Sandra followed him on Instagram. Her profile picture was stunning – beautiful, symmetrical face with long raven hair and a smile to melt the rivets on a thousand ships, fit and just a hint of a pout, after a workout. He followed her back, out of politeness, but with a tinge of curiosity. His policy was always to be truthful and not to do or say anything daft or compromising, although, at that distance, he wasn’t sure why he had to be so careful. He messaged her to say something nice about a picture she had posted, but he found she had written first.
‘Hey,’ she said, which was the usual bimbo introduction.
‘How are you today?’ appeared on the second line.
He was quick to move off the dumb stuff. If she wanted to tap him for money, she was out of luck, but her first real piece of information made him feel guilty, then angry.
‘I live with my grandmother in California, since my parents were both killed in an accident.’
After the initial shock, he decided it was the beginning of a sob story that would lead to a plea for money. Yep. There it was.
‘I’m 29 and just finishing my master’s in business studies.’
He waited for the for the second part which would tell him how she had no money for the exam fees. But it didn’t come. No request for money! She went straight to discussing names. He tried a quip to point out her shallowness, but forgot that Californians don’t do irony, or any humour, for that matter.
He could give her something but would risk becoming a scam target.
He sent her an Amazon voucher for $30. The next day brought a polite and seemingly sincere thank-you message from her – and 32 requests from Bimbos Worldwide, for multiples of 30.
After a long time at home, one’s mind wanders to happier moments. He thought of Zoë, the wonder woman with charisma and an Essex accent. She ran a betting shop in town. They sacked her during reorganisation. She isn’t worried. She can dominate a room with her voice, shattering all opposition, while her observant eyes use her spectacles to hide what she is thinking. This makes her perfect to become an MP.
Then he considered the problems, such as her predilection for jumper suits with bunnies on. She must change her Facebook page or the tabloids will have her political career on toast. She carries the bunnies off with confidence and style, and is almost her brand, but a new Facebook profile, he thinks, will advance her cause. In this room, she dwells among the empathetic, but that will change once in Parliament.
Her symmetrical face beams intelligent observation, and her stunning figure must make her a target for pathetic old socialists who still think any woman is a pushover. Perhaps she can charm them into behaving themselves. If that doesn’t work, her bookie’s voice she used for calling the odds, will impale them with common sense.
He caught himself sighing while watching her prepare for the meeting.
He hears her call the meeting to order and she glances around the room. She knows her power, but is too clever to flirt. Her look says, ‘It’s OK to be in love with me. It won’t go to my head,’ but also told him, ‘Everyone is safe in here.’
‘I’m going to be the parliamentary candidate at the election,’ she announces in a matter of fact way. He felt the relief of the meeting. Thank goodness someone wanted it, was the sentiment. No one cared that there hadn’t been a vote.
‘You’ll have to get a new Facebook profile,’ the secretary joked. ‘The tabloids will have a field day with that picture of you in a jumper suit covered in bunnies.’
‘No I won’t,’ she replied firmly. ‘The picture stays.’
A pregnant silence was broken by a nervous cough from the treasurer. The old man sitting next to him whispered, with glee in his voice, ‘You don’t mess with our Zoë’.
‘She must be a target for daft old men at party conference,’ he suggested.
‘Her withering look, when she uses it, will cool their ardour,’ the party stalwart grinned between sips of beer.
She glanced around the room and her eyes rested on their table for just a moment. He lost all sense of reason and mouthed, ‘I love you.’
Not a flicker of emotion could he see!
‘Any more contributions?’ she asked.
No one dared, yet everyone was glad she was in charge. He was relieved to have finally come out to her, but wondered what he would do if she ignored his declaration – which he was sure she would.
Or scarier – what if she responded?
A virus locked her answer, down.