The Phantom

by

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Desc: Drama Story: It's all very well, getting mad about something someone has said, it's an entirely different prospect doing something about it. It was quite clear in my mind that I needed to get off my butt and do something, the question is what?



Author's Note

This is a short story I've been thinking about for a few weeks. It all came pouring out last night and I'm posting it unedited. So in the same vein as terriblethom, and to partially quote: Enjoy without complaining. Any grammar and other screw-ups are mine and I don't need to be reminded that I can't spel rigth (sic).

Tetley


Fat geek in the corner, that's me. Middle-aged, severely overweight, I believe obese is the correct term, and as timid as a mouse. Yes, that describes me alright.

I wasn't always this way, don't laugh but I used to have a 9% body fat ratio. I danced almost every night of the week, English Folk and sword dancing. Semi-professionally in that I got paid to do it but it wasn't my main job. I've been on dance tours throughout Europe and the group I belonged to had bookings for barn-dances and ceilidhs 6 nights a week from late spring to late autumn.

Then I took up programming and spend most of my waking hours behind a computer. Very energetic I can tell you and over the years, the weight has gone on.

I used to be in demand as a dance partner, now my only partner is my right hand. Pathetic isn't it? The only time I get to see my dick these days is if I look in the mirror. The fat around my belly gets in the way to see it normally, even if I bend over.

And, like most fat people, I sweat. Even a walk to the kitchen to make a cup of tea makes me sweat. I hate it. But I've not got any reason to do anything about it. I know I should, but I just can't seem to work up the enthusiasm.

I don't eat that much. No seriously, I don't. It's just that I don't do any exercise. None. I walk from the house to the car, drive to wherever I want to get to, the office mostly, and then walk to the lift, up three floors and walk to my desk. That's it except for the trip to the kitchen for drinks. Then I reverse the process to get home. I eat fruit, salads and cold cuts of meat. Anything, in fact, that doesn't require cooking. I can cook and while my parents were still alive, I used to cook for all of us. Both of them in their later years were too busy to cook so I did it all. I can cook meals and bake with the best of them. I just don't see the point these days. It's not easy cooking for just one, so now I don't bother.

I take my lunch break in the kitchen on the third floor and after eating my sandwiches I usually lay back, relax and listen to my mp3 player. No, it's not an iPod, I prefer something better. Then after the allotted hour I return to my part of the office and buckle down.

It's a strange dichotomy being a fat geek, you get ridiculed all the time until something goes wrong that only a geek can fix. Then you're flavour of the hour, or however long it takes to fix the problem. Most days I keep my head down, stay quiet and try not to attract any attention. As for the various social events that the company runs, I've never gone to one and these days, I don't even get an invite.

Like I said, pathetic.


Well, that all changed one Tuesday lunchtime. As usual I was resting in my armchair in the kitchen, eyes closed and this time, not listening to anything. The album I had been playing, Lily Allen if you're interested, had ended and I hadn't bothered to start anything else. This meant, for once, that I could hear what was being said by the Bitches. That's what I call them. Five of the ladies from Marketing, pampered and painted, not a hair out of place and not a personality between them. No, that's not right, they do have personalities, just not nice ones. I can usually tune out what they are talking about, but today they were talking louder that normal, excited about the Christmas do this year. Heavens above, it's only February and the company is already organising the Christmas party.

Anyway. Apparently this year it's going to be something out of the ordinary, a Masquerade Ball. There are to be several prizes for costume originality and that sort of thing but what made me listen in was the two major prizes. Two prizes each of ten thousand pounds, one for the person that stays anonymous until midnight and the other for the best dancer of the evening, five thousand for the male and five thousand for the female. There are rules, of course, the costume must not be one that entirely covers the person, such as a Mickey Mouse costume and things like that and as for the dancing, it's going to be Ceroc.

What the hell is Ceroc?

Oh well, no chance of me getting even a chance at the prizes. I mentally dismissed that idea and started to let my mind wander when Janice, bitch-in-chief spoke up.

