Sample Chapter for 'Let's Talk Dirty'
On Monday morning, Karen made herself a brandy coffee at eleven on the dot, before settling down to do some research into chat lines. It was nice to have something to focus on for a change, instead of her impending financial meltdown and the nagging pain in her leg. By twelve o’clock she was ready for another brandy coffee because she was deluded enough to believe it could help her focus.
If learning to talk sexy was the order of the day, she decided to have a look at a few of the non-charging porn sites to see if she could pick up a few ideas. As it turned out, they weren’t very helpful at all because they mostly showed short videos where the only audible noise was either grunts or groans while some tattooed super-stud ground away at a woman who was doing her best to simulate the throes of passion.
By twelve thirty she was beginning to feel peckish, so turned off her iPad to charge the battery while she made some toast. It was the first time she’d had any appetite since Saturday night, so enjoyed eating it while she sat in the plant filled conservatory that led off the kitchen. After that, she had another brandy coffee and returned to her IPad to do some more research.
The minute she logged onto the internet, her screen was filled with dozens of images of naked men and women, and when she clicked out of those, they were only replaced by more. Try though she might, there was no way she could get out of the endless porn sites that popped up, one after the other.
‘Frigging thing!’ she wailed after ten frustrated minutes.
She’d tried turning it on and off several times, but the same thing happened every time, so she picked up her mobile to phone Jenny, in the hope she might know what she should do to sort it out.
Jenny couldn’t help laughing when she told her.
'You’ve been hacked, you silly cow! That’s what those dodgy free sites do. They register your ip address and lock you into a loop. I remember reading something about it the other day.’
‘So how do I fix it?’
Having never had the same problem, Jenny didn’t have a clue.
‘What kind of internet security are you using? I’m surprised the sods have managed to get past that.’
Karen groaned when she remembered. She’d meant to update her free version of AVG that morning, but had been side tracked because it tried to sell her a monthly package. She’d intended to ask for Tony’s advice when he got home from work that evening.
‘Eh… I think it’s out of date,’ she admitted.
‘You’re not serious… How could you be so stupid?’
Karen immediately retaliated. ‘Don’t lecture me! How was I to know this might happen? I only went on those bloody sites to do some research for us. How was I to know some gremlin would take over my internet connection?’
Hearing how upset she was, Jenny promised to come right over. She’d hoped to chill out on her last day off until Friday, but she could imagine how stressed out Karen was getting, so didn’t even think about it before grabbing her car keys.
As it happened, the state of Karen’s IPad wasn’t Jenny’s biggest concern after she arrived. Not only did Karen look completely frazzled after her three brandy coffees, but her infected leg had ballooned out so much, the puffy skin was bulging over the edge of her shoe.
I’m taking you to hospital!’ she told Karen, the concern sounding clearly in her voice.
Karen didn’t care about her leg, just about the problem with her IPad.
‘Sod that!’ Jenny told her as she grabbed a jacket from the back of the kitchen door and threw it over Karen’s shoulders. ‘Our research can wait, this can’t.’
With that, she bundled her into the car and set off for the emergency department. All the way there, Karen was still fretting about her IPad. Her entire life revolved around it, and without the internet, she felt as though she’d lost touch with the world. ‘Do you think we’ll be able to sort it out before the kids get back from work?’ she asked Jenny as they drove up to the front entrance of A & E.
‘Hopefully. I should have thought to bring my laptop over to your place so I could log on and find out what to do online. Don’t worry, I’ll pick it up on the way home. But never mind about that now, Karen. Get your arse in there while I park the car.’
The waiting time to see a doctor was at least an hour, and after twenty minutes, Jenny was ready to rip her hair out because Karen was still going on and on about her IPad. She grabbed a hospital wheelchair from the reception area, and ordered Karen to get into it.
‘Let’s go and have a free look at a few magazines in McCall’s while we’re waiting,’ she suggested, before pushing Karen across the concourse towards the shop.
Fortunately, it was fairly empty, and the only assistant was unpacking some stock behind the till, so they were able to browse through several magazine without being overlooked. Karen wanted to look in the section with magazines for PC users. Jenny had other ideas.
‘What are you doing?’ Karen hissed when she saw her pick up a glossy porn magazine from the top shelf.
‘Market research,’ she whispered back. ‘These magazines probably advertise the best sites for chat lines. You didn’t think we were going to try and join up to that grubby little outfit who advertise in the local paper, did you? If we’re going to do this, we’d be better off going with a big company that’s well advertised and gets loads of callers.’
She flicked past images of countless bulging breasts and girls with no, or see-through panties, before reaching the classified section at the back. There were indeed dozens of adverts for chat lines, most of which showed beautiful, naked girls, asterisks strategically covering anything that shouldn’t be seen.
‘Look at this,’ she enthused as she flashed a page in front of Karen with an advert showing four older women in plunging necklines.
‘Super sexy cougars and gorgeous grannies are just waiting for your call…’ she read out. ‘Perfect!’
Karen wasn’t so sure. It was just one advert, and the rest seemed to focus on girls who didn’t look old enough to have left school.
‘Wouldn’t we be limiting ourselves too much if we signed up to a chat line for oldies?’
‘We could try both, and see which ones we get the most calls from. I mean, there’s nothing I’ve found out yet to say we can’t. From what I was able to work out when I went on the internet this morning, you’re given a code to punch in when you log on to take calls, and you can do it at any time of the day or night, so it shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll probably find that the old codgers are more active during the day because they're tucked up in their beds by nine o’clock at night.’
