It took me a while to fully explain my predicament to Gary. At first his solution was to stop writing in my blog, or even to delete the whole thing.

“But they know where I live,” I said. “If they can’t communicate easily with me – they might try... alternative means.”

“Well they’re not exactly butch are they? Threatening you over the internet and making deliveries when you’re not home. If they were some sort of he-man they would have come round and told you to back off face to face.”

I nodded. He had a point, but... well I’d had some of my best fights over the internet. His assertion that it wasn’t manly to conduct fights in the virtual realm kind of peeved me. “Well anyway, since you’re the King of Corruption I figured you’d have an underhanded and dirty way of finding out who it is.”

Gary accepted his title with humility. “What if it’s me?”

“It’s not you.”

“How do you know?”

I pulled out his secret book-cooking pad from under the cash register. “Cause you’re almost as technologically inept as Mike.” He wasn’t being the answer to all my problems like I thought he would be. “Maybe I shouldn’t have told you all this.”

“Oh I know how to catch them.”



“Well, you gonna tell me?”

His gaze shifted to something behind me.

“Boys.” It sounded like an accusation and a threat eminating via a smooth female voice that could only belong to one person.

It’d been a while since I’d seen her curves but I swear their potency had risen since the last time they writhed in front of me. She wore one of those tops with no straps – that somehow defied gravity to stay tantalisingly in place.

My mouth dried. “Lisa.”

Gary grinned, looking from Lisa to me and back again like he had front row seats at Wimbledon.
She didn’t reply as such, just kind of smouldered by the counter and widened one mascara reinforced eye.

“I didn’t know if I should call or not... after... well, you know.”

She looked me up and down with her unblinking eyes. “Yeah. I know.”

“Hi Lisa,” said Gary, his teeth dangling out of his mouth.

“Gary. So you’re still a free man?”

“Swinging in the breeze.”

“You wish.” They both laughed.

I forced a complimentary snigger but their familiarity and innuendo hadn’t escaped me – and I wouldn’t put anything past Lisa.

Lisa turned back to me. “You seem to have been keeping Nina busy.”

I nodded. I hadn’t talked to Lisa since that day Mike had busted in on us in her new place. It felt awkward not knowing where any of us stood, and especially uncomfortable discussing Nina. “I guess.”

“I don’t think there’s any doubt about it... boyfriend.”

She and Gary snorted.

Why was I getting the feeling I was on the outside of something?

Fifty Nine

"Now what did you mean about Nina."

Gary unrolled another Britney poster and replaced the sold one on the wall. "Geez Des, relax. I was just spinning you out. I've got my fingers in other pies... so to speak." He winked at me.

"So why does she come in here?"

Gary pulled a pencil from behind his ear and sat on a stool that seemed to have been chewed by a large animal. He pulled out a tattered exercise book from under the cash register and wrote down his five dollar sale.

"The cash register too advanced?" I asked.

"That's only for official sales."

"Of course."

He stashed his record book and put the pencil back behind his ear. "Nina's got a secret and I'm pretty sure you don't know about it."

"What?" I knew there was a reason for the bag dresses. Maybe she was pregnant. Maybe she was a guy...

"You wanna sit down?"

"Just tell me."

Gary crossed his legs like he was contemplating the half life of the nuclear winter his bomb would wreak upon my world. "If you're sure."

"Tell me."

"Ok. There's no easy way to say this. She's, she's into LRB."

"What?" I'm thinking trancs, acid, speed, LSD, I dunno the acronyms for new fangled drugs.

Gary couldn't keep the smirk from his face.

"If you're talking about Little River Band I am gonna feed you those posters."

Gary laughed. "You should've seen your face."

"I thought she was pregnant or something. Maybe that would have been better. LRB? Are you serious."

Gary nodded. "Afraid so."

"Glen or John?"


"Argh, man!"

"I warned you."

"Well now that you've had your fun, I've got a problem for you. A real problem."

Gary leant forward. "Spill."