This is my first venture into the world of short stories and writing contests. I wanted to start 2015 off on the write foot by moving out of my comfort zone and boy oh boy did this do the trick! I’ve never thought of writing a romantic comedy so this was a unique exercise, and one I won’t soon forget. Needless to say I have a new respect for the genre and for writing on such a tight deadline. Every contestant is given a random prompt to follow:
Genre: Romantic comedy
Subject: A Cheap Hotel
Character: A Meteorologist
I’ll save all the excuses for the quality of the story and invite you to read on!
Georgina travels to Ireland during the latest storm of the century on the promise that a local matchmaker has found her true love.
The Storm of the Century
It is the most ferocious storm to hit the Irish west coast in living memory. High winds and battering seas will hit towns and villages at any moment. This is Felicity Reigns, stay with channel WTR for continuous coverage of the imminent destruction…
‘Hello? Excuse me… Hellooo?’ Georgina sang over the blaring television and tapped the front desk bell.
One Minute… five minutes.
The hotel wasn’t exactly what she was expecting. She pulled the brochure from her bag.
‘Finest and most experienced matchmaker in Ireland! Trust Mac Finnegan with your future happiness. Mac knows better about what’s best for you!’
Okay so it wasn’t Shakespeare, but with her track record Georgina didn’t have much to lose.
She suspected things in Ireland to be, well vintage, to put it politely, but this hotel was pushing it. She’s never seen so many shades of brown in one place. It even smelled brown, like someone was growing mushrooms in the basement. Green, white, and orange paper streamers hung from the lobby ceiling framing the banner-
WELCOME to Destiny Duets!
Fifth Annual Matchmaking Festival
At Finnegan’s Hotel and Pub
Where Blissful Love Awaits!
No mistake, this was the place.
Welcome back to our coverage of The Atlantic Ocean Attacks: Assault on Ireland, this is Felicity Reigns. WTR always brings you the best coverage, even if when it means being out in the fray at great personal peril. We now go live to the very brave Nigel Snow on the coast. Nigel? Are you there Nigel?
Was this the only channel in Ireland? For two days all Georgina had seen was Nigel Snow ‘waiting on the coast for the end of the world’. She was ready for him to drown already. If he had any mercy for his audience he’d throw himself into the sea as a sacrifice to save the rest of us.
‘Hello? Is anyone there?’
Boxes thudded to the floor behind the reception wall.
‘Yes! Yes! Hello there!’ A gentleman with frizzy white hair sprang from the doorway.
‘So sorry to keep you waiting Miss. You must be here for our festival!’ Was I that obvious, thought Georgina?
‘Yes, Georgina Chapman.’
‘Pleased to meet you Georgina Chapman!’ running his hand across his wiry salt and pepper beard.
‘Quite the storm we’re having wouldn’t you say?’ he asked swaying back and forth uncomfortably.
‘Mac Finnegan is my name! I’m the host of your event and the proprietor of this fine hotel. There’s been a slight delay with your room I’m afraid.’ His eyes darted across the desk looking for a quick solution.
“Has Michael arrived yet?’
‘Michael… uh Michael…’ An awkward grin spread across his face.
“Michael Logan? He’s my first match for the festival!’ Perfect in every way on paper, she was certain that Michael was the one. Everything else was simply a formality, and she didn’t want to keep him waiting any longer than necessary. She’s waited far too long to find her perfect match and she wasn’t interested in postponing her perfect future for one minute longer.
‘Ah yes of course, Michael! Well as you know yourself there is about to be a mighty storm out there. And I’m afraid it has delayed some of our guests. But rest assured he’s on his way.’
‘Well waiting a bit longer isn’t so bad I suppose,’ she replied.
‘If you’d like to have a rest in our lovely historic pub while you wait?’
She followed the sound of yet another television starring Nigel and Felicity.
Yes Felicity! Things are quickly reaching crisis mode out here during what we now must call The Storm of the Century!
Well it may be scary out there Nigel, but what isn’t scary is your hair Nigel- FAB as usual! How DO you do it?
You ARE too kind Felicity! It can be terribly difficult in times like this to maintain a professional, yet stylish look. Almost as difficult as the people of this village are having trying to escape these monstrous waves. You can see Felicity that I must hold onto this railing- otherwise I could be lost to the sea at any moment!
‘Let go Nigel, just let go,’ Georgina muttered under her breath.
‘Now that’s not very nice,’ said a voice from behind the bar. ‘What would we do without Nigel’s on the scene crack reporting? We’d be goners for sure.’
Georgina took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Exhaling she opened them again, and looked around, She was right the first time. Empty. Except for the barman.
She drew her brows together in disbelief.
‘Are the others meeting somewhere else in the hotel?’ she asked the barman.
‘Nope. You’re it darling,’ he smirked. Georgina’s eyes narrowed at him.
‘What’s that look for?’ He was a bit too smug for her liking.
‘What? You mean this look?’ He pointed toward his face and put on another wide teasing smile.
‘You know in America the customer is always right.’
‘You came all the way from America for this?’ His head fell to the counter laughing. Waiting for her future husband Michael to arrive was going to be borderline intolerable if this guy was her only company.
‘You look like you could use a drink.’ He pulled a pint of dark ale and set it front of her.
‘Look, I’m sorry for laughing, it’s just Mac doesn’t get many takers for his matchmaking services. It’s pretty rare that anyone shows at all.’
She leaned over and took a whiff of the pint.
‘Do you have any white wine?’
‘Sorry Miss. This is Ireland, not Los Angeles.’
‘I’m not from LA, I’m from New York!’
