
Steven was discussted by Mel's coldness."So you find this adventure you speak of in the trousers of a twenty two year old dope dealer from the egal estate?"
"Oh don't be like that, this is exactly what I mean, nasty predegist. He's not a dope dealer, he's a DJ. Anyway it's more about me than you. We've changed and grown apart, it happens. So I guess all that's really left to say is 'bye!' Oh and I'll take rocky he'll be happier with me. Just do something for your self for once like getting that frigging watch fixed."
Scooping the pug up from the floor and carrying him out under her arm she slammed the door shut, a picture of them both came crashing down to the floor. "Thanks a lot Mel ." Steven said weakly into the back of the door. "Thanks for nothing after three years!"
Not wating to sit about doing nothing in an apartment half destroyed by the most repugnant pug in the world he decided to go out and get his watch strap fixed. On his way into town he reflected how things had changed recently, first small things probably starting with the pug. Rocky had been cute at first, yet another impulse thing coming from Mel, but the dog had grown and taken on the characteristics of some kind of devil pig snorting, snuffling, yelping rather than barking and dropping the vilest fart bombs that could make your eyes water faster then an extra hot jalfraze from the Raj palace on a friday night. Which in comparison these days Steven would much rather have to put the toilet paper in the fridge for the next morning, instead of sliding though the kitchen on a rink of pug piss as some kind of punishment for things Steven probably didn't even know he had done.
Walking towards the town centre Steven noticed the autominal colours of the leaves and thought of a poem his mother used to recite to him as a small child:
How I love the turning seasons, when the leaves all change.
I'm sure that trees all have their reasons when they're acting strange.
He'd been in the shop less than five minutes before he was totally convinced that this mission was going to fail spectacularly. Spectacles balanced on the end of the shop assistant's pinchy little turned up nose and her contemptuous cold eyes were magnified by the lenses. She drew in a long sniff and her death stare turned from the watch sitting on a mat on the counter to Steven." It's been manhandled, so you can pay for the replacement parts. " Her name badge was a gold rectangle with Doris engraved into it and when she sniffed it gave you the impression she hsd just smelled a stinky fart. Steven was normally quite calm and gentil but Doris was making him feel angry, the blood colouring his face with rage Steven charged out of the door. The broken peice of the watch he had bought just after the summer was going to cost more than half the price he had paid for the watch. What is worse the officious cow in the the shop had tried to make it out as if he had done something wrong himself. "You've obviously miss handled it sir. (The was she said 'sir' had a contemptuous screw you behind it) I've never seen the clasping attachment break before, so you have obviously treated it with too much force." She took her glasses of her new set and let them hang from the chain around her neck to punctuate the fact that she had finished and her point had been made. Oh listen ye peasant scum the mighty Doris hath spoken! Steven felt a sinking feeling as more of his esteam was pissed away and his temperature began to rise even more. He was being victimised here and ripped off, all he had done was wear it which was essencial as he used it for work. His thought had been that investing in a known make would insure him a certain amount of quality and he had paid for the extra garantee on top! Such a level headed thing to do right? Well no apparently not. Placing the watch on the desk he had used his only tool of defence "well it's just a good job I bought the guarantee at extra cost then."
There was something almost crocodile like about this woman who looked physically incapable of forcing her dried out face into anything that even nearly resembled a smile. "No the guarantee is only for the watch part and the mechanical parts, the strap is not covered by it." She sighed but not out of sympathy but what seemed to be boredom regarding his problem and urgency to get it fixed. " I suggest you call the manufacturers and get them to send you a new strap and then we can fix it for you at cost of course. " Her cheeks swelled and eyes widened with satisfaction.
"Of course." Steven agreed as he left.
Febuary had brought freezing winds and he was walking straight into them cooling the burning rage in his cheeks, it was the begining of a ney year and Steven felt more than ever that he needed a good change in his life and a bit of luck. He was sick of being abused and walked over his whole life just for being too nice. From the side of the road a beggar jumped up and took him by the sleeve.
"Spare change for a cuppa tea please?"
"I dont have much..." he put his hand on his wallet, just in case; stopping whatever forces this annoying smelly homeless guy might have just to will it right out of his pocket.
"Please I'll take anything if you can help it's just so cold and I can stay inside for an hour if I buy a cuppa tea..."
