It’s been a long time, over three weeks, since my last blog post, but I’m back! The past month I’ve been sailing in the Scottish Hebrides with my girlfriend aboard my yacht. It was the second such trip this year, and the last big one until next year. So much I could have written about, some of which I did; the wonderful sights, wildlife and day-to-day adventure, I’ll get those stories posted over the coming days.
The biggest problem was slow or non-existent internet access out in the sticks, but wow, it was worth it; though I‘ve missed being part of the blogging community and sharing our writings back and forth. I did at least achieve a further 3000 words or so of my second novel, a very tiny effort but at least I kept it going!
Oh, and my apologies for any comments or pingbacks not responded to over the past weeks , I’ll catch up 🙂
What better way to get back in the swing of things than with The Daily Post prompt, so here goes!
We were blessed with fantastic weather on holiday, almost three weeks of sunshine. One day we did have torrential rain at anchor, but I’ll keep to the script of the prompt;
Attired in shorts and t-shirt the sun beat down and a gentle breeze eased the stifling temperature as I walked down Main Street of this strange, backwoods town, peering into shop windows with a hand over my eyes to reduce the glare from the sun on the glass. I passed expensive clothes shops, bookstores, cafes and bars, and a few shops that defied description; you know the kind, selling everything from toys to gardening equipment, alongside musical instruments and household paints.
The air grew even warmer, a muggy thickness that clung to my throat and lungs. A few minutes later the wind stiffened and dark, ominous clouds filled the sky; the temperature dropped suddenly. Then the heavens opened. The rain bounced off the cracked pavement and pummelled my sunhat, at such close range it sounded like hail on a tin roof. I darted for the nearest cover, a shop with a dark awning giving shade to an equally dark window; I couldn’t even see what it was displaying as I rushed into the shop.
I stood on a bare wooden floor, unceremoniously dripping water from my hat, the clothes that were sticking to me, and from my entire body. At least it wasn’t a quality carpet I thought. Gathering my senses I gazed around at my new surroundings. The lighting was dim, and after being used to the blinding sun of a few short minutes ago, my eyes took a moment to become accustomed. Slowly I began to see images, rows of books, grandfather clocks, old-looking cabinets, quaint ornaments and ancient oil lamps, some actually burning with a dim, flickering flame.
Feeling a little out of synch in my brightly coloured clothes I moved to browse the stock of books. At that moment an old gentleman appeared, shuffling his way from the rear of the shop in tattered carpet slippers, a frayed shirt and with a cigarette hanging from his lips.
Without removing his smoke, he uttered, “good morning sir.” His voice was hoarse but quiet.
I replied, “hello, just thought I‘d have a little look around until the rain stops.”
“Feel free, “he said, leaning against a table, watching me.
I glanced outside, keen to leave this dark, dank place, but the rain continued unabated. Still he watched me. As I removed a book he moved towards me and placed a withered, liver spotted hand on my wrist.
Breathing stale tobacco breath over me he said, “I have other goods sir might be interested in.”
Still holding the book I had selected, he ushered, almost pushed me, to the back of the shop. His whole manner I found disquieting as I took another desperate glance at the weather outside. He led me to a doorway covered with a curtain, drew it aside and switched on the light. For a moment I was blinded by neon strip lights.
He spoke again in a voice which felt like treacle, “is this what sir wants?”
As my vision cleared I saw racks of magazines; pornographic magazines. On another wall was a vast range of sex toys and bondage equipment. Alongside those items were racks of clothes, leather and lace, not the sort of clothes one would wear to a party; perhaps some kinds of party, I found myself thinking!
There was nothing inherently wrong with what I was seeing, except for the context; the contrast with the front end of the shop, it’s tawdry layout and the range of antique books and relics. And then there was him, this unkempt, dishevelled man. What went on in this town; I wondered.
“You like?” he said, his voice now had an edge of excitement.
I didn’t answer. I hurriedly placed the book I was carrying onto the nearest shelf, pushed past him and made my way to the front door, trying not to run; out into the pouring rain and breathed in the fresh clean smell of the sweet, wet air.