The not so secret emails.., p.5
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       The Not So Secret Emails Of Coco Pinchard (A Romantic Comedy), p.5
 

           Robert Bryndza
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  Saturday 31st January 12:22

  TO: chris@christophercheshire.com

  I have just had my severance package from Dorian.

  He included a letter from my publisher saying that because of ‘poor sales’ in a ‘tough market’ they have withdrawn Chasing Diana Spencer and will not be printing a paperback. They have allowed the rights to revert to me, but it means I don’t get the last instalment of my advance. This has blown a huge hole in my budget. (I now have to rely on asking Daniel for even more money.)

  The most horrifying is that the 3,000 remaining hardback copies of Chasing Diana Spencer are due to be pulped next week by a company called TBS Returns (probably stands for To Be Shredded).

  They have included an email address for them in case I want to keep any copies.

  Marika is here with a box of Chardonnay. You want to come over, get terribly drunk, and celebrate the end of a terrible month? I think I’ve reached rock bottom.

  Saturday 31st January 23:56

  TO: enquiries@tbsreturns.co.uk

  A Pulping Poem by Coco Pinchard

  Oh, Ye great soaring warehouse in Essex!

  Open your hallowed doors, and let me see your lights

  I will wear my bestest tights

  For tis soon in the month of Feb-yur-ee

  My book will travel to thee

  Great TBS returns!

  Where no book never burns

  But with such a double negative

  Is pulped, and gulped

  In frenzied recycling activity

  That aint no nativity.

  Nothing is born; no star is followed, when a manuscript is man-u-ripped!

  Three thousand copies I do have withdrawn

  Three thousand copies maketh Coco so forlorn.

  If I could have but tenth of these for myself

  To fit on my Ikea bookshelf

  A happy cow I’ll be

  Moooooooooooo.

  Ms. Coco Pinchard (Author, Poet, and don’t she know it.)

  February

  Sunday 1st February 12:33

  TO: rosencrantzpinchard@gmail.com

  Something’s wrong. The house is shaking!

  Sunday 1st February 12:37

  TO: rosencrantzpinchard@gmail.com

  Well can you turn down the volume on Star Trek: Voyager? I thought we were having an earthquake when the Enterprise hit Warp speed. Why did you let me sleep until nearly one?

  Sunday 1st February 13:47

  TO: marikarolincova@hotmail.co.uk

  Did you get home okay? Chris says he woke up in his front garden an hour ago. It’s all coming back now. The huge amounts we drank. Rosencrantz coming down twice to tell us to keep the noise down. My head feels like its full of mice in spiky golf shoes.

  And my poem… I have just had this email: -

  ATTACHMENT

  FROM: iain.anderson@TBSreturns.co.uk TO: cocopinchard27@gmail.com

  Dear Ms. Pinchard

  We never normally enter into correspondence with authors or readers. Much of it is abusive due to the unfortunate nature of our work. However, your poem of late last night greatly touched our morning staff. In one instance, made Terry who drives the forklift shed a tear. We adored its irony.

  So, on this occasion we will grant your request to, “Open our hallowed doors,” and tour our facility for the pulping of your book Chasing Diana Spencer. I have sent the three hundred copies you requested and waived the P & P. Do keep writing, out of all tragedy comes hope.

  I have booked your visit for 10.30am next Saturday 7th. Due to limited number of hard hats available, we can only grant you one guest.

  Yours faithfully

  Iain Anderson (Head Book Pulper) TBS Returns

  I am cringing. Why didn’t you stop me from sending that poem! It’s awful, awful, awful. I went “moooo” at the end of it.

  Where am I going to put three hundred copies?

  Monday 2nd February 17:56

  TO: chris@christophercheshire.com

  The newspaper didn’t arrive this morning. I phoned Clive the Newsagent and he said the bill was not paid for January. Luckily, there was nearly a tenner in change down the back of the sofa. I cleared the bill and bought The Independent. They have announced the shortlist for the Anne & Michael Book Club.

