The Paris Review recently posted a contest. The idea was to be inspired by a funny illustration and write 300 words or less in the style of Ernest Hemingway, P. G. Wodehouse, Joan Didion, Elizabeth Bishop, or Ray Bradbury. Obviously I chose Wodehouse. I didn’t win — I didn’t even make the cut as a finalist. But I did have a dashed good time and wanted to share what I wrote.
This time when she looked up, it wasn’t Tommy Humphries-Bogle at all, but some dreadful hoofed creature. Oh! And he was gaining on her!
The crushed gravel spat under her tyres as she sped up the drive. Samantha Hardings pedaled with all her might towards the garage. She was on the grounds now; surely the chauffeur would come to her rescue. And oh how she loved to be rescued.
Samantha discovered she had an undeniable pleasure in getting into scrapes, just to be saved by an admirer. She’d been engaged more times than anyone she knew — and had been rescued from numerous marriages as well. But even so, this was just too much.
Tommy Humphries-Bogle, that inventor of adjustable sock stretchers, had become enamoured of her, after an evening of champagne and digging for night-crawlers. Samantha, the youngest in a brood with six elder brothers, thought this a perfectly innocuous thing to do on a summer’s evening. Now it was all she could do to avoid the poor, love-sick creature.
She’d gone into the village for an afternoon diversion, a bit of tea and gossip with old Mrs.Travers seemed to be what the day had ordered.
“Oh, dearie me, so lovely of you to drop by,” the ancient woman said as she teetered to the door. “I’ve just cooled some shortbread. In you go, in you go.”
After a bit of a chat, she begged Mrs. Travers for her recipe, to no avail, then took her leave. On the way to the post office she spied the familiar gait of Tommy Humphries-Bogle. Too late, she tried to turn away.
“Wait! Samantha! You have to speak to me sometime!”
“But I don’t, darling!” And off she rode.