Blind Date

posted in: Fiction, Member Writing Features | 0

By Martin Smith.


‘Hello? Is … is anyone there?’

‘Yes. I’m over here. Hello. I’m John.’

‘Hello, John. I’m B … Blake. Sorry, I’m a bit nervous. This is the first time I’ve done this.’

‘I, too, was a tad nervous when I first started. Although this is the first time I’ve done it with the lights out. I’ll admit sitting in the dark makes it a little less intimidating.’

‘Really? I’m shaking like a leaf.’

‘No need to. Just relax. Right, Blake, we have five minutes. Tell me about yourself.’

‘Well, I’ve lived in London all my life. I worked in business. Finance. Spent my entire career footling with numbers. I’m retired now—put my feet up, so to speak. I became single six years ago, and I’m looking for someone to share the rest of my life with. And you, John?’

‘Me? I was in acting, treading the boards all over the globe, living in and out of suitcases. I stepped out in the occasional commercial over the years, as well. If you could see me, I’m sure you’d recognise me. Boy, could I tell you some stories that would make your toes curl. Between roles, I helped out at my good friend Cordy Wainer’s shop to make ends meet. Rushed off my feet by day’s end I was. So, Blake, why have you been single for so long?’

‘I suppose I have an issue with trust, John. My Beaufort … the love … of my life … Oh God! … It’s still so painful … so raw …’

‘There, there, Blake. Do you need a tissue?’

‘N … N … No, thank you.’

‘Take your time. There’s no rush.’

‘Thanks, John. You’re very kind. As I was saying, my Beaufort. He betrayed me. Six years ago, I was, for a couple of weeks, a lost soul. A victim of neglect through no fault of my own. It was sheer dumb luck I found my way back to the fold, and when I returned, Beaufort had disappeared. The love of my life. Gone. I thought we were inseparable. A perfect match. We’d done everything together. Everything. I was inconsolable, especially when I heard vicious rumours and ugly gossip amongst the other couples. Only after my neighbour calmed me down did I learn the horrible truth. Beaufort had run off with a hand puppeteer. Two weeks we’d been apart. Two weeks. And that’s all it took for Beaufort to stray into the hands of another.’

‘Oh, you poor soul.’

‘For six years I grieved. I denied, angered, bargained and depressed, alone and in the dark and never seeing the light of day. Then I reached acceptance, and I decided to hop back on the treadmill and seek a new partner and, hopefully, pair up with a like-minded soul for the rest of my life.’

‘At least you found out where your partner had gone, Blake. My Smedley just disappeared one day. No goodbyes, no explanation, just poof! And gone! One day, you’re a paired bundle of fun; next, you’re on your own, and all you want to do is crawl up into a ball and shun the world. All that remained of him was a hint of fragrance, the freshly washed, soapy aroma he carried with him, but even that soon faded. I, too, moped about, fighting those feelings of abandonment and inadequacy. But one day I realised that if I didn’t pull myself up and get out and about, I’d slip to the bottom of the pile, so I’ve been going to these Date Nights for two years now.’

‘Two years? And you’ve not found a match?’

‘Not yet. But I’m still hopeful. Look, it’s a jungle out there, and one needs to tread lightly. I’ve got to tell you, Blake, I’ve paired up with some real duds over the last couple of years.’


‘Oh, yes. I’ve gone out with some shockers, some absolute stinkers. The first one I stepped out with was ex-military—a starchy, crew-cut type who was up every morning before the crack of dawn, and then it was heel-and-toe, heel-and-toe for the rest of the day. Next was this disaster with a well-heeled toff from Totteridge who was the epitome of insolence, thinking he was top of the pile. After we split, I cooled my heels until I took up with this sporty type who ran me off my feet all day and stunk to high heavens all night. It was a breath of fresh air to part from him. Then there was this ruffian, Billy, who lay about all day. I’ll admit I was becoming desperate by this stage, so much so I ended up having a dalliance with this dainty little number, Jennifer—’

‘What? A female?’

