Ronald Martindale, a 54-year-old chartered surveyor from Newport, Isle of Wight, has conceded defeat in his passive three-month attempt to impress Alice Waters, the pretty 22-year-old assistant at his High Street stationery store. This news emerged after Martindale had got as far as the till with a bottle of Tippex only to find he had left his wallet at home.
‘I admit it was a long shot,’ said Martindale. ‘But she always had such a nice friendly smile and after a casual reference to her aunt working in the cafe five doors down, I was able to do some internet research and her Facebook profile quite unequivocally said that she was not in a relationship. You have to take these things slowly some times.’
Over the past six months, Martindale had gone into the shop on average twice per week to make small purchases from petty cash for his home-based business. However, his attempts to find unintended sexually charged double entendres in anything Waters said were largely unsuccessful, with only ‘Shall I roll them for you?’ in reference to some A3 photocopies she had done for him coming close.
With the embarrassment of his growing forgetfulness overshadowing his last call to the shop, Martindale has resolved to take his future stationery needs to WH Smiths in Cowes whenever he happens to be there, taking comfort in the knowledge that they are on average 12% cheaper than the one where Waters works.
‘Ironically,’ said God, who is omniscient, ‘it wasn’t quite as hopeless as Ronald thinks. Alice’s father deserted her when she was only six, which has left her significantly likelier than most to seek security in a safe older man. And they even had a couple of improbable shared interests in German jazz and bondage. But now no-one will ever know. Except Me, obviously.’