Outside The Ring
Plot for Novel
The story is a comedy about four people in their late twenties with atypical backgrounds. Unbeknown to them they go to the same cafe in London every day for their lunch break.
One of the characters is Anna – a lonely Swedish waitress who works at the cafe. She’s a fanatical Reiki healer, who offers one of her most treasured customer a healing session. His name is Raymond, a gay Jamaican boxer, whose been rejected by his millionaire father because of his sexuality. Anna is physically drawn to him and is not at all aware of the fact he’s gay.
Rainy is a lesbian art teacher who is interested in Anna and forms friendship with Raymond in order to make her acquaintance.
The fourth character is Bonnie, a petite Scottish ballerina with turrets syndrome, who, one quiet lunchtime stumbles into the cafe to discover Raymond and Anna engrossed in a Reiki session. Both are totally unaware that they are being watched.
Anna seems to be getting a little too close to Raymond, pressing her body up against his back, while relaxed Raymond thinks its all part of the healing. Bonnie has a sudden episode and spouts into a frenzied swearing session. This continues for about three minutes, serving up the shocked couple’s concentration. Bonnie finds herself justifying her obscene behaviour to the two strangers, who had taken offence, but after hearing about Bonnies debilitating condition, Anna offers to help her, by administrating the same healing as she gave to Raymond. She suggests that they congregate one evening and Raymond asks if he might join them, Anna agrees thinking her luck is in
Rainy the art teacher happens to overhear the conversation and being quite overassertive explains that she suffers with horrific migraines and would do anything to get rid of them. She suggests that if it’s okay with everybody that she might join them and get some healing herself. Of course rainy doesn’t suffer with migraines at all but jumps at the chance to be near an unsuspecting Anna, who is desperate to please everyone.
The group meet up at Raymond’s flat in Brixton, which upon inspection they find is surprisingly tidy. The evening takes an interesting turn when Raymond’s lover - Theo – turns up to inform him that he’s leaving Raymond for another man. Theo departs and Raymond is left distraught. His friends gather round to console him, especially Anna who offers to stay the night to keep him company.
After a compromising evening alone with Raymond, Anna discovers that he is one hundred percent gay and gives up in her quest to seduce him. She becomes aware of just how sensitive and kind Raymond is how to help him get over his lover.
The group of friends meet up once or twice a week and discover that they have lots in common and for a great alliance. One of the ligatures that forms their chain of similar circumstances is that they are all single, another is they all hate their job.
After six months of meeting up, they decide to abandon their jobs and go in search of Raymond’s father in Jamaica. On the plane they devise a plan to kidnap Raymond and his father for bond money once they reach their destination. But instead, after a mix up at the airport, they get thrown into jail for drugs trafficking. Then after their release are taken hostage by a terrorist group, who have mistaken them for MP’s travelling to the British Embassy. After a narrow escape they end up penniless and break into a mansion to steal money.
The mansion just happens to belong to Raymond’s father who has recently bought it. They get caught again by security and spend yet another night in the police station. Raymond’s father eventually decides to pay the bond money to get them out but refuses to give them the money to return home. Instead he takes them on as hired help at the mansion.
After a few eventful weeks packed with humorous situations and farcical scenarios, the differences between father and son are reconciled and they all return to England with a great wealthier.
Outside the ring
Raymond Duffont II could feel excitement bubbling within the crowd, the air was electric and the mood feverish. He sat outside the boxing ring eyeing up a hunky Brazilian model, who had accompanied one of the sponsors to the match. The sponsor – a certain Mr River Martial – was a notable tycoon of the underwater empire. He was undoubtedly the best knicker seller in Europe, boasting a good one hundred factories in Germany, Switzerland and Belgium alone, not to mention his prosperous factory in Cuba. Ok, so everybody knew he was a drugs lord, that was a fact, a sort of unmentioned fact.
The model – Raymond considered – was most definitely straight, he had a nose for the straight ones, unfortunately he never sniff out the gay guys, at least not the decent ones. The match looked to be promising, TutonCarmoon – an Egyptian skinny legend – was fighting Apache – a local hero in the light weight sector and a lot of the big names had turned out for this one. River was busy nodding to various big wigs and his model friend was scowling the room with steely grey eyes. Raymond wasn’t quite sure of his role in the game; his face was new and fresh, at least around here. Others were eyeing him up with the same suspicion and whispering among themselves.
Betting is a great game or sport for those with the cash flow to emerge unscathed from a bad loss. It was very entertaining to observe the ‘important people’ of the underworld flicking their fingers, tipping their hats and winking to various crooks around the room as if talking a secret language. They thought of themselves as the supremacy of the scum society.
The only thing was, everybody in the room knew who the others were and what they did, how much they were biding and if the game was a set up or kosher. So the whole thing really was pretty pointless. Just an assortment of sordid people without a real home life. Somewhere to parade their new bodyguards and introduce fresh blood to the oldies of the game.
