The Disguise

April 3, 2010
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Alan Shortt awoke to the acrimonious wail of his mobile phone. The ominous sounding 'Mexican Dance' ringtone sent a shiver down his spine. Weeks of trial and failure and a whirlwind of emotions finally culminated in this moment; a phone call which could secure or destroy his future. Gripping the phone in his clammy fingers, he held the receiver to his ear.
"Hello?", he mumbled in a drowsy slur. A young woman replied. "Hello? This is Sharon Davies. I'm calling to offer you a job." Alan suddenly sat up poker straight in the bed. He frantically racked his brains. He had hired so much advert space in his local newspaper it was surprising that he disdn't run the Classifieds. "And what job would that be?", he asked, comfortably slipping back into his suave businessman mode. "This IS the childrens' entertainer, right? Adam Shortt?" "It's Alan actually. Yes, I'm Alan Shortt, at your service", he answered, his heart sinking like a stone in quicksand. Of all of the jobs that he could have been offered, this was the one that had to pop up. Alan had really added the job to the list as a joke; he had never even considered the possibility of a response. All of his hopes were shattered, yet he reasoned that a foolished job was better than no job. He let out a weighted sigh. "When do you need me?", he asked. "Well, today, if that's possible. The party starts at three o'clock." Alan gasped as he glanced at his alarm clock; it was already 1:30! He sprang out of bed, hastily swapping addresses and phone numbers. "Fine, I'll see you then!". The phone droned lazily as the call ended.

Alan's mind wondered to the ever-present problem of life as he stepped into his hot shower. Here he was, about to scrape away the last layer of dignity he possessed, all in an effort to continue living the lifestyle he enjoyed. Ever since the divorce he had been a free man; free to secretly frequent gambling bars and poker clubs whenever he wished, all while maintaning the pretence of 'the perfect single man'. Of course, this 'hobby' of his proved rather expensive, costing him his friends, his job, and ultimately his dignity. This job was the latest in a long line of temporary fixes which transported him from A to B. He could not deny the fact that behind a smokescreen of designer labels and eloquient mannerisms stood a lost soul; a blithering, balding bachelor who had nothing to live for but his precious poker tournaments. Fresh tears stung his clean shaven face and merged with the droplets which spilled from the faucet.

Quickly skimming through his time-tested clothing collection, Alan searched desperately for a suitable outfit. The best he could manage was a cowboy suit he had purchased years ago for his brother's stag party, complete with bandit eye mask. It was shrouded in dust from a lifetime spent in the back of Alan's wardrobe. The cheesecloth shirt and stained, suade waiscoat stretched unpleasently across his somewhat concave chest, and the beige breeches barely reached his ankles; nonetheless, it sufficed. Rooting through his airing cupboard for suitable headgear, he came across an aincient Stetson hat, which drooped comically over his masked eyes. He checked himself out in the hallway mirror, tittering at the hilarity of his situation.

As he strolled along the tree-lined pavement to the address given to him, Alan gazed at the mansions which surrounded him on both sides; a sorrowful reminder of the first-class life he once led. He inhaled deeply as he paced up the gravel driveway to the mahogony front door of the house, nobly named 'Oak Manor'. As he glided up the polished marble steps, he was stopped dead in his tracks as the door suddenly burst open. A petite woman ran down the front hallway and, in her haste, tripped over the threshold, sending a tray of party snacks soaring through the air. Alan reached out to grab her, then nearly choked as he glimpsed her flustered expression. He was face to face with his none other than his ex-wife...

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charlienicole said...
Apr. 14, 2010 at 11:19 pm
You did a brilliant job. Keep writing.
S-Chique00 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 15, 2010 at 1:27 pm
thanks very much for your support! :)
CharlotteC said...
Apr. 13, 2010 at 8:34 pm
wow great story I really enjoyed it. The word choice is great I especially love "Alan suddenly sat up poker straight in the bed." I would love to read more if you continued the story because the suspense is great!!!!
S-Chique00 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 14, 2010 at 1:40 pm
thank you, much appreciated! there's actually a little more of the story on my computer, but i just posted this to see what response i would get. i might post the rest sometime!
Lexi-pex said...
Apr. 12, 2010 at 11:17 am
great story! enjoyed it!
S-Chique00 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 13, 2010 at 12:59 pm
thank you!
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