‘My mistake. Emmet at your service.’ He held his hand out for a friendly shake.
‘Georgina,’ she waved, in reply.
‘So Georgina, from New York, you’re looking for Mr. Right all the way out here in our little village? Did they run out of men in America?’
His eyes were bright and full of interest. He must make excellent tips faining interest in the sorrows of barflies, she thought. He rested his elbows on the bar, chin in his hands and stared at her. Uneasy, Georgina leaned back on the barstool.
‘No. Not exactly.’
‘Well whatever misfortunes brought you here, Mac will be thrilled for the business.’
Georgina wasn’t really in the mood for a cliché conversation with the local barkeep, but she was eager to show him just how perfect Michael was. Who knew how long she might have to wait, it could be ages if Nigel Snow had anything to say about it.
Felicity Reigns here with your latest update. Let’s go to Nigel.
Yes Felicity we have with us a very brave resident of this tiny village who has braved these horrendous winds just to come out and talk with us. What is your name madam and why have you chosen this moment to risk your life out here on the streets?
‘My name is Agnes, Agnes O’Leary and you stopped me!”
Yes Agnes, you’re correct, we did stop you! We wanted to know why you would risk your life by leaving the safety of your home, when your village is about to be swallowed by violent seas?’
‘Well Henry doesn’t really care that there’s a storm going on.’
Yes Agnes of course we understand! When you finally come to the realization that this moment might be your last, you want to take advantage of every minute. And where is your husband Henry now? Were the two of you somehow separated by the relentless blood-thirsty winds? They really have shown no mercy have they Agnes?
‘Henry’s not my husband, he’s my dog! My husband’s where he is always is- in the pubs.
May I have my microphone back please Agnes? Agnes?
‘Is this showing in the pubs?! Patrick?! Patrick O’Leary you better finish up and get home! I’ve got some things to tell you, you’ve got some nerve…’
Yes! Well thank you Agnes for sharing your harrowing ordeal with us! Back to you Felicity!
‘Where in the hell am I?’ Georgina pinched her nose and took a long gulp of the thick, black liquid.
“Thatta girl!’ said Emmet. ‘Now you’re on holiday.’
Georgina had done some crazy things under the guise of romance before, but Michael Logan was worth any distance.
‘Earth to Georgina?’ She’d forgotten about the overly attentive bartender.
‘If you must know Mr. Finnegan has found my perfect match.’ Now she was the one with her nose in the air.
‘Is that so?’ asked Emmet ‘Well now I have to hear more.’ She pulled a neatly folded piece of paper from her bag and began to read.
‘Michael Logan a banker from London. Never married. Wants three children and a wife to adore. Loves the symphony, picnics, holidays in the south of France…’
Emmet looked on in disbelief. ‘Is that it? Or is there more to this knight in shining armor?’
‘Make fun if you like, but he’s perfect and we’re going to be perfect together. And live-’
‘Happily ever after?’ interrupted Emmet.
‘Yes! If you must know.’
‘Do you really think that you can find someone to love you by just filling out a questionnaire? You haven’t even met him in person!’ Her face turned pink with anger as the paper crunched in her fist.
‘What do you know about it anyway? Have you ever even been in love?’
‘This isn’t about me Georgina, it’s about you. And I may not know much about love, but I do know that someone as smart and beautiful as you doesn’t need to travel half way around the world to find it.’ She looked down at her perfect future husband that she’d crumbled in her hand. Okay maybe it was a little silly. It was just so much easier to plan a perfect future with someone who existed on a piece of paper.
‘Love is messy, not perfect. You’re too adventurous and exciting to enjoy something as boring as a perfect romance.’
‘Wow, you’re really working hard for that tip.’
‘I just tell it like I see it.’
Georgina’s stomach fluttered as she really looked at Emmet for the first time. He leaned over the bar and touched her hand softly.
Mac burst through the pub door looking more frazzled than he did when she first arrived.
‘Ah I see you’ve met our outstanding barkeep Emmet! He’s taking grand care of you I’m sure.’ Emmet pulled his hand back suddenly.
‘Absolutely Mac. Wouldn’t think of providing anything less than superior service to such a sophisticated young lady.’
Wind began to whistle through the windows as the shutters thudded against the ancient building.
‘It’s picking up out there!’ exclaimed Mac.
‘So Nigel’s been telling us, for days now,’ said Emmet. Sarcasm. As a New Yorker, Georgina had a true appreciation for the art.
‘On the bright side your room is ready! Our finest accommodations await if you’d like to take a few moments to freshen up? I’m sure Michael and the others will be along any time now.’
She hadn’t given much thought until that moment about how she must look. The journey had taken much longer than she planned and it was a safe bet she was a hot mess. Suddenly she felt conscious of her appearance as Emmet gazed at her from across the bar.
‘Well maybe I should think about freshening up after all.’
‘You look perfect to me,’ said Emmet. Georgina read the sincerity in eyes. Was this someone she could trust to always tell her the truth?
‘Miss Chapman? Shall I show you to your room?’ asked Mac.
‘No, I think I’ll stay here a bit longer if you don’t mind Mr. Finnegan.’
Felicity Reigns here. Nigel, how is it looking out there for our friends on the Emerald Isle?
Well Felicity, as you can see behind me more and more brave souls have begun to leave their homes to assess the damage. This may have been the storm of the century but clearly it wasn’t enough to keep the good people of this village down for long. It’s amazing to an experienced meteorologist like myself, but it seems that we have weathered this ferocious weather. This is Nigel Snow signing off-see you next time on the front lines!