Hello lovely readers, I am sorry if I have got your hopes up but this post is not food related. It is me related though, which I am sure is the reason you are all so dedicated to reading this blog. Earlier in the year I had a dream that I had written a book called I want to find Roger. Even through my morning disarray, I realized what a jaunty title for a book this would make and managed to secure it into my mind. A few weeks later I got fired from my job and decided to be very constructive with my final days at work and bashed out this very long short story.
Despite my usual lack of seeing things through, I manage to finish it, get it edited and get a cover made by my very talented boyfriend. I have now had it published on Kindle. It costs 77p, as I was not allowed to publish it for free. However from 4pm today and until 4pm Sunday it is 100% free. So I am asking you to please please download it. Here is the link (UK) or link (for US) Even if you have no intention of reading it, please download it for me. If you do not own a kindle you can still download the kindle app on to your smartphone, iPad or computer and read it that way. Below is a short excerpt to wet your whistle.
By Gemma Jane
“You’re fired!” screamed my boss. A little piece of spittle flew out of his mouth
and landed on my cheek. He was such a vile and loathsome man. Short and fat, he
looked as though he had been squashed. He had the face of a frog; small squinty
eyes encased in thick black glasses which just made him look even more foolish.
I noticed he had a stain on his tie from his greasy breakfast. The longer I stood
there the more contempt I had for him. The fact that his spit was now on my face
made my skin crawl, I would never be clean again. I wiped the spit from my cheek
and walked out the door of his office, slamming it behind me for good measure.
Everyone looked up from their desks when they heard the noise. I stalked over to
my desk, picked up my bag and walked out the door, the whispers and murmurs
growing louder as I left.
As I walked outside into the fresh cool air I felt disorientated. I looked at my watch,
it was only 10:55. I didn’t know what the hell I was supposed to do now. I knew
going back home to watch This Morning wasn’t the answer. Nor was a coffee. I
needed something to dull the growing ball of anxiety in my stomach. I walked past
our local, still closed. Probably not a good idea to go there anyway. I kept walking
through the quiet, dirty streets of Soho. I walked aimlessly, not my usual route to
the bus stop. I clearly had some time to kill. What time do pubs even open these
days? I have never really had the penchant for an early morning drink. The times
when my hangover had been in need of a hair of the dog remedy, I had never
surfaced before lunch time.
I was on a street I had never been down before. There was a pub up ahead; The
Black Fox. Just as I approached the doors flew open.
“You’re a bit keen aren’t you?” a gruff voice asked me. I didn’t know what to say.
I just followed him into the dank dark pub, a stale smell filling my nostrils. It was
here that I first met Roger.
That day sticks in my mind. It was a hard day to forget for so many reasons. Maybe
just because it was so unusual – it’s not every day that you get fired is it? It’s also
not every day that you meet someone like Roger. Things changed for me that day,
for better and for worse. I need to retrace my steps a bit. You need to know how I
first met Roger to understand why I need to find him again.
I sat down at the bar. I had never sat at the bar in my life, but it seemed pointless to
sit at a table in an empty pub.
“What’ll you have?” the bar man asked.
“A double brandy,” came my reply. I don’t know where that came from. It wasn’t
my usual vodka tonic. I hadn’t drunk brandy since I was 14 when my best friend
and I had stolen a bottle from my parents’ liquor cabinet. Why was I ordering it
“Medicinal?” the barman asked, interrupting my thoughts.
“What?’ I replied.
“Brandy, its medicinal.” he replied. “You’re as white a sheet, get some bad news did
“I just got fired.” I stated. I sipped the brandy. It spread warmth throughout my
body. I sipped some more. I felt the gnawing pain in my stomach subside a little.
“Why the hell would you say that, look like the kind of person who gets fired, do I?”
I asked defensively. I don’t know what had gotten into me today.
“Why else would you be here, all done up for work? If someone had died you
wouldn’t be here would you? You would have somewhere to go.” He said matterof-factly. He was right I didn’t have anywhere to go. The thought sobered me a
little, not what I wanted. I took another gulp of the brandy.
“Same again,” I said.
“Steady on there love, it’s not even 11:30 yet.”
“I’m unemployed!” I retaliated. “I’ll drink as much as I damn well want.” It was
what the jobless did wasn’t it. I could spend my days wandering the streets with a
can of Special Brew in hand, watching Jeremy Kyle and lining up at the dole queue.
You were expected to be drunk weren’t you?
“Anyway this could actually be your lucky day, I might know of a job
going.” “Working here for you?” I asked pensively. No way in hell I was working in
a dump like this.
“God no” he chuckled. “I’m not the boss, I’m just a barman.” Made sense, he didn’t
look like the kind of man that owned a pub in central London. Although he did fit
the bar; looked like he belonged; a kind of run down aura about him. His craggy
face was ageless, he could have been anywhere between late 20’s and 40’s.
“My mate Roger’s looking for an assistant; got an office round the corner. He’ll be
in at lunchtime, you can see him then. And you don’t want to be three sheets to the
wind now do ya? That would be going too far, even for Roger.”
I didn’t even ask what kind of work it was, I had enough on my mind as it was. My
phone bleeped, Suzie’s name came on the screen. I threw the phone back into my
bag. God knows how she was going to react when she heard I had lost my job. I
would worry about that later. Maybe I could get a job with the mysterious Roger.
I drank more steadily after that; switching to my more familiar vodka tonic. My
senses dulled and my problems were forgotten. I just drank. I felt a pang in my
stomach some time later. Not anxiety, something different. Hunger. I looked at the
“I thought you said he was coming in at lunchtime?” I asked Tim the bartender. We
were on a first name basis by now.
“He’ll be here, don’t worry.” He might be, but I won’t be I thought. What the hell
was I doing in a place like this anyway? I needed to go home and get something
to eat, I shouldn’t be here. I gulped down the last of my vodka, picked up my bag
and went to the ladies. As I washed my hands I looked in the mirror. I looked like
shit. My long brown hair was limp and greasy. It was due a wash but I had run out
of shampoo a few days ago and had forgotten to get more. I made a mental note
to stop into Boots on the way home. My face had seen better days too. My already
pale skin looked dull and washed out. The drinks had done me no favours. My red
tinged eyes had large black bags underneath them. The concealer I had put on
this morning had failed to stay put. I fished around in my bag for some makeup.
I never brought it to work on week days though. I found a lipstick missing its lid,
the dirt and dust from my bag stuck to the stick. I rubbed as much off as I could
with my finger and put some on. A bit of colour, there, I looked minutely better. No
one looked good under these florescent lights anyway. I’d get a bit of shopping, get
home and have a nice long bath. Maybe everything would be okay after all.
“Here she is,” Tim exclaimed. I stood in shock as the ladies door closed behind me. I
was in awe. There before me was tallest, most handsome man I had ever seen. Not
handsome in the conventional sense you understand. I didn’t go for that pretty boy
look. He was tall, stocky, and manly. He had a shock of black hair, a stubble ridden
chin, and a slightly crooked nose with piecing green eyes. He was rugged, the kind
of man that only need to look at you to make your knickers drop. This was Roger!