"I'm sorry I really don't have much..." But the begging man's breath smelled like pee.
It was cold and the homeless man had red circles around his eyes and a dripping nose. Steven pulled what felt like £1.50 out of his pocket and put it into the mans hand and moved on with out looking back.
"Gawd bless ya sir!" the scream was almost lost in the wind.
"Yes this is the year Steven changes. No more taking me for a ride, I'm going to start making possitive choices for my own life." He stopped at the Last Hope pub, the H was at a strange angle and looked as if at any moment it might give up the will to stay. It was dangerously close o falling off. "That would be ironic. Even the pub sign wants to kick me in the face" He said to him self pushing the door open.
"Well change comes after a drink then... Yes treat yourself to just one atleast."
It was only 11:30 and the place was pretty much empty except for Geoffry the same old man that always sits in the corner drinking half pints of dark ale all day in the leather cosy chair reading the news papers left behind by others and stashed under the seat cushion when he needed to go to the toilet.
"Morning Geoff." Geoff looked up from his paper, no smile and his eyes were misty with nostalgia or was it just the beer he drinks all day to keep him away from the frost bite of reality. Steven wasn't sure.
"Morning Steven, bit early for you innit?"
"yer was getting ripped off in the watch shop for me cassio. fucking nightmare, I'll have a pint of Stella please Pete."
"Sure matety; hows the wife? £3.90 thanks."
"She left me, took the dog... 90? Oooh it's gone up again?"
"Yeah we had to last week, I'm sorry about that Steve. How you taking it?"
"Could be better, could be worse really. Hmmmm thats nice, I don't often drink before midday but this is needed"
"I understand buddy, you enjoy it. I ain't got much change, can I give you the 10p next time I see you?
Pete went back to taking glasses out of the glass washer wiping them with the dish cloth and holding upto the light for inspection before putting them back on the shelf.
Swigging his beer and regarding himself in the mirror behind the bar steven observed how much he had changed physically in the past two years he had been living with Sophie, the tide of his hairline was going out at a rapid rate and thining ontop. his eyes were glassy and blood shot but most of all next time he went on holiday there were two huge new bags to check under each of his eyes. Would there be excess bagage charges? Steven didn't know. Maybe things wouldn't get better for him, he might just have to except things as they are and life might not change for him or infact anybody else in this town. Maybe just a cosmetic change might make him fell the world of good he still had a bit of money left on him so perhaps he should just invest in a bit of pampering.
Yes what a fantastic idea nothing lifts your spirits more than a bit of self indulgence, so that is exactly what Steven decided to do. He gulped back the last of his beer, actually there was just under falf left. He belched wich brought up a little acid but it was still saticfying and left. Stepping out onto the street it was considerably less windy and grey, the fact was the streets were now light up with a golden sunlight. Steven stepped over the Homeless man with a skipp, the man had an extra strong can of larger in his hand and was chattering to him self.
"What I need is a little me time yes the three of us should do something together me, my self and I " Almost tipsy talking to him self made him feel a little better and instead of going down the high street where all the shops he knew where he decided to ho by old town to the shops that the modern world had mostly forgotten and the further down he went the older and note forgotten the seemed to be from their appearance outside.
A few steps down the street and there were just the shops he needed ther first few were private dental and skin care, beauty parlours, lypo suction. The windows advertised results that were probably less that dubious. Lazer hair removal that made Steve both snort with the pain he imagined would doubtlessly be inflicted, he needed the oppersite of this one in his opinion. The next few doors had advertisments that seemed both blatent and ambigous: sensual massages' ,you colud pay to be stuffed plucked and probably fucked if you had the money and all this while tiny little fish ate the dead skin off your feet. The next shop he couldn't remember seeing before. It looked exotic maybe Chinese, the sign was red with gold letters it read: 'Mister Choo do your doo!' Then in smaller letters: Mister choo do for you. No prices or pictures and slatted wodden blinds that where closed. No signs of life at all and Steven wondered if there was anybody in and if they were indeed open for business. He pushed the door open and there was a jingle sound .
Jingle jangle, open door: a world of magic is in store!
"Come in, come in welcome! You sit down in chair I come in two moments." The place looked as if it hadn't seen any business for at least fifty years it was dusty and cobwebs where everywhere there was only one chair in the shop, a barber's sink and a minimun of tools. There were also some glass jars with coloured liquids in them Steven guessed were tonics and expensive shampoos.