  Anne and Michael Brannigan were on page seven, clinking wine glasses with Regina Battenberg. Window Box Winemaking is top of their list. Anne Brannigan was looking a little twitchy and drinking orange juice…

  I have decided to go on Saturday to TBS Returns and get closure. I’ve never had closure before, but the way everyone bangs on about it these days it may be my salvation. Once it has happened, I can move on. Every day I re-play my literary downfall in my head. Do you want to come along? Marika has a hot date on Saturday with an even hotter Greek guy.

  Monday 2nd February 19:04

  TO: marikarolincova@hotmail.co.uk

  A humiliating call from Daniel this morning. The pompous bastard informed me he was willing to put an ‘allowance’ of £300 per month into my current account. He then hung up saying he was in the middle of a Whistle sound check.

  Tuesday 3rd February 17:01

  TO: marikarolincova@hotmail.co.uk

  Parcel force woke me at midday with three hundred copies of Chasing Diana Spencer. They are piled up against the wall in the living room. I am pretending they are modern art. The white spines look quite good with the black writing.

  Thank you for the offer to put me on your school’s list of supply teachers, but I am going to try to weather the storm. I couldn’t go back to being an English Teacher; not after telling everyone when I left, I was going to be a writer.

  Friday 6th February 16:30

  TO: marikarolincova@hotmail.co.uk

  What a wasted, depressing week. I just sat on the stairs this morning crying. I thought I had turned a corner. I don’t know if I can go tomorrow but Chris is insisting.

  P.S. Enjoy your date tomorrow.

  Saturday 7th February 18:00

  TO: marikarolincova@hotmail.co.uk

  I was looking for my car keys this morning when the doorbell went. Chris was on the doorstep grinning in a smart suit. Parked by the old red telephone box sparkled his Mother’s Bentley.

  A distinguished looking Driver got out and opened the door.

  “I thought we’d go in style,” said Chris.

  “How will your Mum get to Harrods?” I said grabbing my bag.

  “I told her about the tube,” he said. “She’s going to try it with her friend India; they’re very excited.”

  The car barely made a sound as it slid across London. As I predicted in the poem, TBS Returns is a huge warehouse, but it lacked hallowed doors. It had those plastic strips flapping in the breeze. Once we slid through the gates, we were searched, briefed about the fire exits, and asked to sign a confidentiality agreement.

  “Just remember,” said Chris as we descended in the lift. “You’re not a bad writer. One day you’ll be bigger than Regina Battenberg.”

  “No thanks,” I said. “She’s packing a lot under that Kaftan.”

  As the lift opened, we took in the enormity of the warehouse. Books were piled floor to ceiling and forklift trucks buzzed about.

  We were also confronted by the sheer damn sexiness of Iain Anderson, ‘Head Book Pulper.’ I had imagined some fusty old git and I blushed when he held out his hand to greet us.

  “Coco Pinchard!” his voice echoed confidently, “the writer and poet.” I guffawed like a slapper on a hen night and went red. He put his hand on the small of my back and ushered us into a nearby Cherry Picker. Chris hopped in after and he closed the gate.

  Our bodies were packed close as we rose up over the warehouse. With his full lips, dark stubble and muscular lean body, Chris and I locked eyes in agreement. He was hot.

  “You just made it,” said Iain as the Cherry Picker slowed its climb. “Chasing Diana Spencer is next.” He pointed to a forklift carrying a wooden palette stacked
high with my book and moving towards the pulping machine.

  I went to say something profound but the forklift swerved and dumped them in one go.

  As they hit the spinning blades, the hardback covers squealed and cracked. I felt tears coming and for some reason, buried my head in Iain’s chest. It was firm and muscled and he smelt so wonderful.

  I realised what I was doing and pulled away, but a big string of snot hung between my nose and his shirt pocket.

  “Oh god!” I said, mortified. Chris’ eyebrows shot up and he fumbled for a tissue.

  There is nowhere to run in a Cherry Picker, and it was a long minute before all the snot was accounted for.

  “We often forget how tough it is to be a writer,” said Iain as we descended back to earth. I wasn’t sure if he was changing the subject or being polite about the silvery trail of snot now drying on his shirt.

  “A lot of the staff read your book this week. It’s great,” he said. “In fact, we reviewed it in our internal magazine, Pulped Fiction.”

