Copyright© by Telephoneman 2005
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This story was written for a competition with certain criteria to be met, one was the use of the word 'Cockaigne', hence the story name.
'It's certainly no Cockaigne here.' I said about our small city.
John looked at me quizzically, then, with raised eyebrows, at the two girls before commenting. 'Hello! He's swallowed another page of the dictionary. Pray tell what a Cockaigne is.' He pronounced it as "Cock-cane" instead of the correct "Kah-Kane".
'An imaginary land of ease and luxury, somewhere similar to Utopia.' I explained before adding with a laugh, 'but as it sounds perfect then it must be mythical.'
John nodded and grinned, 'and I thought it was a splint for old men like you who can't get it up.'
The two girls burst out laughing. Kelly looked closely at me gauging my reaction. I laughed too, after all, I was well used to John's derogatory references to my age. We both worked for the same company although in different departments, he was in IT whilst I ran the Sales department. We'd talked many times about our mutual love of football but earlier this year we'd both decided to splash out and to go and support England at Euro 2004 in Portugal. Our two weeks there had cemented a friendship that I expected to last a lifetime, even though at twenty-six and exactly half my age, he was just a kid. 'The Kid' and 'The BOF' were what we regularly called each other, 'BOF' being short for 'Boring Old Fart'.
John was a tall, prematurely balding man who felt a lot more at ease with machines than he ever did with people, probably why he ended up talking to computers all day. Since Portugal I had come to recognise him as a really nice, genuine bloke, who because of his innate shyness was normally very difficult to get to know. When you did, as I had, it proved well worth the effort, as he had a great sense of humour and the intelligence to use it to good effect. Unsurprisingly, his introversion coupled with his lack of hair meant he was not very good with new people, especially those of the feminine gender; hence the reason for this little get together.
He had looked a few times at Vicky, who he was meeting for the first time, but, not surprisingly, had not said anything directly to her. Vicky herself had hardly said a word, to John or anyone. It was a good job that we weren't trying to set these two up. Of course, John was not to know that yet. I think he assumed that was our intention because she'd arrived with Kelly.
What could be said about Kelly?
Well for start, she was the vibrant bundle of energy whom I'd met a few months previous and had been in my life since. She was 32 but looked a decade younger and acted two. Looks wise, she was dark-skinned, had dark brown eyes, fabulous hair, thick, long and jet-black; she was petite, slim and way too active to ever gain even an ounce of fat. She was also a sexual demon and I secretly feared that I was getting too old to handle the typhoon that flew into my bed every night.
We had, in fact, agreed to split up as a couple, earlier that week. We both accepted that our brief but passionate affair had run its course. We knew that we would remain close friends but no longer lovers. She had tried her 'older man' and I had basked in her reflected glory. Sexually, it had been enlightening for each of us.
I had mentioned, jokingly, that she would have to watch out for 'The Kid', who fancied her like hell. When she asked how I knew, as she hadn't spotted any sign, I explained that she wouldn't would she and after a moment's thought she agreed. I then added, that he'd said a few times that he couldn't understand how I, at my advanced age, could pull a young stunner like Kelly. He'd asked if I could teach him just enough of my salesman's "Gift of the Gab" to win a similar beauty. We both knew, and were equally sorry, that that was never going to happen.
Being with me virtually every night, Kelly was one of the few women who had had the chance to see the real John, and unsurprisingly liked what she saw. I also knew that for her, personality mattered a lot more than looks, it must, after all, she had been with me, a man twenty odd years older than her and unfortunately past his prime.
She then surprised me by admitting that going out with John might be fun. Even though we had agreed to part, I still couldn't help feeling a slight twinge of jealousy. Then I laughed at myself, remembering the old adage "The King is dead! Long live the King".
As no one else knew that we'd split, Kelly had thought that it would be great fun for me to formally hand her over to John, which is what the whole evening was about. Neither of us thought, for one minute, that John would refuse my offer.
Why Kelly had brought Vicky along I had no idea. She hadn't mentioned it when we were planning the evening, but it was so typical of Kelly to spring a surprise on me too. Whatever the reason I assumed it would become apparent soon enough.
I hadn't met Vicky before either, so being the dirty old man that I am, I had looked her over pretty well, even when Kelly caught my eye and mouthed a firm 'No!' Vicky looked in her early twenties and had a sadness about her. Like Kelly she was slim but was quite tall, towering over the other girl. 5'9" I'd guess and very attractive, which, for me, was a nice bonus, as our plan required Kelly to spend most of the time flirting with John. This originally left me as the gooseberry, but talking to Vicky was a much more pleasant task, even though task it was, as I had to work hard to get any response. In fact her laugh at John's definition was the first smile I'd seen from her.
Kelly dropped her bombshell with her usual superb timing. John was just taking a sip from his pint, full of course, when she looked at him and said. 'Well Kid, I'm fed up with old codgers, I need a young man to keep me warm. Are you up to it?'
John nearly choked on his pint and Vicky looked shocked enough for me to guess that for whatever reason she was here, she hadn't been made aware of our little plot. I tried to look sufficiently amazed. John, to his credit, recovered quickly, making the obvious, but wrong, conclusion that it was a joke.
'About time you come to your senses.' He said smiling at me, 'and ditched that BOF.'
Before he could add any more, Kelly leaned across and gave him a long and judging by the bulge in his trousers, passionate kiss. As she let him go she too saw his all too obvious arousal. She laughed and said to Vicky and me. 'Well! I see he is up for it after all.'
Then she looked down as his erection and with a look of pure innocence, asked John one of the most embarrassing questions I've ever heard. 'And you want to put that where?'
I didn't look. I was too busy laughing, but I'm certain that his erection shrank as the blood from there and everywhere else rapidly rushed to his face.
Vicky, who still had no idea what was going, had not been able to see the effect of her friend's kiss but quickly cottoned on. She too burst out laughing at both Kelly's question and John's reaction. Something however was troubling her as the laughter, although genuine, subsided too quickly. It did leave behind a smile. It was that smile that captivated me. It lit up her face, but also jogged a memory that I kept buried deep within, one that no current friends were aware of but one that I would never forget.
It was time for my scene. I leaned back in my chair, looked from Kelly to John and said to him. 'Well if that's how the little tart's going to act then she's all yours John. I wash my hands of her.'
Kelly, trying hard to suppress a laugh at my ham acting, took 'The Kid' by the hand and dragged the dazed man out of the pub. I could tell by his face that he still wasn't certain if it was all a prank, especially as I was involved.
That was the last we saw of them that night. A few minutes after they left, with Vicky still staring in bewilderment at the door, my mobile rang. Kelly!
'I'm sorry to dump Vicky on you, but she needs help and I can't think of anyone better suited.' Her voice then changed to its usual jovial one when she added, 'and now I have a toy boy to attend to. Byyyeeee!'
I hadn't had chance to utter a word before Kelly had hung up.
'Kelly?' Vicky enquired perceptively.
'Is she coming back then?' Vicky asked.
When I shook my head, her expression changed. 'You mean that was for real. She just dumped you like that and for your friend as well.' It was easy to see that Vicky had been taken in by our little playacting.
'Yup! Looks that way.' I said trying to sound morose.
'How could she. She's not normally like that.' She cried indignantly.
The jest had been planned for John, not Vicky, so I decided to explain.
'Now that IS like Kelly.' She said after hearing the full story.
'Poor John!' we both said almost simultaneously before laughing at our timing.
After a few minutes of mundane conversation I asked her what was the cause of her obvious anxiety. She tried to pretend that nothing was up but I gradually drew her story from her.
.... There is more of this story ...