You may not have heard of it yet, but you surely will do. The new craze sweeping through the internet. ‘Candid Corner’ is a platform where, by using anonymous names, you can be as honest or ‘candid’ as you like about the object of your venom. Some entries spring to mind. On the less interesting end of the scale ‘ Boadicea’ writes of ‘Mud Pie’, ” I hate him. HATE HIM. He is fat and smelly. Urg eewww”, about her loyal though hygienically challenged husband. Further up the food chain of entries sits “I made his sandwich at lunchtime and put mashed up earthworms in it, with ketchup, he he he. Hope it chokes him” about a boss with overbearing self-importance. You get the idea.
So now, sitting in front of her computer screen while her husband was out at his weekly Fortune Telling gig, and writing under the name ‘Priscilla’ she wrote of ‘Stale Toast’, “He’s dull, dull dull, hopeless and can’t sing to save his life”. She stared at the screen for a while and then added a new comment. “He sucks the joy out of all who know him”. At last she smiled and felt a little better for venting. That was one of the secrets of the site’s success.
She was born Jemima Simmonds. A perfectly decent name, which allied to her attractive eyes, adequate figure and a reputation for tolerance always gained her enough friends and male attention to get her through the senior years of school and college, until she stumbled on Nigel Pratt. The secret should have been in the name but she was too young to realise it. Now, as well as being saddled with a serial incompetent, she was also known as Mrs Pratt, or ‘Pratty’ which did not nothing to help her acquire ‘gravitas’ at the school where she worked.
Her whole being was filled with foreboding. Tomorrow morning, both she and Nigel were off to a weekend’s ‘Life-Coaching’ event which he had won in a raffle at work. He was filled with excitement at the prospect of this adventure to the extent that he failed to notice his wife’s growing sense of being trapped.
To be fair, which I always hate, the coach did not come with a glowing career pedigree. His latest masterpiece “The Wellspring of Hope” had just been rejected by the fifth publisher. A secret he was keeping from his wife. Still, it was not all bad. He had got this gig this weekend and a couple of new clients had replaced some of those who left him on a regular basis, normally disoriented by his non specific optimism.
The next morning the car started at the first turn of the key, sending a fresh wave of dread through her veins. She had prayed for some mechanical breakdown to rescue her, but no. “But No” seemed to sum up her life. “I might have been promoted “But No”. Stevie Collins might have asked me out “But No”. Her gaze was now fixed on some indeterminate point ahead. Her blissful husband meanwhile, was warbling a series of tunes which forensic musicologists might have identified as Abba’s greatest hits. He was more than happy. His ‘beautiful’ wife in the seat beside him. His car, lightly dusted with rust, moving steadily towards the weekend treat. A new beginning. A new chapter. What could be better. ‘Jems’; had been a bit quiet recently, and he was relying on this event to give her a bit of a pick me up. He raised the volume of his serenading to help improve the atmosphere in the car.
That evening, in the hotel, they all gathered in a circle at the bar while the coach gave them a brief, incomprehensible introduction to his approach. Finally he said. “Right , I’m going to go round the group and ask you, each in turn, what your ‘Wellspring of Hope” is ( he had bought some ‘cut-price’ self-printed copies of his book with him). What renews and refreshes your life?”. Lets start with you Nigel. regrettably, Nigel’s wellspring was already refreshed by a couple of vodkas making him a little more candid than normal. “What is your ‘Wellspring of Hope’?” said the cheery lecturer. “Cuddling with my darling” said Nigel, grinning in a conspiratorial manner at his wife. Her face was impassive. “The wellspring of hope has run dry” she replied, ” at least as far as your concerned.” The group tittered nervously. It was going to be a grand weekend.