"Ahhhh Sir welcome and thank you for waiting I've just opened, brand new. What do you need?"
The owner of the shop was old, thin, small and with a whispery beard and long finfernails, he was hideously ugly like his face was caving in from the inside around the mouth but beautifully groomed in a royal blue silk pyjama suite. He must have been aisan his eyes twinkled enchanting by the afternoon light and he wouldn't stop bowing.
"Ive just come for a bit of a trim please. A bit off top, I would like..." Steven's voice became thin and didn't have suficiant air in it to finish what he was saying. Don't stare at his face you dont want to upset this man he looks about a thousand years old but probably has knows karate and crazy Chinese powers.
"Mister Choo knows why you come here Steven, It is Steven is it not? you feel like a Steven" and the smile became so wide, so pleaseing and the eyes opened not dark eyes at al like you expect to see on an old oriental man but green, sparkeling emerald green...
"Yes mister Choo, it is Steven and I guess you do know..." Oh those sparkeling eyes and hand on his shoulders massaging gently Steven sank dreamily down into his chair Mister Choo rocked it back to an even more comfortable angle and put a hot towl around his neck.
"Steven just come for a little change no? Just a little freshening up, not to worry mister Choo do for you! Just relax, relax and see!"
Drifting sweetly into mister Choo's care Steven could smell oranges and ginger mixed with some other spices he couldn't name.
Waking up with a bump as the chair went back to it's upright position the room was dark but he didn't feel at all panicked Mister Choo's had put a hot wet towel over his eyes Steven yawned and pulled it off looking into the ancient mirror and smilled at what he saw.
Had he been asleep the whole time mister Choo's had been at work on him? He must have been.
"You sleeping must have been so tired. Now how you feel mister Steven ?"
"Refreshed thank you, great job !"
"Just a trim and a little tonic Steven, you like?"
"Like? I feel fantastic. How much do I owe you?" Mister Choo was sitting on a chaise long under the window reading from an old magazine with his feet on a wooden box that served as a coffee table. " five Steven, it's always five."
"Well, thank you very much" Pulling his walet out of his pocket Steven began to get an awful feeling that he no longer had enough change on him to pay this sweet honest old man. He had not passed a cash point or remembered to take out extra money to pay for his haircut but this feeling soon passed as he saw the note in his wallet. Thank you and have a lovely afternoon! "
Mister Choo chuckled like the music of a joyful soul " it evening now, you sleep long time."
Yes it was 8 o'clock and dark outside a little embarrassed Steven thanked him again and left.
"Thank you mister Steven and enjoy!"
"Thanks mister Choo, good night!" It was dark, very dark how long had he been there asleep ? How embarrassing. Oh well, the old guy didn't say anything. Hell, he himself probably fell to sleep himself while reading that vintage looking magazine ( How old was he? He looked about a thousand... ) Steven shivered and his arm itched, his watch on his arm was now reading eight fifteen, but how was this possible? he came in just after midday there was no way on heaven or on earth he could have just in the blink of an eye power napped for eight hours? His arm itched slightly under his watch....
"Holey moley mothering godly farther above and all his scissor sisters!" His pace quickened glancing from his watch and up to where he was going, this is mad, a bit nuts, a little bit fruit-loops. "The old man must have repaired my watch at the same time as I slept, how lovely of him but I only paid a fiver!"
Steven wondered what other services Mr Choo hadn't advertised.
Back in his flat Steven looked about with dismay, the bitch had ripped the place apart on her quest to salvage her positions and the tings they had bought together and she felt like she had more right to. The robbing cow-bitch he thought and once again a great wave of misery came over him. What he needed was a nice hot bath and a large enough glass of wine to take the emotional pain away. Gazing into the bathroom mirror was an interesting experience because he didn't look tired at all, in fact he looked younger, thinner and his thinking hair appeared to have been restored.
