A Flash Fiction Collaboration With Marni Mann

Fans, followers, and Twitter link clickers, I’ve collaborated with another writer, the beautiful Marni Mann, creating a flash fiction piece that we hope you will enjoy. Our writing is separated by style: my written part is in bold and Marni’s is italicized.

Now, please, enjoy our tale of when worlds collide… these worlds being the UK and the USA. [nb – if an Anglo-American War comes of this then it was all HER idea]


Now, usually I don’t need to go on a blind date as… well… y’know… but I gotta admit to running a slightly ‘dry’ spell of late, so when Sandra in I.T. said she had a girlfriend who was desperate and good to go I figured ‘why not’? I mean, a guy has needs, right? Plus these American chicks are a sucker for us English guys. Especially one who is a Communications and Policy Manager. They get hot for it. They dig it.

Sandra was my neighbor, the type who knocked at all hours of the night and asked to borrow tea or eggs. Americans didn’t drink tea, and real women didn’t cook, they ordered out. But I didn’t expect her to know that—not with how she turned out. I mean, she worked in IT.

During her last random drop in, requesting Bacofoil—which after a lengthy game of charades I learned was tinfoil, but didn’t have any of that either—she told me she’d found my future to be. Didn’t she see the parade of men, prancing into our building every night who wanted me as their wife?

So, Sandra arranged for us to hook up at that new piano bar down 2nd and 4th Ave. You know the place? Yeah, all black pillars and hanging baskets, and the clientele smoke outside under patio heaters – pretty flash, huh?

I knew I’d have to make an effort so I went all out, baby. I’m talking tux, slicked hair and a rose in my buttonhole. I even shaved. No, not my face.

I looked like Bond, mate. James frickin’ Bond.

If this so called future husband was anything like the last dog Sandra had brought home, who by the way had gone running out of her apartment on all fours with nothing but a towel and a back full of hair, I wasn’t getting out of the cab.

But Sandra said he had a big title at the fancy firm they worked at, and the piano bar was supposed to have an incredible wine selection. So I thought, why not?

I slipped on a silk and lace number, perked up everything I had a plumping agent for, and jumped in a taxi.

And in I walked, all swagger, sophistication, and sex appeal.

She didn’t stand a chance.

As I scanned the bar, most of the men were of my taste. That was until a man, with a rose sticking out of his buttonhole, turned around and said, “Area?” He looked like Tom Hanks in the movie, Cast Away, when he speared that fish with such attitude.

I glanced back over my shoulder, but the taxi had already left.

It was a good thing I’d brought a cardigan. He was already foaming at the mouth and the air conditioning was just turning on, which meant my ‘friends’ hadn’t even come out to play. Yet.

I’m telling you, one look at me and this girl was dripping like a tap. I slicked back my flowing locks, and as soon as I bust out with my Sean Connery impression she was putty in my hands! And to think I’d almost overcooked it by spraying my s’ a little more than usual!

But, hey, Connery always got the girl, right?

Sandra owed me $25 for the cab fare. And I was going to invoice this guy for my dry cleaning, as the schmuck was also a spitter.

Her name? Oh… er… Area! That was it. I cracked a joke about Area 51 and she said she was 21! These Yank girls are hot, but they sure are dumb. She didn’t even get my American joke and she frickin’ lives there, mate!

He called me, Area, when I clearly said my name was Aria. The bastard couldn’t get anything right—not his tux that had moth holes in the pits, or the ant hills that lived under his nails, or the jacked-up smile that needed to be replaced with dentures. I wasn’t surprised, though, the amount of black fuzz that stuck out of his ears would make even a canine deaf.

He then turned all Kevin James on me, and told a joke about Area 51. I told him I was 21. Now, the joke was on him.

And his name? Hugh, like the end of a sneeze.

I asked what she wanted to drink but she wanted something I’d never heard the name of so I just got her a cider, but even that took convincing the barman some. He kept saying something about the wine list but as soon as he said something-something-apple-wine I knew it had to be cider, right?

