A damn good travelling

by James

Not the best shag of Anne Marie’s life, but man, was it satisfying. In the first, she got to watch Georges Travell’s eyes turn to saucers as she took off her cardi and practically dangled her breasts in his duck confit. This man, so suave, so aloof, become horny teenager, all hands and corny lines as she hustled him down the narrow corridor of the sleeper train to her tiny cabin. In between slobbering kisses he actually said it to her – snorted it more like – who’s in the mood for a damn good Travelling?

Laying back as he whippeted above she blessed a silent prayer to God that the man was as crap a shag as his supercilious hand tailored carefully coiffured image suggested. In wider parlance, to be Travelled didn’t mean to suffer the indignity of a mediocre screw in the tiniest of tiny sleeper cabins on the night train to Edinburgh. More usually, it meant to be on the receiving end of a different kind of screwing; the verbiage kind. The man was a restaurant critic of such acid renown that potty mouthed Michelin starred hell chefs were known to turn pale when his name turned up in the diary for dinner at eight. To be Travelled was the kiss of death for many restaurants.

Well, how’d you like this review, sucker?

Thirty minutes after he left her berth and it was online. Thirty hours later it was viral, and a week after that she received the letter notifying her of the libel action he was taking for her online review with the byline Magnificent frontage giving way to flaccid interior.

Everyone told her she had to settle. She had to pay the man off. She had to issue a retraction. With his money, with his lawyers and his clout, there was only going to be one outcome.

In the days before the court case she doubled down. She posted tweets quoting lines from the review.

The limited pleasure promised is over in seconds, not with a bang of near orgasmic delight, but with the fetid whimper of regret.

A cheetah would not have sprinted away faster

A monopoly of awfulness

Or, her favourite:

A microscopic chipolata, wallowing in the juice of a wet weekend

To see his smug face again in the courtroom was a joy. To see him try and stop that tight little smile from slipping as a parade of ex-lovers trooped in one by one to laud his prowess. And then to see him smirk as she began her own defence, all by herself, without legal counsel. She read out the review she had posted online, word for word. That was it, that was her defence. The packed courtroom murmured in confusion.

Anne Marie spoke at last, and she was looking straight into the eyes of Georges Travell as she did so.

‘This isn’t my review,’ she said. ‘These are your words. I’m simply quoting, from your own review. From the July 1985 edition of the Parkhouse magazine. It was a review of my father’s restaurant. The last review of his restaurant, because it didn’t stay open much longer after that.’