  “Thank you,” I said as he helped us out.

  “I’m sorry I didn’t have more time to talk to you, but I’ve got to go, best of luck,” he said.

  And that was it, over so quickly.

  On the way home in the car, Chris asked if I had had the anticipated closure.

  “No, but I now have a nice cringe-worthy memory to add to my woes.”

  “I know,” said Chris. “If he’d have been a minger it would’ve been much less embarrassing.”

  “It’s made me realise that if I ever go on the pull again, I’m limited to the over forties. Your youth, it goes.”

  “Try being me,” said Chris. “In gay years I’m virtually a pensioner.”

  When I got home, Iain had emailed me the book review. I have attached it.

  Chasing Diana Spencer By Coco Pinchard Published by House Of Randoms. £19.99

  A sublime piece of comic fiction from first time writer Coco Pinchard. Set in 1981 in a parallel reality, Prince Charles is to announce his engagement to Camilla Parker-Bowles. With a week to go before the official announcement, the Queen is visited by the ghost of Queen Elizabeth I, who informs her that a grave error has occurred in the order of the Universe.

  If she wants to save the monarchy, and the future of humanity, Prince Charles must marry a young woman called Diana Spencer, working as a ski instructor in a sleepy corner of France. The Queen is forced to don a disguise and undertake an epic journey to find Diana before it’s all too late. Full of comedy, drama, and delightful plot twists this novel must be read before the scheduled shred.

  Sunday 8th February 13:30

  TO: chris@christophercheshire.com

  Are you around for some Sunday lunch? Rosencrantz is in love, Marika is in love. I am not. Are you? You know I always wish you happiness but please don’t tell me you’ve fallen in love since yesterday. I need a fellow ying for their loved up yang.

  Marika had a wonderful dinner with her Greek guy, Aristotle. He was chivalrous, made her laugh and the lingering kiss he gave her whilst pressed up against the gas meter was so good she has lost the will to smoke.

  “His pheromones have flooded my body, and taken away the cravings,” she said as I lit up a fag, my fifteenth of the morning.

  Rosencrantz met a guy during a Flashmob this morning at Kings Cross Station, organised via Facebook. Three hundred strangers congregated at precisely 11.09 and all performed the Macarena. Post Flashmob, when they were being herded out of the ticket hall by the Police, Rosencrantz got chatting to Clive, a handsome older guy wearing Prada sunglasses.

  “I’m like, in love,” he said. “The writing’s on the wall.” I presume he meant his Facebook wall.

  Doesn’t anyone meet in the pub anymore?

  I’ve made Yorkshire puddings, (from a packet.) xxx

  Monday 9th February 10:00

  TO: marikarolincova@hotmail.co.uk

  At seven this morning I shuffled past my computer on the landing when it started to trill like a 1950s phone. There was a popping noise and Meryl appeared, sat in her front room with her palm tree wallpaper in the background. Her mouth was moving but there was no sound.

  In my bleary state, I realised it was the new Skype account Rosencrantz downloaded to talk to the Prada sunglasses guy, Clive. I clicked on the speakers and Meryl came booming through at full blast saying,

  “Coco! It’s Cock-crow, and you’re still in your nightie?” I said I was recovering from a boozy lunch with Rosencrantz, Marika, and Chris where we all talked about men.

  “What’s Rosencrantz talking about men for?”

  “Because he’s gay,” I said. “You remember? He told us all over the PA system at your Silver Wedding party.”

  “Yes,” said Meryl shuddering. “But, are you sure he’s gay. He’d make some girl very happy.”

  “Look,” I said. “I am not going to debate my son’s sexuality with you. Again. The penny should have dropped years ago when you made him all those evening gowns for his Barbie Dolls. Now. What can I do for you?”

  “I was seeing if you wanted to come for Easter?”

  “When is Easter?” I said.

  “When is Easter?” said Tony popping up behind Meryl. “You Labour voters. I bet you could tell me when Ramadan is but not Good Friday.”

  “Tony I’m talking,” said Meryl pushing him away. “Coco, Easter falls on April the tenth, Mum’s coming. Daniel will be in the States, Whistle Up The Wind is doing very well… It’ll be your first Easter alone.”