Leaning in for a closer inspection his eyes nearly popped out of his head with surprise, yeah he was looking great sipping out of his extra large glass of vino chateau cheapo plonk de plonk Steven considered this as he turned off the running water. It's not a bad thing actually maybe a bit of the old Chinese charm, an ancient kind of magic rubbed off from the fingers of Mr Choo Steven took a long swig from his wine. "Hmmmmmmm, ahhhhhh! Delicous. This stuff normally tasted like a rat's pee!" But today it was sweetvand fruity with a rich flavour. Steven stripped and stepped into his bath. Now a really strange thing happened as he sank down into the bubbles, the bath seemed to be enormous. Big enough to stretch out his legs and swirl the water about. The thought of this tickled him and still swiging on his wine he chuckled to him self and made up a little song:
"I'm splashing about in my little bath,
That's all that I can say.
I'm forgetting my troubles, while washing with bubbles,
I think I'm on my way."
The song made him giggle even more as he sang it his mood was changed from gloomy to something that much more resembled optimism. That night he slept like a baby this didn't mean crapping him self and waking up crying, he fell into a very restfull sleep; but had the strangest dreams.
Steven was strapped into a flying Barber's chair that had been transformed into a steam-punk flying machine driven by Mr Choo. They were flying through space and each side of Steven were floating objects: Big Macs, glasses of wine, chocolates, rings and coins. It was like being inside some mental vertual reality computer game with the scores dancing in giant words and numbers all around him. POW! POWER UP! GOOD CALL! 10 POINTS! 20 POINTS! 30 POINTS! YOU WIN! Mr Choo looked over his shoulder and soured back to Steven "What you want you just take Steven !" " Very well mister Choo!" And he did this, it was great fun he grabbing the food and drinks out of the air at faster and faster speed!
Steven fell back into his bed with a bump. His heart beating fast, adrenaline rushing through his body. But the sensation was kind of cool still humming along to MTV crunching through four wheatabix, and guzeling down a pint of Orange juice before going to work. He pulled out a shirt and trousers from his wardrobe, the shirt was pale blue and a little on the tight side around his stomach and a bit baggy on the arms, normally. After buttoning it up to his neck Steven took a step back to examine himself. "Hmmmmmmm not looking bad Stevie baby!" The shirt fell flat down his stomach and bulged over his biceps. Not a lot, just barley enough to notice.
Waiting for the bus to yake him to work in the office he'd been in since he was 19 Steven's mind drifted off to think about his relationship with Mel, her parents and the past three Years trying to make it 'work' and hard work it had been. Hard bloody work.
Mel's parents weren't a much better example of a grown up relationship, her mum Sharon (Shaz) was a fat slob who's only talents were eating and gossiping. Her dad Baz was a work-shy rip-off artist with a foul mouth of language that would make a crack dealer blush and say: "Oooh, that's a bit strong!"
The last time they had spent the afternoon together had been a complete fiasco, they had turned up completely unannounced one afternoon and barged right into the flat Baz dropped an open bag of chips into Steven's lap "Ere We bought you dinner ya lucky bleeder!"
"Thanks Sharron and Brian...." Not mentioning the fact that it was half past one and they had not long eaten lunch.
Mel was just pleased that mummy and daddy had arrived so now they can baby her a bit and provide the attention Steven had not been giving her already that afternoon. "That's so nice thanks mum, innit"
Sharron stuffed a hand full of cold greasy chips into her cavernous gob and spoke while chewing "Anything for my princes baby." Mushed up chips and spit came out as she spoke. " you owe us twenty quidd and we brought you beers!"
"How very thoughtful of you both!" Steven almost got ejected into the air as Sharron's considerably large backside landed in the couch, which actually seemed to moan under her weight.
"Been down the market, time for home and away?...." Her hand crept into the paper packet of greasy food on his lap but Steven didn't notice he was mode concerned about the fact that too gear had been magically replaced by probably the most nauseating Australian soap opera still on TV.
"Actually I was watching top gear!" Steven almost grunted ! this but was cut off by Baz's distaste "For pissing poofs that shit! " He switched the channle over to the horseracing.
"Oi oi Ya begger I was watchin' me soap, innit!"
"Then piss off into the bath-room ya fat cow!"
"That's not funny ya skinny little bastard!" She was pointing a greasy, chubby finger at him and he was stabbing the air in front of him with the television remote at her. "What ya wanna watch that foreign much for ? Any way it's just a bunch of queers...."
" I like it Baz! It's in-bloody-tellegent!"
Mel chipped in with a suggestion that seemed to resolve the debate outright "Ramey's on now mummy, daddy. Watch something calm and stop shouting and bloody swearing, innit!"
