DRAFT: One percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration

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<p>The above quote applies to genius, according to Thomas Edison, but in fact all sorts of nouns could replace the 'G' word. Success, for instance, or happiness. Even love. Okay, so love tends to come your way without you inviting it, but once it&#8217;s in your world, then you have to perspire bloody hard to keep it &#8211; and I&#8217;m not talking about the perspiration of nuptial acrobatics. I&#8217;m talking about perspiring until you get it right, especially with relationships. <em>Any </em>relationships. With children, parents, spouse, partner, teachers, students, work colleagues, bosses, lovers &#8230; the list could go on ad infinitum.</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>Did I just mention the &#8216;L&#8217; word in my first paragraph? Oops! - must be careful not to get caught up in all THAT quagmire again. But the thing is, perspiration and the &#8216;L&#8217; word do actually go hand in hand. And once again, I don&#8217;t mean in bed. You see, it was perspiration that helped me plan, write, revise and complete my latest novel, and it was the &#8216;L&#8217; word, as well as Cupid&#8217;s inspiration, that then hijacked my novel, my hubby, and my marriage.</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>I apologise most profusely in advance, but I&#8217;m going to have to mention Philosopher-Hubby again. I truly am moving on this year, really - but just allow me the occasional relapse, okay?</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>When Errant Hubby read <em>Beyond a Thousand Hill</em> way back last spring &#8211; long before the Villainess appeared in our lives &#8211; he fell in love with my protagonist, Naomi Lieberman. Simple as that. After twenty-one years of togetherness, our marriage had gone a bit &#8230; okay, I admit it - romantically stale. Whose hasn&#8217;t, after twenty-one years? And then, hey bingo! &#8211; there Hubby was, reading my novel and actually fancying my main character! He even announced to me, one evening while we were having a late-night chat out on the veranda with a beer and a wine (and ciggie, though shouldn&#8217;t admit that), that my novel had made him fall in love with me all over again. But the trouble is, it wasn&#8217;t <em>me</em> he had the hots for; it was <em>Naomi</em>. My protagonist, as I said<em>. </em>And, despite Hubby&#8217;s astute philosopher&#8217;s brain, he just couldn&#8217;t see it. (Honestly, sometimes men can be so <em>dense</em>.)</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>&#8220;Wendy,&#8221; he said to me in all seriousness, &#8220;your novel has made me fall in love with you all over again!&#8221; And I just rolled my eyes and said, &#8220;Oh, come on, it&#8217;s <em>Naomi </em>that you&#8217;re talking about, not me. You&#8217;re just dying to get into her knickers, let&#8217;s face it. Right, darling?&#8221; Of course he denied it, and got all huffy and offended, but it was true. Honest to God. And that was the beginning of the end.&#160;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>So anyway. If any readers out there are curious about this hot Naomi figure who started out in my head with one percent inspiration, and ended up in my completed novel and my hubby&#8217;s head with ninety-nine percent perspiration, then have a read of the opening scene of <em>Beyond a Thousand Hills.</em></p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p><em>&#160;</em></p> <p><strong><em>Naomi</em></strong></p> <p><strong><em>London, March 2013</em></strong></p> <p>&#160;</p> <p><strong>ONE</strong></p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>It all began in a sex shop.</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>At six o&#8217;clock in the evening of Friday, 22<sup>nd</sup> March, I was just about to leave Sugar Lace and head back to Finchley to join the Blumenbergs for Shabbat dinner. And then Mohammed walked into the shop. I don&#8217;t know if his real name is Mohammed, but as he looks decidedly Islamic I reckon there&#8217;s a fairly good chance it is, so that&#8217;s what I call him. Just to myself, of course. Wouldn&#8217;t want to offend any religious sensibilities and end up with a fatwah issued against me.</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>He strode across the dimly lit room and slapped a boxed set of our Ready-Made Massage Kit onto the counter. I glanced at it. It&#8217;s a brilliant deal, this kit, including lubricants (or lubes, as they&#8217;re more commonly known in the trade), gels, a mini-vibrator thrown in for fun, and a special candle that turns into scented oil as it melts, so that it can be poured straight onto one&#8217;s skin ready for the massage &#8211; and all for the unbeatable price of &#163;19.99. He certainly wouldn&#8217;t find a better deal anywhere else in Soho!</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>My reticent customer stood still for a good five, maybe six seconds. The wall clock above the serving counter ticked away.