‘Always Look on the Bright Side’, Alison Littlewood

(Winner of the Nudge Nudge Wink Wink writing competition)

Illustration © 2008 Carmen.

 [ More every day—© 2008, Carmen ]

Bugger it. I wonder what Daniel Craig would have done. Probably waggled his little finger and they'd have all been swooning, falling at his feet or something. Wish I could do that. Transform into a sex god. Be every guy's envy. Happiness is not hard to obtain when you're six foot tall and built like the brick proverbial. Wonder if he was ever sick on someone's shoes. Nope: didn't think so.

It was all down to my mate Zach. He gave me this pep talk. "It's not what you say, Kevin, it's how you say it. In life, you have to think big. Being small is a crime, in business as in love. Never agree to be a loser. Think loud, think proud, think the world is your oyster. Imagine you live at the Savoy, drive a Zonda, have Kylie begging for it, like she loves you more each day. You know she would, if she could. Grab life by the balls, Kev."

He calls me Kev, I think he thinks it's jaunty. I call him a tosser, but not to his face. Still, you can't be choosy when you have no money, no woman and no friends. Everyone else I knew had gone to uni. Zach just never seemed to want to leave, and I'd failed to get in.

"Get a life," said Zach, as though they had them on shelves at the supermarket. "Get out there. Get a proper job. Get a girl. Get up and get going. Get something, for God's sake. Get huge, get large, get our pills."

"What?" I said.

"Well, maybe not pills," he said. "I'm not sure you're quite ready for that stage in your development. They're for the bold, you know. For the brave. Although it worked for me." He tapped a finger against his nose, as though he knew something I didn't. "Free starter pack changes my life. That's what they all say. Guaranteed."

"What sort of pills?"

"Oh, you know. Few 'erbs. Spices. Spice up your life." He pulled a little package out of his pocket. They didn't have a label. He put them into my hands and leaned in, confidentially. "Hit your home run today," he said.

I took one just before work. My first day it was, on the shop floor, and a big grin spread across my face soon as I walked in. I whistled this tune under my breath, 'Always look on the bright side of life', and I did. For me, the sun was shining, everything was beautiful, and I could dance like Fred Astaire. So I did, right down the electrical aisle, and into the arms of my new boss. I grabbed her by the waist, spun her round, and told her it was good to be alive.

"Are you quite all right, Kevin?" she asked. "Only you're supposed to be sweeping the floor down in canned goods. There's a baby been sick in aisle three."

"I," I said, quite slowly, "am not a floor sweeper of life. Am not a floor sweeper of anything, in fact. Born to better things. And you, may I say, are too. You're looking quite gorgeous. Sexier than Kylie Minogue's arse." I fell to one knee, grabbed something off the shelf and held it out to her. In my head, it was a red, red rose. In fact, it was the new Nokia 4630i, 30% off.

She stared at it. "You're fired," she said, precisely seven minutes after I'd walked in.

That was when I was sick on her shoes.

"Get a life," Zach had said. "Get a job. Get a girl." Yeah, right. Bollocks. Get fired, get humiliated, get sick. Get gone. Monstrous results today.

Then I looked at my boss' lips, all pursed up like a cat's behind, and the trainees, their mouths hanging open, and wondered.

Free starter pack changes my life? Well, I suppose it did. Can't complain. Never agree to be a loser, that's what he said.

Transform into a sex god. Be every guy's envy. Happiness is not hard to obtain. And I started to whistle...

© 2008 Alison Littlewood

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