The Revenge of Suzanne

He sent the email to all of the editors, publishers, art directors and producers whose contact details he had filed in his Thunderbird Address Book.

I quit. I’ve had enough. No more.
Next week – next Thursday, to be precise.
I’m going to become a cage fighter.
Bare knuckle.
Thanks for all of the no-work you sent my way. I don’t need it any more.

It all started three years ago. His friend, Louis, had just suffered a romantic drought of something like five years. Not even one nod, or wink, of interest from the opposite sex. And like any dry spell, when one doesn’t get enough to drink, it’s likely to send one a bit mad.

Louis’d never been particularly religious. In fact he had had to phone his Aunt Petunia to ask if he’d even been baptised. He had, she told him, been Christened a Roman Catholic. It was this information which sealed his fate. The only thing he knew about Roman Catholic priests was that they took a vow of celibacy. It was synchronicity at work. Providence in action. A solution presented to him by a demonstrably concerned Universe.

He sent out the e-mail – every girl who had ever spurned him, every address that had been drunkenly scrawled on the back of a business card at two o’clock in the morning in some dive bar in the arse-end of town, every woman he’d ever admired from afar but been too scared to do, say or mime anything to.

I quit. I’ve had enough. No more.
Next week – next Thursday, to be precise.
I’m going to become a Catholic Priest!
Thanks for all of the no-sex you had with me. I don’t need it any more. I (will) have God in my life instead.

And since then the universe had looked after him. Admirably.

Louis had BCC’d the list, so it hadn’t looked like the message had gone out to the hundreds which it had. Some of the women in receipt of the email thought they’d been addressed directly. Some felt sorry for him. Some had actually liked him, but been too scared to do, say or mime any suggestion in his general direction. Some were impressed by what they assumed must be a crazy new dating tactic. Any which way it fell, he spent the next three years in constant lady-demand – date after date after dinner after romantic encounter.

That’s what Louis had told him. Last night. In the bar. He said that he had gotten so much interest from the girls on his hitlist that he was still working his way through the offers. The very next day (which was today) Louis was going to meet Suzanne – a strapping blonde he’d approached in an art gallery some five years ago but had rebuffed him when he’d contacted her the first time around. She had invited him to join her for a desert tryst in an isolated location.

Louis had explained it thus:– people want what they can’t have. Even if they didn’t, at all, before it was withdrawn as an option. They are terrified of any door closing. That’s how the priest thing worked. It drove women crazy, Louis said. All of a sudden they would do anything to get a hold of him. He’d joined the Mile High Club with an air hostess. He’d been invited to a haunted castle by a tour guide he’d fancied in school – under the pretence that would intensify their sexual experience. This desert thing was just the latest in a long line of adventures Louis had had since he sent that mail.

When Louis told him all of this, his mouth had watered. This could work. It sounded mad, but the theory was sound. He would do exactly the same thing. His client base would be invigorated – he wouldn’t have to beg for work again for years. And then, later, when he was rich and successful, he’d pull precisely the same trick with all the women he knew. He grinned as he watched the e-mail leave his laptop and enter the electronic ether.

Then he closed Thunderbird and opened up Firefox – today’s latest news feed auto-opening in tab#1.

‘Casanova’ would-be priest shot dead in desert rifle accident

It said.

No. Couldn’t be. Could it?
He clicked on the link and watched as the story unfolded in sharply rendered HTML, the sum of the zeros and ones within conveying information faster than he could frantically digest it.

Louis had stumbled across a firing range in the desert, it said. His bloodied corpse had been recovered by the rifle practice instructor. She had been teaching a self-defence class for women – attendees included a tour guide and an air hostess, he noted – when, apparently, Louis had…

Suzanne.
Her name.

Suddenly it made sense. The women – Louis had lied to them, swindled them, fooled them. Said he was going to become a priest. But hadn’t. Instead had lived the life of… Well… An anti-priest.
This had been their revenge for that deception.

Suzanne.

He picked up the ‘phone and dialled the tech-support number for his Internet service provider. He asked if there was any way he could recall an email he had sent to approximately three hundred different addresses.

The tech support guy, Milton Morris, said that this was not possible. He thanked Milton Morris and hung up the ‘phone.

In a new Firefox tab he performed a web search for ‘cage fighting schools’.
Google returned 1,977 results (in 0.15 seconds).

In Metrobyte’s Milton Keyne’s call centre Milton Morris turned to his neighbour and said ‘Why is it only the crazy ones who ever ask that question?’

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David Baillie is a freelance writer and artist. Born almost thirty years ago in Scotland, he now lives and works in the East End of London.

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