a short story by    BARRY O’FARRELL

“That’s what this house has been missing, a naked woman wandering from room to room,” says Brian teasingly, playfully. Paige smiles half embarrassed and half flattered.

Paige is the perfect woman, Brian thinks to himself as he runs the shower and having watched his beautiful blonde lady undress. She is everything I look for in a woman; ideal height, weight, proportions and temperament. It is like she was made for me.

Brian holds the door open for her, inviting Paige to join him under the refreshing cascade. As she walks to the shower, he takes the opportunity to both eye her glorious nakedness and to admire her again; her posture, grace, flawless complexion.

When I first saw her I couldn’t believe she wouldn’t have a man in her life. Now I can’t believe how lucky I am to have her in my life.

They flirt and splash under the shower the way young lovers do. Paige giggles. He loves her laugh. He loves to make her laugh.

For a while Brian thought her sense of humour flat and unsophisticated, even odd. Eventually he came to realise Paige favours the basic, or slapstick style of comedy. Yes, pie in the face makes her laugh. Brian prefers dry and witty humour. Unfortunately subtleties and nuances are lost on her.

Her hi-tech skills and knowledge are particularly good. It is said hi-tech people can be sometimes lacking in the area of sense of humour. Perhaps that’s right.

• • •

None of this was on his mind the day they met at an IT industry trade fair. It was all computer languages, Apps, Cloud and Meta stuff mostly trending or predicted for the future.

Of course the ever present, necessary twin evils of the finance sharks trying to find who might invest in what and the boogie men of cybersecurity proclaiming cyber threats to come, real and imagined; both matters very different and both frightening in their own way.

From this turgid hi-tech background of fluoro lighting and white sound, the glowing vision which was Paige emerged. As she began her spiel for the products on the stand, everything else pixelated, blurred and merged into the background.

Brian only had eyes for Paige. He heard everything she said but absorbed not a word, focussing solely on her smooth, melodious voice. He couldn’t remember how he had worked up the courage to ask her out but somehow he did. And now she was in his life, in his world, in his house. He still couldn’t believe his luck.

• • •

Brian picks up a wash cloth and lathers it. He reaches around her and begins to wash her back working down slowly from the nape of her neck.

He feels a small lump in the middle of her spine and gently squeezes it. “Don’t,” she cries too late. Their eyes lock in mutual surprise.

The pause is broken by Paige. “Don’t let water get in. Keep me dry.”

“Your back… a door… it opened in your back,” stammers Brian incredulously.

“It’s my maintenance and diagnostic compartment. Don’t let it get wet. I’ve got a software upgrade scheduled for Monday.”


© Barry O’Farrell, 2018

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