This episode of Short-Term Lets was written by Chevanne Scordinsky, a writer and healthcare leader who explores genres from horror to romance to the surreal. She is the author of The FLARE, a collection of deeply personal and passionate work which launched in July 2021. You can read more of Chevanne’s fiction on Medium.
One day I’ll be famous, Raymond thought. He shifted about excitedly in the armchair of a sparsely furnished living room on the top floor. The talent programme was just starting, with the familiar upbeat theme tune he gleefully hummed as he tapped his fingers on the armrests. The presenter’s pasted on smile flashed on the screen as he introduced the judges.
It was his favourite time of night and there were no interruptions. Raymond had told his wife he was on business, about 2 hours north of their small town, at a fake company he continued building stories about. But it was really to get away from everyone, including her. Sometimes he felt guilty for conjuring up this imaginary world of high pressure sales meetings and late night financial report drafting but there was nothing like being alone in his own space.
During the ad break, he scurried to the kitchen to peel some hard boiled eggs that were cooling in a bowl of water. Crack, crack, crack…
The show started back up, just as he grabbed the salt shaker. His favourites were Ciara, a young hopeful with a deep, rich voice, and Damien, a contemporary dancer.
In the middle of a routine, there was a loud knock at the door. Raymond ignored it. Wrong flat, friend. He took a bite of an egg and watched Damien writhe and glide to a classical song. The knock came harder and more insistent. Annoyed the caller would never go away, Raymond went to the door and pulled it open with the chain still attached.
‘Raymond. We have to talk.’
He hurriedly opened the door and let the man in. Tom shook beaded raindrops from his coat and eyed Raymond sternly.
‘We have a problem.’
The TV was still blaring and Tom motioned for him to turn it off.
‘What is it?’
‘It’s your wife. She’s on her way here.’
Raymond’s eyes bulged as he paced in circles. ‘How? Who the hell told her?!’
‘I don’t know. I tried making up some nonsense about a new client, some loose ends, and she said she wanted to surprise you, help you unwind.’
Raymond groaned loudly. He would have to act fast. ‘How about going over to your place? Tell her we’re on a big project?’
Tom laughed. ‘I’m not getting mixed up in your bullshit.’
‘Tom, you literally started this bullshit with me. You used to clock in for me when I was hung over or tell the boss I had chronic diarrhoea so I could sneak off for dates.’
‘What are we going to do?’
‘You are going to put some trousers on. I may or may not have a plan.’ Tom slowly cracked a smile and the men laughed. ‘Shit, was Damien performing?’
‘Yeah, he was doing an excellent job too.’
‘Let’s see if we can catch the replay.’
What is Short-Term Lets?
Short-Term Lets is a spinoff from The Links, with episodes written by guest writers. The setting is Alistair Sinclair’s flat, which is let on a short-term basis. In each episode, new characters come to stay, each with their own reasons for being there and their own stories to tell.
These episodes stand separately from the main The Links stories (although familiar characters may appear) and anything might happen. You don’t need to read The Links to follow these episodes, but if you’re not reading The Links, you should be!
Catch up with The Links and the rest of the episodes in the Short-Term Lets series:
If you’re interested in contributing an episode to Short-Term Lets, submissions are welcome! Reply to this post or email email@example.com for more details.
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