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by S.D.Stephenson


She looked round the table and her heart sank. To her right sat Stanley, a squat, hairy man. He had attacked his meal with relish - nothing wrong with that apart from the fact that he ate his peas with his knife and constantly belched. He was now picking his teeth.

On her left sat Ralph, a dapper little man who obviously thought himself a ladies man, chattering phrases such as, 'where have you been all my life?' Rather spoilt by the fact that his wig was all-askew. Gloria, opposite, flashing teeth and jewellery, had her red tipped fingers possessively on her companion's arm. Walter, a small meek looking man was gazing, as if mesmerised into her heavily made up face.

Poor Flora on his left had said very little but all her attention was on her second helping of chocolate fudge pudding. As she weighed about 20 stone it was probably all she was interested in.

She had answered the advert on impulse. It was with a view to meet other people interested in outings, meals etc. It had seemed fun at the time, but she had nothing in common with any of these people and wondered how soon she could politely leave.

Stanley was suggesting a quiet meal for two.

'You look like a good cook,' he said, his teeth clacking.

Ralph, meanwhile had increased his pressure on her knee and she turned round quickly to tell him in no uncertain terms what she thought of his conduct and woke up sweating and cramped in -thank God - her own bed. It was only a nightmare, she had been worrying about the following day's meeting. At least, she thought, the real meeting couldn't be anywhere near as bad could it?


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