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Sample readings of the book THE LIFE AND LOVES OF BILLY GALORE by Marcus Wang


Before I embark on a consecutive account of the different episodes that make up my search for ‘true love’, I want first to recount a brief interlude which, though taken out of context, reflects the tenor of modern-day folklore.
I give you my word that in the whole book there will be nothing worse to catch the reader off-guard.
My father once told me about the four categories into which we divide women. And I believed him. But I now know that he was being a bit coy when he left one group out.
When I was thirty-five and desperate to find true love, I placed an advert saying that I was looking for a nice hot chick to help fill my leisure hours. For now, at least, I wasn’t looking for any long-term commitment. Also no chubby last-chancers. A reply came in from a beautiful girl, who included a photo – slim, long brown hair, huge eyes and three-quarter-inch eyelashes. A hint of fluff above her upper lip, as a mark of passion, was her only blemish. An economics student in need of financial support. Great, why not, any new experience is worth its weight in gold.
Without delay, we met up early one morning in an out-of-the-way shopping-centre coffee shop. She was pleasant and intelligent, with a more than healthy self-regard.
“I’m nineteen. I’ve been living with my boyfriend in Italy for three years, but it didn’t work out.” She opened with this brief, but informative CV, then went single-mindedly straight into the sequel. “I’m not looking for a relationship, I need a break and to focus on my studies. But we needn’t go into them now.”
Suits me, I acquiesced mentally, and weighed the situation up. At least I don’t have to bother with topics she isn’t keen on; that isn’t why we’ve met up. She’s pretty promising, but I don’t want to get stuck for ever with a nineteen-year-old either. She’s not fully mature yet; just suppose I fell for her and then she sent me packing – I might as well go and hang myself... Not likely! I like the look of her, she’s sexy and seems classy enough. She certainly doesn’t strike me as some dumb bimbo.
Smugly, I watched the blokes at the next table eyeing her up and my ego rejoiced. The hour flew past like ten minutes and I had to leave for work. By way of a good-bye she opened her eyes wide, gave me a lovely kiss and tenderly stroked my hand. Oh, yes... our arrangement was off to a fine start.
Our next date came two days later, in the evening. I borrowed my father’s upmarket car and picked her up outside her house. She failed my expectations by turning up in baggy jeans. I hate that; women should be obliged to arrive on a date in a skirt. Not to be able to see a girl’s legs is depressing, and getting inside trousers is too much like hard work. Just try – whether in some dark recess or the back of a car – getting a girl’s tight-fitting leg-wear over her backside and hips. A bundle of fabric round a guy’s legs is more or less manageable, but how’s the poor woman going to spread her legs? Before she struggles out of all her clobber and kicks her shoes off, her lover-boy might nearly have come, and an older paramour might have to wank the time away in case his dick goes floppy on him. And it’s scarcely worth pointing out that a female foot without a shoe immediately loses the grace that stirs, and a shapeless calf can easily put you in mind of a skivvy from some Victorian novel.
She got in, leaned across to kiss me on the lips and offered her expert appraisal of the car’s interior: “Nice wheels.”
This time, instead of stroking me she caressed the gleaming woodwork of the dashboard. Ouch, I hope she keeps those crimson epoxy-coated claws off it – God help me if she scratches the japlac. Hands off, I pray. I started on about coffee and wine, but she quickly snubbed the whole idea:
“Look here, hotshot, if you’ve got a flat somewhere, like you said last time, we could go straight there, couldn’t we?”
I was, I thought, well prepared for any inside action, but her approach caught me on the back foot. Getting the girl into bed, that’s the guy’s business. She had me for just a dumb driver, a drone expected to cough up the readies at the drop of a hat (though I didn’t know that yet), after which she just might, for the right reward, get into the sack. No romance here then. As we approached the studio flat that I’d borrowed from a mate, I dared to suggest a warm-up drink at a nearby pizzeria, on the pretext that there was nothing to drink upstairs. Which was true. What awaited us upstairs was a cold, borrowed flat with just a sofa-bed and an empty fridge – an operational knocking shop. She condescended and, sprawled out in the leather-covered heated seat, savoured the silent motion of the car.
“Have you got a driver’s licence?” I asked, trying to switch to neutral territory.
“No, but I want to get one soon. Will you buy me a car?” – a cry of the naively optimistic! “Just a small one, like what women drive, so I can park easily. I won’t be having lessons, ’cause I’ve done some driving out in the country. Ten thousand crowns buys you a licence, no trouble, everybody does it.”
I took this to be a joke and a piece of adolescent bullshit. There was an almost sweet silliness to it, but in the world of Czech corruption, this kind of little favour probably isn’t even an offence. Certainly not against the general ethic. You just need to know the right people in the right place.
“I’d like to have liposuction on my thighs and some breast implants, to give me at least a thirty-eight, I need to look good, see,” she shocked me over a glass of Riesling. True, her breasts did her neckline no great favours, but small, firm breasts have their own irresistible appeal. Crazy cow. What she needs isn’t breast implants but a clip round the ear.