  Meryl blinked and let it hang there. I was too tired to think of an excuse, so I agreed.

  “Super I’ll send you a note-let to confirm. Must dash.” With that there was another popping sound and the screen went blank.

  What are you doing for Easter? Could you manufacture a fake relative who could die, and invite me to the funeral? I must try to get out of it. I must also get Rosencrantz to switch the computer off when he is finished. This Skype thing is too close for comfort. Last night, I was unwittingly introduced to Clive as I walked past in a towel.

  “Ooh. Isn’t mum a curvy goddess?” He crooned. I couldn’t tell if it was meant as a compliment. He still had on his Prada sunglasses, indoors, at night. Their first proper date is tomorrow evening.

  Wednesday 11th February 23:18

  TO: rosencrantzpinchard@gmail.com

  Thank you for your message. Why can’t you lie like other teenagers? I don’t need to know that the date is going well and you are going back to Clive’s ‘for coffee.’

  Chris is here. He just showed me the text you sent him; ‘Will the sunglasses come off along with the underwear?’

  Could you please not send things like that to Chris? It puts him in a position of knowing too much and then he feels he has to tell me.

  I went for tea and Corned Beef sandwiches with your Nan today, she sends you her love. There is a new resident in her home, Mrs. Burbridge, who is jostling to be top dog. Last night she led a coup in the Resident’s Lounge, which resulted in Eastenders not being shown. I told her to tell Mrs. Braun, the manager but I was met with a torrent of expletives culminating in,

  “ I aint a grass!” She is plotting to bring down Mrs. Burbridge.

  “I control what is on the box round ‘ere,” she said, her eyes flashing. I told her not to make trouble, but she said whatever she does, it won’t be traced back to her. If I was Mrs. Burbridge, I would be scared. I saw Ethel surreptitiously slide the key off the tin of Corned Beef and into her handbag.

  Thursday 12th February 15:47

  TO: chris@christophercheshire.com

  Rosencrantz has ended it with Clive. They went on a second date yesterday to The Chamber of Horrors at Madam Tussauds. It was very dark, and for Health and Safety reasons a member of staff ordered him to remove his Prada sunglasses. Apparently, Clive has rather overdone it on the eye surgery. It looks like two peeled eggs are straining to evacuate his head. Rosencrantz screamed in terror and ran into the arms of a Dracula waxwork
.

  Saturday 14th February 13:44

  TO: chris@christophercheshire.com

  You got six Valentine cards? I got a gas bill. Marika has had nothing from Aristotle, even though on their last date she let him take her up the Oxo Tower.

  Presents from Clive keep arriving for Rosencrantz. They were supposed to be going for a luxury Valentine’s journey on The London Eye… The eye-rony!

  Saturday 14th February 17:07

  TO: chris@christophercheshire.com

  At four thirty, after Champagne, Handmade Belgian chocolates and a Tiffany Silver Spork had been delivered, Clive knocked on the door.

  “Don’t answer it,” said Rosencrantz leaping into the airing cupboard and closing the door. Clive banged again and looked through the letterbox. I ran into the living room but he followed and saw me through the window. I pretended to be surprised to see him, and went to open the door.

  “What can I do to win his heart?” begged Clive.

  “You should find someone who wants to settle down,” I said, as nicely as I could. Clive pulled off his sunglasses and shouted,

  “Does he know how rich I am? He’ll want for nothing!” Despite being forewarned, I still took a sharp intake of breath. I don’t know how his eyes were managing to stay in his head.

  “Um…Money isn’t everything,” I said weakly.

  “If you believe that then you’re a fool!” He spat. “I know you’re in there Rosencrantz,” he shouted. “I could make you a star!” We stood there awkwardly, as Rosencrantz remained in the airing cupboard.

  “Fine!” he said, and turning on his loafers, he hailed a cab.

  Rosencrantz quickly forgot about Clive. In fact, within three quarters of an hour, he had arranged a date via Facebook with a boy from his Elizabethan dance class. I couldn’t forget the look of desperation on Clive’s face. Will he ever find someone? Will I?

 
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