The Perfect Date

by Patrick O’Connor

“OH my God! Oh my God!”

That was Claire’s usual reaction to most things. Even if someone brought her a cup of coffee she would exclaim loudly: “Oh my God, that’s so nice. Oh my God, thank you.”

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But on this occasion Dee shared her astonishment. The paper bin carrying the competition entries was bulging and that was after only two days.

Claire was gobsmacked but then again Claire wasn’t being offered as the main prize!

“Oh Dee, this is fantastic, you don’t know how lucky you are,” said Claire, a slightly plumpish but nevertheless attractive 24 year old with an unruly mop of hair, currently dyed purple but next month who knows what colour it might be! You always knew when she was around as she was inevitably accompanied by the jangle of assorted bangles and bracelets.

Her bubbly personality won people over immediately but in her private moments she was very envious of Dee, whose looks fell very definitely into the classic English rose category.

“You could end up with a really fit guy, I’m so jealous,” said Claire.

It was no surprise therefore to any in the editorial department of the Gazette, a long-established weekly newspaper in a typical Northern English town, that Dee was chosen for the latest brainchild from the editor Brian, a likeable but tough-talking gent in his late 50s. He was short and stocky, with slick, sparse black hair clinging desperately to his crown and always sporting a colourful pair of braces over the traditional white shirt which, after a good lunch, bulged at the seams.

“Got a great idea team,” beamed Brian at his normal weekly news meeting. “Let’s raise funds for a new kidney machine at the Royal Hospital.”

Brian’s proposal was to invite single males over 18 to donate money to the fund and in return they would be entered into a lucky draw to win a date with Dee.

This was the first Dee had heard of the idea and she was conscious that all eyes in the room had turned to her. There were several other young women on the reporting staff, what did they think about her being chosen, wondered Dee.

“Okay with that Dee? Not got a boyfriend have you?” She barely shook her head before Brian said “Good” and carried on.

“And as well as a slap-up meal with Dee, we’ll throw in some runners-up prizes, the usual crap. The minimum donation will be £20 and I’m sure there’s loads of young chaps out there who will cough up even more than that for a date with the lovely Dee here.”

She was 23 years old, slim, 5ft 4in, with long, blonde hair which flowed down to the small of her back. She had stunning blue eyes and a smile that opened doors left, right and centre.