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       The Life and Times of Arnaud Morin, p.1
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           Sam Sparks
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The Life and Times of Arnaud Morin


  The Life and Times of Arnaud Morin

  by

  Sam Sparks

  This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is entirely coincidental.

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with.

  Copyright ? 2015. Sam Sparks. All rights reserved. Including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof, in any form. No part of this text may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the author. Email: samsparks@gmx.co.uk

  Arnaud Morin was given up for adoption at birth.

  His conception and subsequent adoption was the result of a Mayoral dalliance with a country girl barely of legal age called Mimi, who herself had been taken in by a farming couple.

  Pierre Morin had held the office of Mayor of St Dessault for five years. He was married to Anne - Marie for ten and had a daughter Margaux, aged two.

  Mimi had caught the Mayoral eye on one of his rounds of the local area. Ensuing countryside alfresco liaisons took place. Arnaud was the unwanted result.

  When Mimi realised she was pregnant, she told her adoptive parents. Naturally they were keen to know the name of the father.

  Her response, that since she had slept with five men it was impossible to know, sparked a huge row.

  She had thought of telling them the truth but could foresee a better outcome for herself. What Mimi lacked in years she made up for in savvy. To get what she wanted she knew her offensive would have to be brazen and duly presented herself in the office of the Mayor.

  Since they had only ever met in a wood this caused Pierre Morin no small amount of discomfort. Her sudden appearance required a hastily thought up story for his secretary.

  Once she had broken the news, Mimi had two demands. Not only did she want the baby adopted by the Mayor and his wife, she sought to extract a regular monthly payment for herself to keep the matter private. Her aim was to give him no space to wriggle out of his situation.

  'No proof?' she had said when he tried to bluster.

  'We have been seen. Madame Arment. She doesn't know about my condition. But that would quickly change of course.'

  Pierre had gone to school with Madame's daughter, Amelie. In recent times due to the departure of her husband, she was regarded as the most eligible of the mature single women for miles around.

  The Mayor was both panicked and sceptical. He reasoned, as Madame Arment was known to enjoy a gossip, then this juicy morsel would surely have been broadcast all over town.

  Mimi and her demands were summarily dismissed.

  He was expecting a tantrum. No violent protest manifested itself; instead she withdrew quietly from the room. The passive response made him feel even uneasier.

  The next morning he rounded the corner of the side alley of his wife's pharmacy to find Madame Arment walking towards him. She smiled as they approached each other.

  She greeted him first. 'Monsieur Mayor.' projecting her voice to him from some distance. It could have waited until they were at closer quarters. He started to fear the worst.

  Madame Arment had not been short of admirers, but was not interested in any of the potential suitors. Inevitably in a small provincial town there were rumours, but that was all they were. She was however looking for a less formal arrangement and with someone considerably younger. And here he was twenty yards away. They exchanged pleasantries perhaps a little more conversation than normal and his initial panic had subsided. But it was obvious as she put down her shopping that she was in no hurry to leave. She continued the conversation, talked about some local issues he would be involved with, then on to her daughter, a little about her ex husband, emphasising how she missed male company. At this point, he wanted to be on his way, his body language indicating the conversation should be terminating. But she evidently was not similarly minded and lingered on the topic of being on her own. The lonely evenings were the worst she said.

  Then she hit him with his second blackmail demand of the week. Meet her for regular " liaisons" in the same place she had witnessed the conception of Arnaud, or she would indeed put his secret about town.

  'Only in the summer you understand. We can meet the day after tomorrow at four. I'll expect you.' She instructed,

  Mimi had one testicle, Madame Arment the other.

  He had no choice but to cede to Mimi's demands and of course Madame's. The alternative would be a catastrophe.

  And so they started to meet.

  His life was spiralling out of control. Taking money from public funds solved the Mimi financial problem. But the insurmountable problem would be selling the idea of adopting a child to his wife.

  And so Arnaud was duly born.

  The Mayor was relieved he had been a boy, leverage he could use to say he wanted a son.

  After a sleepless night, he broached the subject with his wife at breakfast one morning.

  En passant he mentioned that a boy had been born to a poor local girl who was looking for adoptive parents.

  'And?' his wife enquired.

  He expressed his wish to consider an adoption, pointing out that whilst he understood that she would not want to go through childbirth again after the trauma of Margaux's entry into the world. And saying he would have liked to have tried for a second child in the hope it was a boy.

  In addition to his spurious wish to have a son, he explained. 'And of course the Mayoral elections are nearly on us again. It will play well with the voters. The mother's family are dirt poor, we come to the rescue.' Since he was a dead certainty to win again, this logic lacked real substance.

  He waited for her reaction.

  Madame Morin could understand he might want a son. She told him she would think about it. She had harboured an occasional slight conscience about her refusal to try for another child, so a week later she agreed. On the proviso that she had no wish to know anything about the parents. The Mayor was very happy to comply with her wish. He instructed the family's legal representative to proceed with the adoption of Arnaud.

  Though he was spared the exposure of the truth and possibility of losing the position of Mayor, something he loved more than anything. He could not bond with his new son; his wife showed the boy no love either. Once old enough he was at the beck and call of his parents. The Mayor's regret deepened and Arnaud suffered. Margaux, their daughter, was the favoured child, if only just. The Morin's relationship became remote at best.

  Margaux grew up largely isolated from her peers. No boy was interested in her, not that she was unattractive but due to poor parenting she had an unfortunate way about her.

  Arnaud was informed he was adopted when he was twelve. The news hit him hard, his childhood had been difficult enough and then this news. But in a way, it made sense to him. He knew he was treated a little differently to their daughter. Always a quiet boy, the news of the adoption drove him to become withdrawn. The only high point in Arnaud's life were chemistry lessons; his teacher predicted a bright future for him.

  He never asked about his real parents, taking against that idea soon after the news was broken to him.

  His talent for his favourite subject led him to qualify as a Pharmacist and he became "Le Pharmacien" in the shop owned by his adoptive mother. Her father had been the unpopular dispenser for some twenty years previously. There was one other Pharmacy in the town and it did very well. Arnaud took over from the incumbent after
his death.

  Madame did not pay him well. But, for his part the responsibility had given him much needed confidence. Everyone noticed he was more outgoing. When conversing about medications he would become animated. His enthusiasm for his subject played well with the few customers the business had retained. Word spread, business improved. In the first year after he took over, takings had taken a significant upward turn. Another year went past and the Pharmacy was prospering. However, Arnaud's salary was still dismal. He had not been successful in negotiating a pay rise and rarely had time off to himself, just the odd fishing trip with his best friend Giles the mechanic.

  As far as the opposite sex were concerned in his last year at school he had briefly dated a girl from the gypsy camp that had been pitched on the outskirts that summer. The travellers were quickly moved on as soon as the Mayor's wife got wind Arnaud was seeing a gypsy girl. False charges were made and the Mayor told them they were not welcome.

  Madame Morin was concerned about her daughter's single status. The historic lack of boyfriends, except for one good-looking boy called Gregoire whose family inherited a jewellers business in Paris. His family left overnight and Margaux held a foul mood for weeks. The prospect of her daughter becoming an old maid and continue living at home bothered her immensely. Margaux had a small crush on Arnaud. Nothing on the scale of Gregoire. But as far as she was concerned the
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