Hugh handed me a tall glass with two straws and one of those mini umbrellas that floated on top of scorpion bowls. You know, the ones you got at a Chinese restaurant? He said it was cider. Yep, apple cider it was, and the sliced McIntosh garnishes confirmed it. I said I was 21 not 12. He obviously didn’t get the joke.

Was Ashton Kutcher here, because I was definitely getting punked.

Still, that stuff was kinda expensive. Luckily I’d been to my brothers on the way to the bar and tapped him up for a few bucks! I made sure Area got a good look at my wedge when I pulled it out… you get me? Ha!

He pulled out a wad of bills to pay for his beer and my juice. Underneath the c-note were a bundle of ones. We were on a blind date, but only one of us was actually blind. Deaf, Dyslexic, and a hella depressed demeanor, too.

I started regaling her with tales of all the fights I’d been in, y’know, and all the trouble and stuff I’d seen on the mean streets of Kent. She was lapping it up, and I knew she’d be lapping something else up by the end of the night! But the bar started filling up with all these upper class geeks, and would you believe one of these tits actually elbowed into me, knocking my lager over? Right big ol’ beast he was – but nothing I couldn’t handle.

From the corner of my eye, I saw James, my personal trainer. Two-hundred and fifty pounds of pure, delicious steel, but James batted for the opposing team. Even I couldn’t turn him straight. I nodded at the hunk, and over he came, my knight in shining armor. James stuck an elbow in Hugh’s ribs and knocked the mug out of his hands. The beer spilled down the front of him and the rose, drenched and withered, fell from its buttonhole.

I winked in appreciation.

And then my eyes went wide. My mouth opened.

Hugh had puffed out his chest and balled his fists. Did he really think he could take my knight? Even on his tiptoes, he barely reached James’ neck.

My evening suddenly turned around. The bartender had handed me a ’98 pinot, and I had front row seats for the match.

Area started to get all scared, but luckily yours truly rode in like a knight in shining armour and… mate… I put this guy straight.

Just as I took my first sip, the bartender jumped over the bar and broke up the brawl. It wasn’t much of a match, really, James won by KO.

Like a hamster scurrying around its wheel, Hugh got to his feet. Blood dripped from his nose and the lids of his eye began to swell.

He asked if I fancied a meal. I didn’t know whether to laugh or hand him my cardigan, so he could wrap his face burqa-like.

That geezer was lucky. I didn’t want to flatten the big lump in front of everyone as he was clearly a local, so I kind of… what do you Yanks say… “Took one for the gang?” No, not ‘team’. That doesn’t make sense.

Anyway, that’s what I did.

Hugh’s lips inflated into breakfast sausages, and his eye sealed shut with a bruise above his brow in the shape of James’ knuckles. The bartender gave him an ice pack, but he needed at least two to cover all the damage.

I asked him how he was going to eat and hold the ice at the same time.

His response? A raspberry!

He tried to clarify, but the sausages couldn’t do anything more than pucker and peck the air.

Tell you something, he’s lucky he didn’t break his hand. Y’see this old head of mine? Got a steel plate in it. Go on, feel it. Right there. Got it in a car accident years ago.

Well, a go-kart accident.

…Ok, I slipped over getting on my push bike.

But that guys’ fists must be pretty broke up, right? I swear I saw tears in his eyes. And Area was worried how much I’d hurt him because she went rushing over to him to make sure he was all right!

He wanted me to feed him? In bed?

My spew of hell no’s didn’t stop his pouting and he asked again. But this time, his hand reached out and landed on one of my friends.

A swift kick, with the tip of my stiletto to his jewels, folded him like an accordion. His ice pack hit the floor and his face soon followed.

Yeah, I got a small cut on my lip. I kinda hope it scars, ‘cos the women love that kind of thing. Once she caught sight of it she was all over me like a rash! I had to fight her off some.