</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>At last he scratched his ear and announced, &#8220;I have a problem.&#8221;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>&#8220;Oh?&#8221; I looked up at him, with a smile, as always. &#8220;Perhaps I can help?&#8221; <em>No matter what they say, keep smilin&#8217;! </em>That&#8217;s Fred&#8217;s motto.</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>&#8220;I sincerely hope so.&#8221;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>&#8220;Well, that&#8217;s what I&#8217;m here for, sir.&#8221;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>I should add that Mohammed is one of our regular customers. He comes in roughly once a month and stocks up on a large number of latex items which I assume can&#8217;t all be for his own use, so my guess is that he transports them to various corners of the earth where they are not readily available.&#160; &#160;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>Drawing his oily-black brows together, he looked at me as though I were a naughty schoolgirl who ought to be chastised. &#8220;I bought ten sets of these last month, and I have received a number of complaints.&#8221;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>&#8220;Really? What type of complaints?&#8221;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>&#8220;There is a problem with the &#8230; mini-vibrator.&#8221; At this point he lowered his angle of vision, thereby continuing his discourse with the counter that separated his world from mine. &#8220;The batteries do not last long enough.&#8221;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p><em>Well then maybe your users take too long! </em>I wanted to shout at him, but merely said, &#8220;Oh, I see.&#8221;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>&#8220;So, unless you can remedy this error at once, I would kindly request a full refund on all ten packages.&#8221;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>&#8220;Right.&#8221;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>I glanced over my shoulder in the direction of Fred&#8217;s office, tucked into the murky nether-regions of the shop. Was he still there? Or had he nipped out via the back door to buy me a snack for my journey home, even though I keep telling him there&#8217;s barely room to breathe in the tube at six o&#8217;clock on a Friday evening, let alone eat. Fred has a habit of looking after me as though I couldn&#8217;t look after myself, which I find both an irritation and a relief. &#160;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>&#8220;Well &#8211; I shall have to speak to the manager about it. I&#8217;m afraid I&#8217;m not at liberty to make such decisions by myself.&#8221;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>&#8220;When can you speak to him?&#8221;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>&#8220;Now, hopefully. One moment, please.&#8221; Still smiling, I spun round and headed for the thick velvet curtain that hid the door to Fred&#8217;s office.&#160;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>&#8220;Please be quick. I assume this request will not be too mentally exhausting for you?&#8221;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>I stopped. And turned back round. No longer smiling. How dare he stand there belittling me! How could he possibly know that it wasn&#8217;t exactly my childhood dream to endure eight hours a day within four lurid walls that are crammed to the hilt with vibrators, lubricants, rabbits, handcuffs, Tuxedo Bunny outfits, Bedside Nurses, Pouting Prefects and a titillating assortment of lingerie of all shapes and sizes?</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>&#8220;Sir,&#8221; I said tightly. &#8220;It might surprise you to know that I have a Master&#8217;s degree from UCL. That&#8217;s University College London to the better-informed. And the reason I happen to be in my current line of employment at Sugar Lace is because I spent half a year looking for a job in my field, to no avail. Not all sex shop assistants are brainless Barbie dolls, you know.&#8221;</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>Before he had the chance to react, my mobile rang. It was Ephraim. I happily excused myself from my unsmiling client, turned on my heel and headed for the loo, my place of sanctuary.</p> <p><em>&#160;</em></p> <p>&#160;</p>


The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 13, 2018 - 5:29am
Completely implausible! No way there are " murky nether regions " in a Soho sex shop!  
Ha! Just takin' the piss!  It's good Wendy. Nice opener and a good vehicle. The life and times of the dangerously over-educated porn shop clerk.....so many places this could go.
For the record, I will cop to it: yes, we tend to be rather dense in some matters.  Even the wiliest hound can be housebroken. It all comes down to how much perspiration one cares to put into it :)
Wendy Skorupski Added Jan 13, 2018 - 7:30am
Thanks, Burghal Hidage or whatever your name is. Yes, I'll just keep on perspiring until I  get there. And don't worry, I'm sure you are the one exception to the 'denseness' of the male species! :)