‘Yes. As I said, I was becoming desperate. This Jennifer, from Kent, was all frilled cuffs and polka dots, but it only lasted a night, and she ditched me for a Bobbie, some dazzler from Brixton. Well, I learnt my lesson there, Blake. Heed my advice and steer clear of those happy ones. You know, with their bright colours and outlandish patterns. They’re too damn cheerful, too upbeat. And talk about narcissistic, what with their wanting to stand out in the crowd. And don’t get me started about their ankle-biters. I’m afraid I like my partners demure; you know, nondescript yet dependable.’

‘I know what you mean, John.’

‘I’d almost given up all hope, Blake, when, last year, I thought I’d found true love again. I met a Percy Ivor, God bless him, and we had the most wonderful six months together, but then he found religion and turned holy on me and said he wanted to be single again and live an insular life. I tell you, it took a long time for the wounds of our parting to heal, but I realised life’s too short for regret, so I decided to, once again, dip my toe in—put my best foot forward, so to speak. And here I am, talking to a fine fellow like you. But enough about me. Tell me more about you.’

‘Well, John, I love toe-tapping to musical theatre, tripping the light fantastic whilst ballroom dancing, beach walks, cosying up before a log fire at night and, when partnered, playing footsie.’

‘My word, Blake, you’re a romantic soul.’

‘But it’s not the same by yourself. God, I’m so lonely. I’m on the scrapheap: greying, fraying and threadbare. I feel so useless.’

‘Chin up, old boy. There are plenty more sole in the sea.’

‘God, I hope so. Having all those smug couples milling about doesn’t help. They’re always trying to set me up with some odd sod, but, well, they’re not Beaufort. The chemistry isn’t there, and the other couples give me these odd looks or smirks, and, to be truthful, I feel a little out of step all day.’

‘The clock’s ticking, old boy. Let’s get back to your profile. Any family?’

‘No, just me, now Beauy’s gone. Yourself?’

‘Me? Oh, I come from a big family. Fourteen of us. Seven sets of twins. And we all came into the big, wild world on the same day. Christmas Day.’

‘Really? That’s remarkable.’

‘No, that’s not the remarkable bit. My eccentric parents named us after the days of the week. I was a Sunday, even though I wasn’t a bit holy. I lost my twin when we were young, and I changed my name by deed poll when Smedley came into my life. My family, they all disappeared over the years. The last to go were the Mondays. Bit dreary, those two. How about politics? Do you have a preferred side? Are you a conservative?’

‘Why, yes, I do favour the right. Yourself?’

‘Me? I can go either way, but if I had to make a stand, I would say I prefer the left. And how do you fill your days, Blake?’

‘Stuck at home. It can be a tad dreary. Especially on washing day. All those suds and spin cycles. I tell you, it does my head in. And then having to hang around all day, waiting for everything to dry.’

‘Too true. So—Oh! There’s the bell. My goodness, didn’t that five minutes fly by? Well, it’s been jolly nice talking to you, Blake. I hope you find what you’re looking for. I best move on to the next table, if I can find the blessed blighter. Goodbye and good luck.’

‘Thanks, John. You’ve been most supportive. You know, it’s the darndest thing, but this has been the most cathartic thing I’ve done in ages. Who knows, another time, another place, we might have been a perfect match. Anyway, at the very least, it’s done wonders for my soul to have a bit of banter with a like-minded sock.’


 Eight-year-old Martin Smith


Martin Smith is a writer of short fictions of humour. Having spent a working life crunching numbers, he retired to the Bellarine Peninsula in 2013, where he lives and writes in a beach house at Queenscliff. When he is not banging away on his keyboard with thumbs and index fingers or reading snippets of his scribblings to his beloved Rose, you’ll more likely than not find him walking the beach barefoot at low tide or downing a double scoop of Peppermint Chip at the local ice-creamery. He plans to publish two collections of stories of humour (This Laugh’s On Me and The Cannibal’s Guide to Health and Wellbeing) in 2023.

Martin joined Geelong Writers in 2022. He is a member of The Seaside Scribes, a writing group that meets at the Queenscliff Neighbourhood House every second Tuesday.

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