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The Scrivener: The Fabulous Lynette

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‘Can I speak to Lynette, please?’

‘Who?’ I asked.

The husky, cracking voice was that of a teenage boy.

‘Lynette. Is she in?’

‘No, there’s no one called Lynette here.’

He muttered something vaguely like ‘Oh,’ and rang off. No apology for dialling a wrong number. No explanation.

It was early summer, just after the season of the young man’s fancy.

A week or so later, I had a similar phone call.

‘Is Lynette there, please?’

It was a different voice. This boy’s voice had broken, and lost the crackles and rough edges.

‘No, there is nobody called Lynette in this house.’

There was a grunt of confusion, and he put the phone down. Whoever this Lynette was, she certainly seemed popular with the boys. The next call was from a much younger boy, whose voice was still in the treble register. He was rather more articulate.

‘Please may I speak to Lynette?’
‘I’m sorry. Lynette is not available.’ I changed my reply. There was a short pause in the conversation.

‘Will she be in later?’

‘No, she will not be in later. You must have the wrong number.’

‘Yes, I must have the wrong number. Sorry.’

The summer wore on. The school holidays started. The calls for Lynette became more frequent. I was getting a little tired of it all, so I invented a few new replies. I felt that I had to protect Lynette from predatory little boys and randy teenagers.

‘She’s in the shed, peeling onions.’

‘Lynette fell down the chimney. You can’t speak to her.’

‘Sorry. She just fell off the roof and can’t come to the phone.’

Whatever dreadful fate I devised for this attractive nymphette, the calls kept on coming. I began to have visions of her rolling around in the sand dunes with a different boy each weekend. This conflicted with my desire to protect her from the premature ejaculations (verbal, I mean) of all those lads.

The summer, however, drew to its close, and the phone calls ceased. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Next summer, the calls started again.

The boys emerged from their winter shells, donned their surfing shorts, squeezed their pimples, revved up their old Holdens, and started dialling my number. I began to have more terrifying visions, of them marching round to my house, armed with baseball bats, to storm the Bastille and gain access to the virgin of their dreams. There must have been an awful lot of dreams. Although I had never met the fabulous Lynette, I developed a distinctively protective attitude. My responses became more terse.

‘No, you certainly cannot speak to her!’

‘I don’t know who you are, and she does not wish to speak to you.’

The ultimate response, when I was beside myself with fatherly emotion, was simply ‘NO!’ followed by a silence to assess the reaction of the poor, very confused, young lad. It was usually a strangled groan of disbelief. I must have dried up many wet dreams that summer.

It worked, or she grew up and became more selective. She stopped giving my phone number to her entourage. Or, perhaps, she simply left school. I sometimes wondered if she deliberately gave them the wrong number in order to put them off the scent.

The calls ceased. But I shall never forget those two summers, twenty-five years ago, with the fair Lynette.

Perhaps, during some future summer, I’ll be getting piping little prepubescent voices on my phone asking to speak to Delphine, or Sharon, or Kylie. After all, they mature earlier every year, don’t they?

© Copyright 2007 Brian Barratt


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