NIGEL arrived almost the same time as Sarah, indeed they stood side by side.

He was a scruffy looking twentysomething  with torn jeans, faded t-shirt and wayward light brown hair.

“Is this the queue?” he asked.



Sarah, a smart, attractive woman in her early 30s, in a dark grey business suit, white blouse and very sensible shoes, turned slightly towards him and said: “Yes.” But there was no eye contact.

She had short, black hair and possessed very fine features. Unfortunately their effect was somewhat negated by a rather stern, serious look which Nigel immediately regarded as a challenge to be tackled with gusto.

“Not normally as long as this are they?” he queried with raised eyebrows.

“No” was Sarah’s terse response.

“Wonder what’s holding us up?” replied Nigel who was determined that the conversation would have legs.

“Don’t know,” said Sarah.

Nigel thought he’d try a different tactic this time: “Sorry, didn’t mean to be a pest.”

“Right,” said Sarah.

“Oh, so you think I AM a pest then.” Nigel began to feel that this wasn’t going to work out.

Sarah faced him full on and in determined fashion exclaimed: “I’m in a queue waiting to vote, not to indulge in aimless chit-chat.”

If there was one thing you could say about Nigel it was that he wasn’t a quitter. There was a momentary pause whilst he tried to work out his next move. “Is that my cue to zip it?”


“That was meant to be a joke, cue, queue, get it,” he said.

“Not funny.”

Oh dear.

“No it would seem not. What sort of jokes DO you like?” he asked.

“I beg your pardon?”

Oh dear.

“If I knew what sort of jokes you like then I could tell one and your face wouldn’t look so…”

“So what?”



Oh well, in for a penny, in for a pound.

“Yes, sort of constipated, like you’re dying for a poo but can’t, like you’ve been trying for ages to evacuate a giant turd and when you get really close your anal muscles can’t do the business.”

To say that Sarah was gobsmacked would be putting it mildly. “Are you deliberately trying to be rude?”

Right, try the smooth smile this time, it might just to the trick, thought Nigel. “No, I’m trying to make you laugh. You’ve got such a pretty face, it’s a crying shame it’s distorted by all this arsey stuff.”

Sarah’s frown remained static. “Is that supposed to be a compliment?”

Nigel nodded, more in hope that expectation.

“Well it’s not worked so shut up or better still shove off.”

“Can’t shove off,” said Nigel.

“For God’s sake why not,” was Sarah’s exasperated response.

“It’s the General Election, I’ve got to exercise my democratic right. One of the first things mummy taught me, that and potty training.”

“Then stop trying to chat me up!”

Nigel again nodded and for a moment picked his nose pleasurably, whilst observing that the queue was moving very, very slowly. Oh well, back to the task in hand.

“Who’s your favourite then?”


“Favourite. Paxman, Dimbleby or that Scottish chap Neil, you know the one who’s pally on the telly with Portillo?”

Sarah was clearly not in the mood to discuss the merits of TV political pundits. “I don’t know, oh, they’re all the same.”

“Come off it, you can’t say that. I mean, as a woman, which one do you fancy most? Which one makes your eyelids flutter in orgasmic meltdown when he mentions proportional representation?”

Her response barely surprised him. “I don’t view politics like that, it’s a serious business.”

Oh dear.

“You don’t find it sexy?”


“Come on, politics is power, yes?”


“And power is sexy, yes?”

“Well, I…”

Ah, could this be the breakthrough?

“Look at Margaret Thatcher, love her or hate her, it’s on record that members of her cabinet found her sexy.”

“So you find Gordon Brown sexy?” she replied.

Nigel suddenly realised what beautiful blue eyes she had. And was that a twinkle he just spotted? Stimulating conversation with just a hint of mutual attraction, what more could a man ask for.

“Maybe in the heat of the moment, you know, watching that YouTube clip of him smiling that seductive smile, yeah, possibly, maybe when I’m feeling a bit lonely in the early hours, had one too many Grolsch, then maybe then, yeah, Gordon Brown could do it for me. But I’d probably regret it afterwards, feel a bit of a slut.”

Jackpot! Back of the net!

“That was a smile!”

“It was not!!!”

The queue shuffled forward a few more inches.

“Power is only attractive if it is used in the right direction.” She had composed herself now and regained her poise.

“Depends on your political persuasion. How are you going to vote?”

“None of your business,” she glowered.

“Not got the courage of your convictions hey?”

“Yes I have!”

Nigel was now moving in for the kill.

“Let’s play a game.”

“You’re mentally unstable.”

”No, this is serious political debate. I’m guessing you’ve already made up your mind which way I’m going to vote. Am I right?”


“And you’re thinking I’ve already made up my mind which way you’re going to vote.”

Nigel ferreted around in his jacket pocket before bringing out a scruffy piece of paper and a crumpled envelope.

“Write down here where you think my cross is going to go and I’ll put my forecast about you on the envelope.”

“This is silly.”

“Maybe but it’ll pass time whilst we’re waiting to go in.”

“So this game, what does the winner get?”

At last. It had taken several years for it to come to fruition but Nigel almost felt like ringing his father to tell him that four years study and a degree in psychology had finally paid off.  He had fathomed out that to get at this girl, you had to channel all your energies towards her competitive edge.

“If one of us guesses correctly, the winner gets a kiss.”

“Hang on…”

“If one of us guesses incorrectly, we forfeit our right to vote and leave the queue.”

“And if we both guess correctly?” Ah, more evidence of a sharp mind.

“That’s a full blown snog with tongues.”


“Unless you’ve just been for a kebab at Abdul’s round the corner.”


Sarah looked as if she was preparing to vomit but that didn’t deter Nigel from handing her the piece of paper and producing a pen from his pocket.

Seconds later a sturdy policeman stood in front of them with his arm stretched out. Beyond the long arm of the law was the door to the polling station.

Nigel looked around and it dawned on him that they were the only people left in the queue.

“I’m sorry madam, sir, but it’s nearly 10 o'clock and by law we must close the polling station. I am informed we can only allow one more person in. Who was here first?”

SHE was definitely one of those women who looked very, very sexy when angry.

“Brilliant, we can’t even agree on who arrived first so neither of us got in to vote," she fumed.

No but we did manage to write down our forecasts, thought Nigel.

THEY were still walking in the same direction which was a bonus but she was not a happy bunny.

“You, a Tory, unbelievable!”

“And you, a Liberal Democrat, who would have thought it.”

Now’s the time, it’s now or never, go for it Nigel.

“Fancy a drink?”

“What’s the point, we’ve got nothing in common, we’re poles apart politically.”

“Ah come on, you never know, stranger things have happened.”

“Oh, okay then, just one.”

© Patrick O’Connor 2010