The irony of this made Steven want to slip between the coushans of the sofa and disappear horrifyingly shameful. How did a couple end up surviving just to bicker and bitch at each other? He didn't know. They reminded him of a book he'd read as a child where the old couple Mister and Mrs Twitt a hideous old pair lived by doing monstrous things to each other; fighting and playing nasty tricks. What happened to the part of their relationship that was built on love and respect? Again Steven didn't know.
The bus pulled up giving him ten minutes to get behind his desk and start up his computer he reached under for the 'on' button and noticed a piece of paper stuck to the screen, a post-it with red in written diagonally in block capital letters.
MISTER BARNABY WANTS TO C U.
Steven gave a worried little moan and leaving the computer to power up he crept to his boss's office. The other desks were starting to gill up and people arriving with coffee cups in hand wishing each other good mornings and the quiet morning babble began to turn into the everyday office murmer.
"Good morning Steven! He's in and expecting you. Don't worry mister Barnaby's in a really good mood this morning."
"Alright cheers Charlotte, ta very much."
Charlotte was his boss's secretary and extremely busty, beautiful woman and always seemed to be drinking or making tea this morning she was sipping from her cup infussed with a herbal tea- bag.
His heart was beating slightly faster in his chest as Steven stepped into the room and let the door snick shut behind him.
His boss turned around on his leather-backed swivel chair, his face positively beaming "Steven, Steve, Stevie sit down!" He lunged over the desk and started pumping his arm up and down over enthusiastically.
"Nice to see you my boy, very nice indeed! Champangne?"
"Well it's eight thirty sir and I really don't..." Stevens voice sounded a little lost and bewildered.
Popping open a bottle and filling too flutes Mr Barnaby roared with laughter like this was the funniest thing he'd ever heard in his life and the two of them were old mates sharing the most delicious private joke.
"Drink it, don't drink it water the plants with it. Wash your car with it! Where you're going in this company champangne is a taste you had better get used to my boy! I like you what a guy you are!"
"Thanks sir but I really don't..."
"Call me Terry, I'm making you senior management my boy! Cigar? Chocolate? How's about a prostitute?"
"No sir I really don't..."
"Charlotte get in here my girl!" He roared into the intercom on his desk. "Let's cut go the chase, Steven. How long have you been here?"
"Almost fifteen years sir still in telephone communications."
"And you do a great job people could learn a lot from you my boy. A lot."
At this moment Charlotte came in looking as beautiful as ever, a note pad and pencil in her hands. "Mr Barnaby, sir. How can I help?"
"Ahhhh, here you are my girl. Trevor the general manager in today?"
"I believe so sir."
"Sack him. Steven's taking over. starts Monday!"
"But it's Monday sir..."
"Next Monday you 'nana after his holiday. It's going to be great fun working with you Steven. Have the rest of the day off, Charlotte will move your stuff and have your new office redecorated once she's given that toss-pot his marching orders." There was more arm pumping, some back slapping and mister Barnaby was beaming all over, pleased as Punch.
On the other side of the door Steven looked at Charlotte with stunned amazement. "What the hell just happened?"
"They call it a promotion. Here are your tickets and booking confirmations." She leaned forward and planted a big wet kiss on Stevens mouth, her eyes sparkling blue with diamonds set into fine rare stones. "Now that you are my boss I just wanted to tell you that I'm totally at your disposal, sir. I can do anything for you and I mean anything." She said with a genuine aim to please look in her eyes. It was hard to say no and the thought of her made his groin jump to life (and his belly do a flip-flop dance) the force of it burst the button off his trousers and hit something metal on her desk, the sound was like shrapnel.
"Thanks, I guess I've got to pack. Where am I going?"
"France, South. I've booked you for a week in a little village sourounded by vin-yards for a week of total relaxation, just what you need. Sir. "
"Wow, I think that's exactly what I need. So much has happened recently I think I just need time to take it all in."
"Well now you don't have-to worry sir enjoy a week away and a new beginning awaits you for when you get back" Charlotte tossed her hair back and gave him a sexy little smile.
Business class means a fancy lounge with a buffet and a all-you-can-drink bar Steven discovered and not your cheap-o bottles at all not this was quality booze! "Lovely jubley." Steven poured a triple whisky and coke had some of the roast lamb with green beans and washed it down with an other whiskey and coke. By the time he landed he had lost count after five or so drinks.