“When you see my boobs you’ll agree. They’re tiny. Oh, and I’ve got tats and piercings... everywhere.”
I tried not to lose my equilibrium and from across the table grabbed her forearm, which was disfigured with blurry tattoos. Certainly not a pretty sight, and her flesh was surprisingly softer than I’d expect from a schoolgirl. But the idea of piercings everywhere was exciting in itself.
“Your hair’s gorgeous.” I was looking for a refuge and stroking her dark mane, which reached right down to her waist.
“Yeah, but it’s false, just stuck on, and it cost me thirty thou... I used to have my own, but my ex went for me once in a fit of jealousy, got me by the neck, bent me over a chair and viciously cut it all off. I cried, but that didn’t help. If I’d defended myself and grabbed him between the legs, he’d have smashed my face in for good measure. So there you have it. But I did have really nice hair once,” she lamented, stroking her hairpiece without a tear in her eye.
As we talked I had visions of her shaved crotch (let’s hope it is!), which I had dreamed up from the photo she’d sent of her in her underwear, though there you obviously couldn’t tell. It just might have been possible, but it was cleverly contrived so as not to be.
We finished our drinks and took the lift up to the eighth floor. Instead of hurling herself at me right there in the hallway to demonstrate her professionalism, the thought of which I found a little daunting after all the bullshit she’d been serving me, she sat daintily on the edge of the sofa and after a brief moment told me that she’d seen a fabulous Gucci watch. For only seven and half thousand, and I was the one to buy it for her. I froze.
“What’s wrong? It’s only 7k, so don’t be such a meany. I like it, see? We can leave the handbag till another time...” I raised the feeble objection that such things might work out cheaper in Germany. I could buy them the following week during a business trip. Or at least show willing. A look of disdain. She obviously had it in for cheapskates.
Although seven thousand crowns is a fair old sum, it might be worth the investment. Right then I was thinking it was; her breasts were within reach and there were stirrings inside my trousers. I’d have preferred to jump her there and then and start having it away.
“I say, pussycat,” I tried a diversionary tactic, “you know you talked about having just the one boyfriend when we first met? That Italian. You look to me as if you could’ve had plenty.”
“Not even my best friend believes me. But it’s probably all down to the fact that mostly I fuck girls... But you’re not going to get jealous, are you? My ex couldn’t take it. Kept moaning about being the only one in the world to have to keep an eye out on two fronts, for women as well as other men. Poor little mite.”
“No, not at all, I’m not the jealous type,” I bleated heroically, though my stomach, the traitor, had started to turn. And anyway, it wasn’t entirely clear what she meant about those girls... How on earth do they do it? That’s something I’d like to see for real.
“I sometimes go to gay bars, that’s fun,” she went on. “Do you know the AMORCITO? In the small hours normal guys go there as well to pick up the night’s last pickings. The girls go off with them for a casual shag, hoping they’re gay and that they’re not going to start texting them for another round...” By now I really was ready to puke. It must have been the cheap wine on an empty stomach.
“I also like coke, you must bring some with you next time. I can’t stand being bored. But it’s got to be good! I don’t do the crappy stuff!” She barely bothered to ask after my opinion or needs. I reckon she reckoned that once she’d spread her legs, I would give her anything she wanted there and then.
“How’s about you let me have this flat for myself? I could take in some boy or girl to share, and whenever they weren’t in, you could pop over and give me a good rogering. That would really turn me on.”
Her words had trouble getting through to me. My defence mechanism kept blocking off my eardrums. This wasn’t what I wanted to hear. The world doesn’t stand or fall by shagging for cash. Not even men think that! Even we want at least an illusion of love. I recognise that visions of funding opportunities and being well provided for act on women as a stimulant that oils the wheels of decision-making –this one no, but yes, that one will do nicely. Even monkey business deserves a bit more grace.
My ears were closed, but my body was refusing to re-set the mechanism that had launched a natural sequence of events. The dart of my endeavours missed the target. To gentle touching she remained quite unresponsive. She didn’t want to kiss or undress. Motivation and prospects both sank lamentably towards vanishing point. Get up, man, you’ve got to start fighting, flashed through my mind.
“So at least show me your tits,” I suggested, daring to hope this would get things moving. “You did promise!”
“You must be joking! You haven’t even bought me a watch yet, and you want to gawp at my tits,” she dampened my ardour uncompromisingly, and the dark down above her upper lip bristled defiantly.
All over. I put her in the car, took her off home and we never saw each other again. Fat chance of that.
Two days later a text came. “I’m feeling sad, babe, why don’t you write? I do like you, I really fancy you. When can we go shopping?”
Water off a duck’s back. Go shopping? Fat chance! I am still searching. I have that familiar sense of frustration in my soul and pressure in my pants.