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Mark Stringer's Blog

The Scent of Fear

To:

The Manager
The Orchard Blossom Health Club
The Ancient Orchard Industrial Estate
Royal Berks.

Dear Sir,
I wish to complain. The facts are as follows.

As a birthday gift, my wife arranged for me an aromatherapy session with one of your "professionally trained and qualified" masseuses and now I await trial for double murder. If you can't believe that these two facts are in any way connected, think how I feel.

Some days before I was supposed to go for the massage I received a phone call from your "Health Suite Therapies Manager" Kevin, telling me that my massage with my masseuse Pam had been postponed for a week. Shortly before I was about to go for this postponed appointment I received another phone call from Kevin, telling me that my massage with Pam had been postponed again. Kevin informed me that my session spent unwinding in a relaxing atmosphere rich with unguents and essential oils would be in a further week's time with another lady called Siobhan. A week later, I was just setting off to see Siobhan when I got a call from Pam. She wanted to know why I'd changed to Siobhan. I told her it didn't have anything to do with me, and that she should take it up with Kevin. She complained to me that she'd already spent the money that she'd expected from our aromatherapy session together on a pair of shoes and she'd be short of money next week if she didn't get it. She was most insistent that I re-schedule an appointment with her. When I refused, pointing out that I had hardly any reason to do so, since I was just on my way to see Siobhan and she, Pam, had hardly been reliable, having already postponed our appointment twice, Pam got very abusive, saying she couldn't help it, that the dog had had puppies and it had been a caesarean and I ought to watch it, talking back to her like that, you never know what might happen and that bitch Siobhan ought to watch it as well. While I was trying to point out that it was hardly my place as a customer to sort out rivalries between duelling aromatherapists, the line went dead. As I put the phone down, it rang again.

From this point onward, events happened at a rather sickening pace. The furious man screaming threats and obscenities at me down the phone was a man called Barry. He was Pam's live-in boyfriend and he explained to me that Pam was deeply insulted by my suggestion that she was unreliable, and that that wasn't his experience, that she'd had his tea on the table every night regular as clockwork, even when the dog had been having puppies. When I refused to apologise he said he was going to come 'round and make me, and the line went dead. The phone rang again. It was a man called Dean, saying his girlfriend Siobhan had just got a call from Pam saying that I'd cancelled my session with Siobhan. He said Siobhan was in tears because she'd been counting on that money to pay towards her hen party in Ibiza and because Pam had told her what I'd said about her, and I should apologise. When I tried to explain that I hadn't cancelled my appointment with Siobhan and hadn't said anything to Pam about Siobhan for which I needed to apologise, Dean said if I wasn't going to apologise like a gentleman, then he'd come 'round and make me, and the line went dead. The doorbell rang.

The police didn't believe my story. They refused to believe that Barry and Dean had strangled each other to death with their bare hands on my lawn. They laughed with scorn when I claimed that the feud had aroma-therapeutic roots. Everyone thinks that this was part of some kinky sex plan gone wrong. Perhaps because Barry and Dean, although both large, muscular, macho-looking men were so very fragrant.

In the light of these circumstances, might I suggest a refund of the fee for the massage and perhaps some contribution towards the costs of my defence?


Yours faithfully,


The Ginger Mumbly.

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