A week in the sun its just the trick when about to embark on any potatentiolly life changing situation, that is if nothing really strange happens while you were there but ever since the last few days it had felt toi Steven as if he were living in a kind of hyper reality. Reality yes but somehow intensely over exaggerated. Some of the stuff was just too silly to mention like having to buy new speedos because the size of his penis seemed to gave enlarged quite a bit.
The hotel was lovely and served good food, light fluffy cheesy omlets and everything seemed to be served with a different wine utter heaven The stuff dreams are made of' was the thought drifting through his mind as he sat back on his rocking chair watching as the sun went down casting orange waves around it."Jolly good old chap, just what we wanted isn't it Sharon?"
"Oh rather, I'd say!"
There was a bump and voices from the apartment t next door attached by the balconies side by side.
"Newly married couple" Steven thought as he poured himself another glass of delicious fruity wine.
"Lovely view too from the balcony..."
"The doors were opened. " Oh yes gorgeous Barry what a shame Melany couldn't be here to get a look at it." Familiar voices. Or at least there were familiar things about the voices, but not the words themselves or the way they had been said but somthing about the voices. There was something newly right sounding about them like a man and a woman he had known or seen in a dream People from a familiar place but the words were wrong and the posh accents sounded like they were a bit ... Forced a like someone trying too hard to impress in a social situation. Then it hit him, suddenly stopped like a brick into a pool of water sending waves of nasty, nasty reality crashing down onto his shores.
Two heads appeared poking through the double doors leading onto the balcony.
"Well if it isn't Baz 'n' Shaz? What an incredible surprise!"
"Actually its Baron and Sharon now due to our new wealthy position thank you very much!"
" What d'you do, rob a bank?"
"Not at all i just got an inheritance though from my dear elderly rich auntie Edna, i've not heared from her in years and years and then out ou the blue like a lightning strike of destiny this letter arrives wishing us heart felt condolences for our tragic loss. At first I thought that it was some kind of scam or one day f those benefits fraud sharks, I was like ' ere Shazgetta look at this!"
"That's right imaginable on our poart toi be sceptical innit really?" Sharon now pulled a diet bar put of her perse and stated to nibble.
"Right m'lady let's get a move on. Golfing tomorrow and cocktails tonight! Tally-ho! What what!"
As they whipped out of sight golden tracksuits and matching chains blinking and clinking in the fading sun. The evening light was a rich and delicious orange that illuminated the horizon with a deep peach.
But if doubt had a colour it would have painted his whole face right now with a pale greyish blue, doubt mixed with dread filled Steven's eyes and he had to choke away his scream with a low raspy cough that grated against his throut and made him prickle with tears. It was as if the world had been turned up to some kind of hyper reality, it really was bizarre. There were days of compliments where everyone Steven passed had a compliment to give him. It started off subtle with the hotel staff telling him how nice his hair and cloths looked. But as the day wore on the need for original compliments became more desperate and the compliments became stranger. Standing at the !ain desk after breakfast there was a tugging on his trouser leg. Steven looked down. "How wonderfully tall you are sir shouted up a man with dwarfism. " How beautifully walky you are mister!" Cheered a girl in a wheelchair. There was money day where everyone he met for reasons known or none at all decided to hand over money spontaneously all day. They would become confused or upset when he refused, so just to keep the peace it was accepted and put into charity boxes later on in the day. The day that Steven enjoyed the least was cuddle day. I don't think and explanation it really necessary, needless to say it was really annoying.
"What the hell is happening here? I only wanted to change myself a bit, not everybody around me. Oh mister Choo, what have you done?" The only sensible thing to do was go and voices sit mister Choo again in his little shop and try to get some sort of explanation, or at least get him to.... Steven shrugged which ended in a deep tiresome sigh. What did he want? Things back to normal? Okay his was turning into a situation nuttyier than squril poop but things were worse before. Weren't they?
Better the devil you...