"Everyone is going to get an invitation, even OG over there", OG, That's me, Overweight Geek. It's nice to have friends isn't it? "but there's not much chance of him winning, after all, who could miss all that sweat and blubber. As for dancing..." They all burst out laughing at the thought.

I don't know what it was, but this made me see red. Normally, I'd just have shrugged off what they said, and believe me, they've said worse, but this time something snapped. I didn't get up and rant and rave, that isn't my style. I did, however, sit there and fume.

In fact it was well after the normal lunch break that I finally got up and went to my desk. I didn't stay there long, pleading not feeling well, I took the rest of the week off. No-one seemed to mind, not that I cared just then, but I have more time in lieu owing that the rest of the employees put together, so HR didn't bat an eyelid.

It's all very well, getting mad about something someone has said, it's an entirely different prospect doing something about it. It was quite clear in my mind that I needed to get off my butt and do something, the question is what?

The target is easy, lose weight and learn to dance Ceroc in time for the Christmas bash on 21st December, just ten months away. The how is a bit more difficult. As I said before, the reason I'm overweight is not from over-eating, it's from under-exercising. After thinking of various solutions and then considering the pros and cons of each, finally decided that I needed a housekeeper. One that would be able to cook healthily, have a knowledge of exercise and massage. No, get your minds out of the gutter. If I was going to be exercising then I was going to ache and pretty badly to start with and the massage was for dealing with that. If the housekeeper in question also knew how to dance the Ceroc stuff, then all the better.

Easy, Yes?

No.

How do you go about hiring a housekeeper?

I should take a few moments to describe my house since it is pertinent. When my parents retired and started playing golf, they found that they were away from home more often that not, at least, once they started winning tournaments. Then they travelled all over the country playing golf, went on golfing holidays, and on one notable occasion they won first prize as a couple in a fairly prestigious competition which was a golfing cruise. When they first mentioned that to me I had visions of a cruise liner with an 18 hole golf course on the top deck. Needless to say, it was nothing like that at all. The ship took them for one Carribean Island to another, or more precisely, to one Carribean Island golf course to another.

So, they suggested that we all buy a house together, one that had a attached flat that they could use and the main house was for me. That way they had a home but also someone to look after it while they were away. It suited us all very well and they lived like that until the day they died. They died together, which was a blessing since neither of them wanted to outlive the other. They were totally in love even in their seventies and I knew that they dreaded the day when one of them would leave and so did I.

As it happened, they were on holiday, golfing naturally, and staying in a very well respected hotel in the North of England. One night there was some fault in the heating system and the carbon monoxide fumes killed them. They went to sleep and never woke up. Well, after the legal wrangling had died down, the company that carried out the heating repairs and maintenance paid a huge amount to me in compensation, three of the fitters were in jail along with two of the directors. The hotel also paid me a lump sum, they didn't have to as the courts exonerated them from all blame, but they did anyway. Good PR I guess. So, I have no debts, plenty of money invested and in my current account and no parents either. After I'd mourned for them I realised that this was probably the best way for them to go and that if there was an afterlife, then I'm certain that they approve of their demise, strange as that may sound.

So, getting back to the story, I have a suitable house and garden for a live-in housekeeper and the money to pay her wages. I just have to find one.

Despite what I said earlier, it wasn't as hard as I expected. I put an advert in the local rag, informed the Job Centre of my requirements and the qualifications that I expected, thoroughly researched of course, hired a room at a local (posh) hotel to carry out the interviews and then sat back to await results.

Well, only metaphorically. In reality I went back to my job.


There were a number of suitable candidates for the position along with a very large number of unsuitable ones. I talked to them all in the end even though a lot of them were totally unsuitable. I had but one candidate left to interview and went out to ask her to come into the room I'd hired. As I did so I was shocked to see a young lad, obviously employed by the hotel since he was dressed in the hotel livery, hustling my last candidate towards the door, trailed by two crying girls.

.... There is more of this story ...

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