The brief was a story in under 800 words. I did my usual trick of just writing and below is what came out!
A Comedy of Errors
I knew that things weren’t going to go well when the car stalled at the traffic lights and then refused to restart. This date was doomed from the moment I asked Caroline out. I’d worked with the girl for three years and we had a ‘fun’ relationship with plenty of banter between us. It had even reached the stage where she used to jokingly offer to take me into my store room and give me a good humping! What she and I didn’t realise was that the level of affection between us was rising.
“Caro,” I began. “Do you fancy taking in a movie and a curry afterwards?”
I asked her after weeks of trying to pluck up the courage and the only response I received initially was,
“You gotta be joking mate!”
I must have looked suitably crestfallen because she went on,
“Oh my God! You’re serious.”
Caroline didn’t actually respond to my question, but gave me a quizzical smile and left the room. It was the following morning when she stopped me in a corridor and said,
“Ok Johnny, but just the curry! Tonight! Meet me at Saffron at eight.”
The car was pushed to the edge of the road, so that it wasn’t causing an obstruction, by myself and a couple of half-drunk pedestrians - then I was jogging. I was jogging because it was almost eight and I was still a quarter of a mile from Saffron. Of course that was when a female shopper exited a newsagent’s with her head down staring fixedly at her mobile device and whom I only saw at the last minute. No I didn’t crash into her I executed my best rugby player’s side step, well at least the one I’d mentally rehearsed every time I watched the sport on the box, and twisted my knee. When stuntmen do this sort of thing the pavement never appears to be that hard as they spring up unscathed. I think I broke my elbow!
The rest of my short transfer to the restaurant was completed in a strange sort of shambling gait, favouring my twisted knee, and with my left arm cradling the right. Anyone looking on would have thought it was some jerk trying to walk like Quasimodo!
It was a couple of minutes after eight when I walked into the brightly lit portal of the Asian restaurant and almost bumped into Caroline.
“What on earth happened to you?” she laughed at my method of perambulation when I was expecting a kiss on the cheek at the very least.
“Don’t ask!” I replied.
“A table for two sir?” asked a suitably obsequious waiter.
“I booked under the name of Johnson,” I asserted.
The guy checked his bookings for the evening and yes, you guessed it,
“Sorry sir but I can’t find that name on my list,” he was not going to be argued with.
I felt myself blushing to the roots of my hair, Caro was looking at my face with raised eyebrows and the bloody waiter was looking down his nose at my dirty, unkempt, injured appearance. It turned out the pavement I’d fallen on was wet and also dirty.
“Can we wait?” I asked lamely.
Once again the waiter looked at me as if I was a horrid smell under his nose and informed me that they were busy all night. When we were stood on the pavement outside the eating house, it was raining again, I felt hopeless. As with many people who have found themselves in similar situations there seems to be an inherent need to repair the damage as quickly as possible.
“I know a place where we can get a meal,” I said grabbing Caroline’s hand with my good arm.
“So do I,” she said quietly.
Obviously I didn’t hear and spun on my bad leg to take her off in the direction of Akbar’s, my alternative, and fell flat on my face as the knee gave way once again.
“Damn!” I exclaimed from the prone position I’d assumed and tried to struggle to my feet.
We set off in the direction I’d intended with me hobbling badly, the rain was heavier now and running down my neck, and Caroline was trying to act like a crutch but only managed to squeeze my damaged elbow.
“I know where we can eat,” she said again with a sympathetic smile.
“Morning Johnny,” Caroline smiled sweetly and kissed my forehead. “You need to get to accident and emergency with that knee. Come on I’ll drop you on the way to work!”