Better the devil you know was the expression dancing round inside Steven's head as he stepped out of the taxi door, the journey home hadn't been as peaceful as he would have liked a party of guys and girls had spent the hole hour and a half singing songs. None of this stressed him it was only when he had his key in the front door and heated the lock snap open inside that the dismal sensation of vertigo flooded back into him. The picture of his m Mel and Rocky was back up on the wall, unbroken. Bit this wasn't but the same picture at all Mel wasn't in her tracksuit and sideways ponytail but have holding a riding crop and mainly dressed in blues browns and greens in corduroy. Rocky wasn't a pug but had transformed into a threatening looking Alsatian, pointy ears bright eyed. large sharp teeth and an enormous lolling tongue with a single cord of salvia on its final drop down to the ground.
This was when the idea of having to face them came dancing in on a breeze which carried a foreboding chill which made Steven shiver.
"No bloody way!"
Why not steven? You wanted us to change and we've changed for you!
Grabbing his keys Steven shot out the door, leaping down the steps two and three at a time and hurdeling over the fence at the bottom. He ran the three streets to the centre of town and turned the corner into whittle street, his pace slowed as he reached the door. The door that looked
Like it hadn't been opened in fifty years stepping into a shop that hadn't seen costumers for maybe sixty.
Ding! The bell chimed but the place was dark and quiet. "Mister Choo! Mister Choo? The shop seemed even darker than before and all around him everything seemed to be listening, waiting.
" Mister Choo, its Steven. I've come.."
"Mister Choo knows why you come Steven. Mister Choo sees your dreams." At this Steven shivered again, it shook him from his head to his toes. Still not seeing mister Choo yet Steven pressed on with his enquiries, but he had lost it's courage and conviction.
"What do you mean, you see my dreams?" Although loud enough his voice now had a wobble dancing in inside of it and seemed not at all sure where it was going.
"You asked me Steven. Steven want a little change when sitting at my chair last time." Arms opening in warm gestures of welcome mister Choo glided his way through a beaded curtain; clouds of dust swirling behind him in mystical clouds frightened to come though our doorway, entering our reality.
"Who are you? Where are you from?" This is where everything seemed to fall deadly scilent.
"I'm Sammy Choo Steven, I'm just here to help. I see people like you walking the streets every day lost, disenchanted walking on long, lonely lives. Praying every day for hope, For change. So here I am and helping is what I do! For you!"
The reality was creeping into to Stevens mind, an unwelcome visitor like a poisonous fart in a girl-scout sleep over. The questions didn't seem to bother mister Choo, or even ruffle his feathers but as the answers came, not held back or bridled buy wrapping them tight in paper of protective niceness but no, once the wound had been opened; the blood had to flow.
"I just feel a little... Urm... Violated, that's all. Looking into my dreams uninvited seems a bit strange mister Choo and not knowing anything about you. Please, I'm scared."
"No need Steven. You invited me, your imagination to people like me is like a bucket of paint and I just happened to have the brush. I'm like an artist who paints with dreams, it's fun and you Steven are the star!"
"There are more like you? This is crazy! Please, I need more explanation than this."
"I came to this place a thousand years ago with my brother, I am Sammy Choo. I cut hair and help by painting your world with dreams. My brother Jim, he makes shoes. Very special shoes, shoes of dreams!"
And so what if I want to give, no put things back. Can it be done? Do I pay?"
"The price never changes Steven, we just paint a few things the way you would like them to be..."
" Is it changed forever? Can it be undone?"
"Nothing is forever and things can be repainted. Steven so serious and upset! Sit in chair and have special shampoo! Come on." The lights seemed to dim at this moment and a sweet smelling balm seemed to linger in the air Steven was adoment to stay alert.
"Mister Choo, I know you are just trying to help but I'm feeling a little scared. It's got to have other repocuctions this ancient chinese magic right?"
"Mister Choo not Chinese Steven. I'm from a world far away where there are no more dreams and very little happiness. Everything's been done for you my Steven, it's your dream..."
Steven's eyes opened and he began to stand up. "Not this way mister Choo. It's not that I'm ungreatful about all this wonderful stuff you have done for me. It just doesn't feel real. How would I appreciate anything if everything was just given to me like that?"
Mister Choo just smiled and nodded, he twitched oddly shivered and yawned. His head actually folding backwards, showing a massive gaping wide sigh filled with a cavernous gauge and sharp-shark like poisonous teeth. "Then it is the destiny that you choose. Remember nothing in life is final, sometimes not even death is really final, just another Door to another world of reality!" "But I need my reality, if I'm going to have friends or a girlfriend or a promotion at work I want to feel that I achieved it for myself, not because it was handed to me for free. I just could never live with my self if that happened."