Unfortunately, they were so engrossed while they studied the rest of the adverts, they didn’t notice the male shop assistant coming up behind them.
‘Can I help you, ladies?’ he asked with a polite, albeit amused smile.
Jenny got such a surprise, she dropped the magazine.
'Eh… yes. I’m sure you can…’ she stammered as she reached down to pick it up.
Recovering her composure, she held the magazine up for him to see.
‘Can you recommend this one?’ she asked.
It was the shop assistant's turn to look embarrassed.
‘Ah, I’m not really familiar with it…’ he muttered after he’d considered the question for a couple of seconds.
Having hastily come up with what she thought was a good excuse to be looking at porn magazines in the first place, Jenny continued to quiz him.
‘My husband asked me to get him something to assist him when he goes to the fertility clinic this afternoon. I just wondered if you thought this one was appropriate for the job in hand, so to speak.’
Karen nearly burst out laughing, especially when she saw Jenny’s dead-pan face. The fact that she was probably officially well past child-bearing age, however young she looked, obviously hadn’t occurred to her. To an effort to try and back up her story, Karen looked up from the wheelchair with a serious expression.
‘Yes, they have to do something before it’s too late. They’ve been trying to start a family for so long, they’ve almost given up hope. She’s okay, so it’s time to get the baby gravy checked out. I’ve been telling them to do that for years.’
Jenny could feel the laughter rising from the pit of her stomach, and looked down at the magazine in the hope the shop assistant wouldn’t be able to see her mouth twitching like a brewing volcano. Having opened and closed the magazine several times, she stopped at a double page spread of a topless, stiletto heeled brunette who was lying on her side while she licked her fingers.
‘What I really need to know… Is this likely to help him?’ she asked, as she held it up for him to see.
The poor man looked mortified ‘I’m sure it will… madam.’ He stuttered, before dragging his eyes away from the picture and back to her. ‘Would you like a bag for that?’
‘That would be lovely...'
After he scuttled away towards the counter, Jenny and Karen suppressed the laughter just long enough to follow him and cough up seven pounds fifty-five for the magazine and bag. Once back in the waiting area, they exploded with laughter.
‘Did we actually have to buy it?’ Karen asked when she eventually drew breath. ‘I mean, seven pounds fifty for a sleazy mag is bad enough, but you’d think a five pence bag would at least cover the sodding thing up. This one’s see-through!’
Sure enough, the image of the voluptuous, half-naked blond, holding her ample breasts in her hands like two over-ripe melons, was visible to everyone around them.
Oh, God!’ Jenny moaned before she pulled off her jacket and slid the bag underneath it on the empty seat beside her.
Sadly, most of the people in the waiting area saw it before she did, so the damage was already done. The elderly woman sitting opposite them dug her elbow into her husband’s ribs, before muttering the word ‘disgusting,’ and giving both Karen and Jenny a filthy look.
‘I thought we’d better buy it so we could check out all the sites who advertise in it,’ she told Karen in a lowered voice. ‘When you think about it, a lot of older guys might not be internet savvy, so it’s magazines like this that are going to bring in their business. They all seemed to advertise their web address as well, so I suppose it means the company is getting two bites at the cherry, so to speak. It makes sense to me for us to check them all out.’
The old woman was now staring at them and straining her ears in an effort to hear what they were saying, so Jenny was relieved when she heard Karen’s name being called out to go through to a consultation room. With the carrier bag still concealed under her jacket, Jenny wheeled Karen through the swing doors.
The young Indian doctor examined Karen’s leg and asked her how long she’d had the infection. When she told him it was at least two months, he looked concerned.
‘Which antibiotics has your GP prescribed? I would have expected this to have cleared up by now.’
Karen couldn’t remember.
‘Well, whatever they’re called, they’re obviously not having much effect, so I’ll have to prescribe you something else. Do you have any allergies?’
Karen shook her head.
‘Any history of heart complaints or diabetes?’
Karen’s doctor had already told her that her diabetes could affect the progress of her recovery, which was why she’d used it as an excuse when she’d talked to the kids after she got back from Jenny’s on Sunday. She nodded her head.
The doctor suddenly wrinkled up his nose and looked back at Karen accusingly. ‘I’m sorry to have to ask you, Mrs Walker, but have you been drinking?’
‘Just enough to help out with the pain,’ she told him as though it was the most natural thing in the world to be stinking of brandy mid-afternoon.
‘Has your doctor not given you anything for pain relief?’
Karen decided not to mention the Co-codomol because she’d nearly run out, so could do with some more.
‘Eh, no. I didn’t ask because I thought the brandy would do the job…’
The doctor tut-tutted. ‘Well, I don’t mind prescribing you painkillers, Mrs Walker, but only if you promise not to mix them with alcohol. The same applies with the antibiotics I’m going to prescribe for you. If you mix them with alcohol, they could make you sick or give you diarrhoea.’
That at least explained the last lot. Hopefully these new pills would be more alcohol friendly, because Karen wasn’t thinking of giving up her brandy any time soon.
‘You also need to keep your leg elevated as much as possible to get rid of the swelling. I can’t stress how important that is.’
Karen was past caring. All she wanted to do was get back home and get her IPad sorted out. She thanked him after he’d written out a prescription for the hospital pharmacy, which they collected on their way to the front entrance.