Going, Going, Gone by Jill Waters

William stood under the lights expecting, no, hoping to die of embarrassment. He was fifty-five and blushing like a schoolboy. How had he let this happen?

‘Come on ladies, or maybe gentlemen,’ called the auctioneer, ‘What am I bid?’ William closed his eyes. This was torture. He would kill his sister for this.

‘Come on, Will, it’s for a good cause,’ she’d told him, ‘Just a bit of fun. You might even enjoy yourself!’ William thought this was the furthest from fun it was possible to be, and he actually had had toenails removed.

‘Thank you, Madam, ten pounds! Any advance on ten pounds?’ Wait, what? William opened his eyes to see an elderly woman in the front row, hand raised. ‘No? Then going once - twice - third and final time - sold, to the lady in the lovely pink dress!’ The audience applauded as she handed over her money and waited for William to join her.

‘Thank you for bidding,’ he said, ‘I think I’m the cheapest lot so far.’

‘You’ll do fine for me, love. I’m Cynthia, by the way.’

‘William. What would you like to do? I think you have me for six hours. We could go for a walk and then afternoon tea. Some of the other ladies are taking their dates to the gin palace on the High Street. Your choice.’

‘Oh, I’m too old for all that. I’m taking you home. I’ll make you a cup of tea before you get started. I might even have a digestive if you’re lucky.’ She took his arm.

Reaching Cynthia’s bungalow, a terrified William finally dared ask, ‘So, erm, what did you have in mind?’

‘Oh, my window cleaner’s broken his arm. He charges me twelve quid, so you’re a bargain. I’ll fetch you the bucket.’

Published in Issue #26

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