* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Picture Perfect

8 May 2003
George writes a thousand words

She was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar when she met him. It was a Friday. He was out on the lash with a gang of workmates, boys from finance, getting the drinks in on the month's bonus. She was working an unexpected shift to pay for her postgraduate course fees.

It was a standard busy evening, and she initially didn't register his lopsided smile or scattered freckles, but simply his presence at the bar. For his part, he didn't see past her brisk flirtatious manner and sleek red hair to the crescent-shaped scar on her left cheekbone or her surprisingly thick eyelashes.

The boys wanted lychee martinis. As she bent over to find the fruit in the fridge, one of them caught a clip of her on his phone swinging down, ass curving up in the air. As they replayed it out of her view, he saw how gracefully her hips slid as she hunted for the lychees. At the lower end of his subconscious something clicked and he unconsciously upgraded her from a potential shag to something more.

When her shift ended he bought her a large drink. She accepted this, and his proffered cigarettes and light. On the pretext of checking his text messages, he took a picture of her lighting up and sent it to a mate in Liverpool for a second opinion. The mate replied in the affirmative and commented on the pertness of her breasts. She suspected he was taking her picture but it was two in the morning; she didn't care.

They went back to hers and fucked all night.

Before he woke, she sent a photo of him sleeping to her best friend; partly proof of conquest but also as a memento of how perfect his freckles and pale skin was in the early morning light. While she made coffee he sent a photo of her room with their discarded clothes on the floor, her knickers flung over a chair, to his Liverpool mate. They made Saturday morning bed talk about her photography, his job, growing up in a small town, the bustle of Manchester, and her vegan beliefs. Spurred by the remembrance of how well their bodies had fitted together, they agreed to meet the following week for a drink, and possibly the cinema.

After their fourth date, when their mutual attraction was transformed into "boyfriend" and "girlfriend", he consented to her sending a photo of him to her circle of friends. She felt that his smile in the posed picture was too forced and symmetrical, so sent round another photo taken secretly when he was laughing at something on the television. She assumed that he didn't discuss his relationships enough with his mates to warrant a photo of her being sent round. He didn't let on that a close-up image of her breasts had done the rounds of the boys in finance, and that his old school mates had seen a clip of her soaping herself up in the shower. He had no idea that the picture of him she'd sent round was to match a face to the picture of his cock that she'd distributed a week earlier; she'd taken it when giving him head and it had come out surprisingly clearly, the pinks and purples bright against her white sheets.

Their relationship settled into the rhythms of millions like it. She listened to him bitch about his office politics, and the drinking habits of his boss. He gave her neck rubs when she'd strained taking wide-angle pictures of tall buildings and trees for one of her projects. She became accustomed to falling asleep with her face in the back of his neck. He knew how phone calls to her mother left her upset, and how she became excited when he licked the small webbing inbetween her fingers. She was happiest curled up, face in his lap, watching science-fiction films, his fingers running through her hair; at those times, he could feel her breathing warm against his thighs and his heartbeat would slow and relax.

He realised that he needed her forever when he went on a training course to Boston. She had just finished her degree and was freelancing, taking pictures of old ships for a classier type of holiday company. Stuck in his mid-range hotel with the minibar and late night wrestling, he turned to the collection of pictures of her that he'd stored in his phone and laptop. The images were an equal spilt between hard-core porn, close-ups of her scar, lips, and cleavage, and saccharine photos of the pair of them together. None of them sufficed; not alone or in combination. The shots of her grinning like a lunatic on Blackpool beach, or posed in stockings and basque, were not enough. The short clip she emailed over of her dancing on their bed to bhangra music with hair flying everywhere - that, there, was the deciding factor.

The smell of the back of her knees after a bath; the sliding curve of her button nose when he ran his finger down it. The imprint of her cheekbone scar when he pressed his top lip to it was in his mind on the flight back. Her "butterfly kisses" on his upper arms. The strange cocktail of scents, of coconut conditioner, sweat and fresh toast that hung above the bed after sex.

He proposed in the arrivals lounge and she accepted, bouncing up and down on her toes. She took a picture of the ring, one he'd found in the thrift shop off Harvard Square, and sent the fuzzy image to her mother.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
10 November 2003. George writes: Dead beat
20 October 2003. George writes: Shortening
29 September 2003. George writes: Manhattanites are Cleavage-Starved
11 September 2003. George writes: How to Bring Us in Line With the Future
18 August 2003. George writes: Slashtastic
28 July 2003. George writes: Underground Independent Small Press Comic Fight Club
7 July 2003. George writes: Careering
16 June 2003. George writes: Choose your own adventure
26 May 2003. George writes: Revelations
8 May 2003. George writes: Picture Perfect
14 April 2003. George writes: MetaPirate
24 March 2003. George writes: Preparation X
3 March 2003. George writes: F of x
13 February 2003. George writes: Three is the magic number
23 January 2003. George writes: Recorded Delivery
30 December 2002. George writes: Meat Bingo or Death
12 December 2002. George writes: Royal Inquisitor
21 November 2002. George writes: This Clown is Cancelled
28 October 2002. George writes: Shopping with God
3 October 2002. George writes: SaferSpoony
16 September 2002. George writes: Supercalanthropomorphicexpealidocious
26 August 2002. George writes: The deformed animal menagerie
5 August 2002. George writes: Plaice that Funky Music, Whitebait
15 July 2002. George writes: Safe as Houses
24 June 2002. George writes: Two Lions (DB/DS)
30 May 2002. George writes: Series 8
9 May 2002. George writes: Market Stall
11 April 2002. George writes: I, the Enlargened, Crunchy Product
18 March 2002. George writes: Cakexterminator
21 February 2002. George writes: Fiction Suit
28 January 2002. George writes: Spunk Gunk
31 December 2001. George writes: Fairytale of New Pork
10 December 2001. George writes: Circular
15 November 2001. George writes: A Man With No Ass Is No Man At All
22 October 2001. George writes: One Night in Heaven
27 September 2001. George writes: Uncut
3 September 2001. George writes: Porn Pants
9 August 2001. George writes: Names of the Roses
19 July 2001. George writes: No Fun Here
21 June 2001. George writes: All Your Elections are Belong to Us
28 May 2001. George writes: Pierced as Fuck
3 May 2001. George writes: My Lovely Horse
9 April 2001. George writes: Eight Hundred and Forty-Three
12 March 2001. George writes: Kill 'Em All
19 February 2001. George writes: Formal
25 January 2001. George writes: Sticks and stones
11 January 2001. George writes: A Thought on Morality
11 December 2000. George writes: You can't put that into a soufflé
13 November 2000. George writes: Lyrical Genius
19 October 2000. George writes: Wet wet wet wet wet
25 September 2000. George writes: Built on an Indian burial ground
31 August 2000. George writes: This Way
31 July 2000. George writes: Runt of the Litter

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