Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • A week after that first evening together, Chanson said he would visit me in my hovel above the sleazy gay pub, The George & Dragon, Greenwich. I had, at least, managed to move into a top room - there's something comforting about a garret for a non-practising artist. One problem of being on the top floor was the fat plumber who lived below. One time - OK, a couple - me and this whippety Scottish drag queen got out of our minds on ketamine and kept falling off the bed. There was hell to pay in the morning since, to the plumber, with due respect, this was home, not a youth hostel - he even had a fish tank. Sadly for him he was in a minority. He threatened to beat me up if there was any more noise.
    With Chanson coming over, I was also more nervous than ever about my lacklustre achievements at the grand old age of 27. My temp job in the civil services was ending. I had yet to appreciate the value of stories. There was nothing nice about where I lived. The property's kitchen was threadbare and old lino flapped on the floor. The dribbly shower was of the cheapest build, and also very old and sat isolated in a dark room without plaster.
    Chanson appeared in an Addison Lea car (London's hired towncars) and seemed barely to notice our surroundings. We sat and talked and eventually got in on on my all-box spring bed. I noticed his body was incredibly lean and slim, like the boy from Picasso's first paintings. His feet were big, though, and his toes tended to twitch. And his clothes hung off him like rags and didn't go together. His mother had chosen them for him. He had one pair of jeans, some dark-blue flares. He had a variety of cotton tops - one was light blue, stiffish fabric with a slightly darker trim. The only stylish things he owned were a very old, chocolate brown Vuitton raincoat with lapels that came to his shoulders and a Dolce and Gabanna dinner jacket, also with enormous lapels.
    That night, I noticed he slept with more accomplishment than anyone I had met. His switched off his phone, lay down and sunk into a coma. He made no noise - no breathing or snoring - and barely moved at all. He didn't surface until about two. Not ever.
    As we talked, his story began to emerge. It was impressive. Educated at Rugby, he had gone to Oxford to study English Literature. He hadn't liked it and so he left. He had been in the Royal Ballet until a back injury forced him to leave. His mother was the illegitimate daughter of the King of Greece. His parents were upper-middle class types in Mumbai replete with servants. They paid for everything. He was due to inherit a fortune when he turned 21. Which was to be March.
    As I write all this now, especially all together, it seems less believable than ever. But one has to learn to disbelieve, especially if one feels unlucky. I was, at any rate, desperate for something good to believe in. I needed a ship to come in. Three years earlier I had been summering in the beach resort, Fire Island, Pines. I had eaten at the Four Seasons, Vong and other places I don't recall. My millennial New Year's Eve had been a six course meal followed by a drug-packed $200 a ticket dance-fest. After having left my rich ex shortly after 9/11, I had then left my job, fled from debts of $10,000 from Chase Manhattan bank, worked under the table as a waiter and begun drinking even more heavily, and gradually begun to be subsumed into worse and worse parts of Brooklyn in a summer of 100 degree heat in a sublet with no air con. My 27th birthday present from my parents was a one-way ticket from NYC, a playground that became a hell. Since then I had mouldered on my parents sofa before relaunching myself on the metropolis.
    Now here was this beauty telling me about his high class history and me anyway from a poor background. There was sex. There was nothing else planned. There was simply no way - no reason - for me to resist. Even now, I lack the ability to resist, anyway. And here there was nothing to cling onto in order to make that possible. Anyway, some of the above was true.
    As for Chanson, well you will have to ask him what he was up to. He found me attractive, I suppose, although I often wondered quite what that meant. He had slept, would sleep, with anyone of any age. (I was a slut but I worshipped youth and beauty.) I suspect that, more than me, he lacked any kind of structure and was clinging to something - anything - which had legs of any kind. At any rate, without knowing his feelings, I had begun to pursue this child - two years on and still on the rebound from my marriage in New York. was running and, for all my insecurities, I get my way if I possibly can.
    The next morning, the plumber threatened to hit us with his spanner due to the high-octane bel canto singing. That sealed it. We began searching for somewhere to live. In the name of God, Chanson and I were to move in together.

    continued ...
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.