I mean, she obviously knew I was ok… a guy like me is rock hard. I was in the army once! I started out as a chef… actually, I finished as one as well.

Anyway, I stuck around for a while but the guy must have been in a state ‘cos she didn’t leave his side. He must have been proper messed up.

James had brought one of his clients to the bar, a plastic surgeon who had just done lipo on Kate Moss. I couldn’t resist a man who worked with his hands and really knew how to use them. Plus, I wanted to replace my silicon bags with saline.

Darren, the surgeon, said my accent and ball-busting had just scored me a date on his yacht. Oh, I was done for.

Check, please!

In the end, I figured I’d better leave, before the old bill turned up.

I didn’t want to get arrested for assault did I? And the way everyone was fussing around him and laughing really loudly, I figured that they were trying to ease his pain.

The three of us laughed when we noticed a piece of Hugh’s pants were stuck to the end of my heel.

Anyway, that was last Thursday and I’m playing hard to get. I know she’s desperate to call but I’m not giving in.

I do call her phone every now and then, though, just to make sure she hadn’t been disconnected.

We didn’t swap digits at the bar, so how did Hugh get my number? That damn, Sandra. She had just earned herself a bottle of bleach in her color load and a virus that would toast her hard drive.

What time is it? Oh, in that case it’s been about half an hour since I last checked.

I’ll be right back…

After the sixty-fourth call from Hugh, I threw my cell overboard.

But Hugh was a persistent ass. He placed bottles of ’98 pinot and bouquets of roses outside my door. One night, I found a pair of whitey tighties with fresh skid marks on the inside. Attached to the drawers was a card, asking when I was available for a second date.

I gave him a date, alright. A time and date to appear at the police station, so he could autograph the restraining order.

I can’t wait for our next date.

I mean, I’ll give her one more chance, like.


Here’s our bios, that we wrote (lovingly) for one another.

Jody Ruth: Don’t let the name fool you, Jody is very much a man. To prove this, he has a love for bunnies, Playboy, that is, and named his youngest son, Bam, after a member of Jackass. He collects fine art, in the form of ink, and has tattooed much of his body. Inked on his thigh is the shark from Jaws. An enthusiast of American classics or an excuse to pull down his pants to show you his… Shark? My guess is both. Did I mention he has a movie role to add to his credits? He plays a zombie in the upcoming flick, The Zombie Diaries 2: World of the Dead. His debut novel, also about zombies, is set deep within the Lone Star State where his characters speak in a southern drawl, rock the Stetson, and ride F-150’s. He hails from the Isle of Wight, England’s largest island, located in the English Channel. Ladies, listen up, if his accent doesn’t make you weak, his writing will. I assure you, the latter is stellar. This blog post won’t be the last you’ve seen of Jody Ruth in print. With his novel soon to be published, and the tickets he’s going to collect like tats for his acts of indecent exposure, Jody’s going to be quite the international star. For more of Jody’s writing, check out his blog HERE, his Facebook page HERE, or follow him on Twitter @JodyRuthIOW.

Marni Mann: Don’t let the name fool you, Marni is very much a woMann. She hails from Maine, where she used to hang around with a guy called Stephen King, but once he went all mainstream and uncool Marni ditched him in the aim of becoming a writer herself. The Fox From Florida is currently in the process of awaiting publication for her first novel – Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales – a book about addiction, and if you know what’s good for you you’ll buy it. Marni now resides in Sarasota, Florida, which is 4014 miles away from the Isle of Wight. I know. I counted. If you wish to know more about Marni you can find her fan page on facebook (why don’t I have one of those, Marni?) and she is also reachable on Twitter… which is how I found her! Until she becomes a fulltime, rich and successful author she is working as a property manager and technical writer, which primarily involves sitting at her desk and laughing at my witty emails and writing. You can also read her blogs on the wordpress.com site. Which is what you’re doing now. Genius.

Oh, and Marni Mann is also a lot hotter than me.

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