My writing exercise for your this week is to write a short story in the form of e-mails. Who is e-mailing who and about what is up to you. Two old school friends could be parted by distance but stay in touch via e-mail. Perhaps something happens to one of them, or there could be an exciting reunion. Alternatively, the e-mails could be of a different nature – a consumer complaining about a product or service. It could be a serious, emotional story or, like mine, take on a humorous note:
Dear Mr Shoddy,
It is with the utmost regret that I have to send you this e-mail. My regret however, is not for you, but for the sheer torment and torture my wife and I have endured whilst staying at your guesthouse, ‘Homeleigh,’ though why it should have been named as such is beyond me. Perhaps residents who live in a cesspit would find it ‘homeleigh’ but my wife and I certainly did not.
I can see why you reside in Spain, no doubt in an expensive, exotic villa, whilst your minions attempt to hold the place over here together.
I shan’t take up too much of your precious sunbathing and relaxing time, but my complaints are as follows:
1. Whilst I am of a mature age and have been through the 1970s in terms of style and dress, thirty years have since passed and turquoise and brown décor are not what I would expect of a ‘top’ guesthouse, as advertised in, ‘Guesthouse Weekly.’ It would also seem that collecting is the hotel’s creed judging by the collection of dust, litter etc on display. I am sure all the rooms have not been cleaned since the 1970s either.
2. On seeing the chambermaid, I did reach an understanding of why the rooms are in their current state. Doris was very proud in her telling me about the 90th birthday party her son is holding for her next year. However, she is worried about what will happen to the rooms when she goes into hospital for surgery soon. She wouldn’t tell me what the surgery was for, but judging by her stooped spine, gammy leg, arthritic hands and her inability to see anything further than a foot away, it could be for anything. May I suggest you retire her and find a suitable replacement? Someone under the age of 90 would be preferable.
3. I presume the pigeon perching on the bath taps had mistakenly entered the guesthouse through an open window and is not something you provide as an extra for all your guests. My wife was most upset when the said pigeon flew round the room three times before proceeding to relieve himself on top of her head. She had to use all her spare shampoo to get the vile substance out and unfortunately your guest house, not being of the standard we are used to, does not provide shampoo, soap, shower gel, toilet roll or in fact anything to do with cleanliness.
4. I would also like to point out that as you seem able to afford a villa in Spain, then I am sure you could afford new beds for the rooms. Using breezeblocks to hold them up is not acceptable. My wife, being rather fond of her food and a little on the large side, climbed carefully into the bed and received a dreadful fright when it collapsed.
5. Nevertheless, I would consider recommending your guesthouse to people who wish to lose a vast amount of weight in a very short space of time. Sickness and dysentery are guaranteed as a result of even inhaling the slightest scent of the substances being cooked up in the kitchen. As for the food itself, well that’s another matter. Whilst serving with the army all over the world and being exposed to all manner of situations, I didn’t ever have the misfortune of tasting such atrocious food. Manure would taste better.
I could go on with my complaints, but it is too distressing to recall all the unfortunate incidents, which have taken place during our stay. I thought it only polite to address you before taking the matter further and seeking compensation.
Mr. Moaner (A.)
Dear Mr Moaner,
I was delighted to receive your e-mail. I was having a well-earned break from the glorious sunshine and sipping champagne from my finest, crystal glasses when I received it.
I am so sorry that you did not enjoy your stay at ‘Homeleigh.’ I run a chain of ‘Homeleigh’ guesthouses all over the country and all of my guests express absolute joy in staying in them. Though as you so kindly point out, as they usually live in cesspits they feel right at home.
I shall now look at each of your complaints in turn and I sincerely hope to resolve them.
1. It is the distinctive style of our rooms that so many of our guests enjoy. I have had numerous requests for the rooms to remain exactly as they are and of course as the guests are my most important concern, I have chosen to grant them their wish. The issue of dust is dealt with in the next point.
2. I am so glad you enjoyed meeting mother. She is a wondrous lady and she has always looked after our No.1 ‘Homeleigh’ guesthouse, which of course is the one you and your lovely lady wife stayed in. Mother refuses to retire and as many of our guests have written in the guest book, ‘the place wouldn’t be the same without her.’ Her surgery incidentally is for a breast enlargement.
3. I have considered charging you extra for the pigeon, but as a gesture of goodwill, I shall not be. We do not provide shampoo, soap, shower gel or toilet roll because our guests, used to living in cesspits, do not require them.
4. The breezeblock beds are a new design and as we have not had any ladies who perhaps enjoy their food as much as your lovely lady wife, then the collapsing of them has not been an issue. Maybe it will no longer be a problem for your wife due to point 5 below.
5. How kind of you to consider recommending my guesthouse as a way of losing weight. I hope your wife took up this service. What a fantastic idea. I shall be considering it forthwith. And as for the food, it is of course manure, which is in keeping with the diet of those living in cesspits.
I note that in your e-mail you have more issues to discuss. I wonder if they relate to our renowned entertainment. I would be most grateful if you could inform me of these further issues. I do so want to make everything right for such valued guests as yourselves. I thoroughly look forward to hearing from you.
I regret that I must now head off for my six-course supper.
Dear Mr Shoddy,
I am outraged by the tone of your e-mail. It has caused even further trauma to my wife, especially with your mention of entertainment. Pole-dancing lessons do not constitute our idea of entertainment. I cannot be drawn into further discussion of it.
I have nothing more to write and you will be hearing from my solicitor in the very immediate future.
Yours extremely grudgingly,
Mr. Moaner (A.)
Dear Mr Moaner,
Once again, your e-mail reaches me as I take a break, though this time from mansion hunting. I am currently looking for something a little bigger than my ten-bed roomed villa, with three bathrooms, two swimming pools, tennis court, jacuzzi, sauna and three acres of land.
I digress. On to your e-mail. I am surprised to read that you are a man who likes up-to-date décor and yet one who does not like up-to-date entertainment. Pole dancing is the latest fashion. It would also help your wife to tone up her ‘little on the large size’ as you put it. I also offer such entertainment free, included in the price of your stay, which you won’t find anywhere else.
I hope you will change your mind about contacting your solicitor. It would be an awful shame to put mother out of work and onto the streets.
Fondest regards once again,
Dear Mr Shoddy,
Now it is my turn to be delighted to write to you. My solicitor has informed me that all the ‘Homeleigh’ guesthouses have been closed down. Apparently they have been under investigation for some time. Doris has taken a job as our live-in housekeeper (light duties only) and I do believe she is having the time of her life. We have also managed to persuade her that she doesn’t need the surgery.
I am also enthralled to hear that you have also been under investigation for various misdemeanours for some time. As you read this, you will no doubt be hearing a very big knock on your door and the rattle of handcuffs. I do hope you enjoy prison, but please be rest assured that your mother will be well cared for. We are taking her on holiday with us on a round-the-world cruise in place of her 90th birthday party, which I am sorry to say you will miss. We will give her an extra special card on your behalf.
With my fondest regards,
Mr Moaner (A.)