"Then a truely honest man you are! Such a pitty Steven." He sank back down into the chair his face burning with hot, desperate emotion and tears sparkling in his eyes. Mister Choo massaged his shoulders and put a hot clean towl over his head.
"Okay mister Steven just relax, relax and dream...."
And the oils and tonics mister Choo used were so intoxicating and the sleep was so inviting that Steven just could not resist but drift of and the dream was so vivid mister Choo's voice was !musical and calming. Steven remembered his emrald green eyes and kindly smile. But it was that twinkle...
"Miricles happen every day Steven there's my cousin Marie-France Mack-Choo, for example." With this mister Choo did an enormous pirouette on the spot and shrank by size, big enough to fit into Steven's shirt pocket. By this point Steven was well ready to believe anything, also because of the recent events he had a good premonition that this was about to turn into an adventure.
"Righty- Ho! Here we go! Steven! "
The cair started to spinn. Steven grabbed onto the arm rests to keep in his place but at last it was no use they were ejected onto the floor that was damp with evening dew. It was dark. Night. And they had landed on grass. Steven gripped about Praying there were no dog turds. "Mister Choo? Urm, where are you?" Steven's voice had no conviction in it the absurd thought occurred to him, why do we instincyly whisper in low light?
"Over here Steven. Sorry about the landing , that was quite a ride!"
As Steven's eyes became accostumed to the moonlight he could see the shadow of his now pocket - sized mister Choo. Steven put mater cho in his to pocket where he sat quite naturally. An absurd thought occurred to Steven in that moment. Just how many others had gone on magic chair spinning adventures like this one?
"Yeah we is gonna take a little look at old Marie Choo and see what she do! Then you are understanding, that okay?"
"Do I have a choice?" Steven could have throat punched himself for saying something so potentially provocative of a deadly retaliation for his disobidence, instead the still so charming mister Choo just leaned forward pointing and Steven moved forward with the vague feeling like he was being driven in some litiral sense. As they stepped out of the wooded area Steven saw a row of houses.
"Wait here. Just watch."
Pulling up on a pink piaggio, screeching and spueing pink smoke with a dust clowd fart of pink glitter. Stepping off head to toe in some amazing custom !made dark pink leather gear and stilettos boots. This must be Marie Choo.
"Oh goody good good goody goo! You're watching me and I'm watching you! " she winked sexily at them and then turned her tight buns on those spikey high stiletoe heels . She whipped her pink gloved hand up in the air as if feeling for some preumebly invisible pink wind and declared That one there will do! "
As she matched up to the from door of somebody's home and banged on the door, a set of umbrellas on stands appeared behind her to each side. Under these umbrellas were two people impossible vto tell the details as they seemed to be dressed entirely n black one with headphones and sound equipment. The other holding a professional looking camera with a bright spotlight attached there are also spotlights in the umbrellas which were black on the out side but silver n the onside, where the lights were coming from.
Marie France now goes into a snappy fairground sound. "Hello it's heavenly father improvements and I'm your host..."
The door opens and two confused looking heads poke round.
"Marie-France Mack-Choo, and this weeks lucky winners of an all expenses paid heavenly home renovation is... "
The owners replied, but still obviously confused in Polish. Marie France as naturally as an idiot buys a lotery ticket says simply and sweetly in her carnival chatty pink voice:
"Witam to niebiańskie remont domu i jestem gospodarz .Otwierają się drzwi i dwa mylić patrząc głowy grzebać rundę... Marie-France Mack-Choo, a w tym tygodniu szczęście zwycięzcy wszystko wydatków poniesionych niebiańskie remont domu jest ..."
And the faces light up like fireworks and cried out in Polish.
"She's a bit nuts" Steven whispered down to his pocket pal, who was smili g up at him I agreement. " Yes but she's very good at what she do! She comes deserving people and transforms lives!"
"How many are you about?"
Oh many many many of us some like Marie Mack- Choo doesn't mind being observed, but there are those that like to work in absolute secrecy and even I'm not really sure what they do it why. Like me I don't solicit attention for myself it's just my hobby if you like."
"Can we see some more? "
"No Steven we go back to chair, I go back to shop. We can make our own magic if you decide."