The bell sounded and almost immediately a mass of finely groomed thugs in tailored suits jump about in their seats, spitting through gritted teeth and punching the air with white knuckled fists, while shouting obscenities – obviously looking as hostile as possible. Pieces of paper were flicking about with the quickness of a lizards tongue and heads continued to nod eyes connecting around the room.
Raymond had seen it a thousand times but had never ceased to be fascinated by the standard of acting that went on. Most of the vermin seated around the ring knew the outcome well before the match threw its first punch, so why bother coming? Why not just send someone to collect his or her winnings?
Raymond got up to leave his seat well before the match was over , after all, his true reason for coming was to find a fella for the evening but tonight talent was many miles from the boxing ring. Just to make the evening a little more interesting he advanced a cheeky wink at the Brazilian before exiting the sweat soaked room. To his great surprise the gesture was returned with a detectable smile and a slight pout of the lips ‘so he was gay’. Raymond thought, and hovered around by the door hoping not to be too obvious. His dreadlocks were tied up with an old tie and die t-shirt, which he removed. He tossed his heavy hair across his masculine shoulders. Raymond glanced around to make sure nobody was watching the looked at the Brazilian directly in the eye. He smiled a teasing smile, and winked again. This time he saw the Brazilian make excuses to his host and start his way over to the exit door where he was standing ‘ oh shit... he’s coming over, ok, stay cool’ he found a wall and casually leant on it as the very tall Brazilian took long strides towards him. As he moved closer his long black hair glistened under the spotlights and his smile broadened into a grin. Raymond returned the smile and put a foot forward to greet his handsome stranger. Just as his hand was about to stretch out in front of him, he heard a rather squeaky, annoying voice come from behind him:
‘Darling sorry I’m late, the traffic was terrible’
Raymond swivelled around to see a big bosomed blonde with the curves of a mannequin throw her feeble arms around the Brazilian guys neck. ‘Bitch!’ He thought, and stomped out into the fresh air.
‘I should trust my bloody nose’, and he made his way home to his lover – Theo.
As Raymond wondered through the streets he drew his grey woollen coat tightly about him in attempt to keep out the harsh winter cold. Unfortunately as his coat had more holes in it than a cheese grater, not much could be done, but the snug feeling made him warm inside.
Theo would be waiting up for him, they’d been experiencing problems recently, Theo had been a naughty boy and Raymond was desperate to get his own back. After two years together Theo had done the dirty on him and not only that but in his own bed and with a mutual friend. The only thing was Raymond loved Theo to bits and the cruising was purely a revengeful act. Plus the sex wasn’t all that good at the moment. After the trust had been broke, it was almost impossible to forget or pretend that it had never happened, therefore sex just wasn’t the same, at least not for the victim, Raymond, in this case.
Raymond had recently found a secret hideaway – a nice little coffee-house called The Garden Cafe- a trendy but quiet place with an upstairs greenhouse room that featured a mini waterfall. The sort of place you could go to when you wanted to escape and relax or just to think. Plus they served a wicked cappuccino.
The waitress there was a sweet girl and easy to talk to. A stranger really, although Raymond had never had a heterosexual thought in his entire life, he enjoyed the eagerness in her pretty blues eyes when they chatted. He thought that because that’s what he needed, why not let her have a slice of flattery, then at least someone was getting some. But he failed to realise he was playing a very complicated game.
Anna was wiping down the worn wooden tables, as business was slow. The only person occupying one of the tables was a strange girl who had been in almost every day – Rainy- her name, unusual, but then so was she. On the day they’d met, she talked and talked about nothing in particular, obviously to the fact that Anna was working, she seemed somehow pushy. Her first words to Anna had been:
‘So... you’re Swedish, I know someone that’s Swedish’ and she’d piped on about a long lost cousin and then about her entire family history, as Anna had dreamt of a regular customer- Raymond. Since that day Anna had avoided chit chatting with the strange girl, who always seemed to be dressed in black. She’d been in everyday now for at least two months, always alone. Anna thought that there must have been a reason for that, but then again: Anna was suspicious of everybody.
The stereo pumped out funky tunes as Anna whipped around the remaining tables with a cloth and hummed to herself, even managing a little wiggle when the weird girl wasn’t watching. She expected Raymond would be in at any minute, he usually turned up around one o’clock. For such a stunning man, Raymond was kind and gentle and a great listener. Since Anna had arrived in Britain, six months before, she’d found it difficult to get close to people, everybody seemed strange and unfriendly but Raymond was somehow different, she couldn’t quite figure out what it was, but he was definitely different. She’d found out he was an amateur boxer, which somehow made his gentleness even more intriguing.
He’d managed to flatter her without being slimy, crude or cheesy, he appeared totally genuine, plus he had the most amazing eyes, slightly slanted and olive black with curly lashes. She’d perked up since her lunchtime visits from Raymond began.
Anna popped into the kitchen to apply a light smear of lip-gloss and fluffed up her blonde curls before perching on a stool behind the counter. As the door opened Anna felt her heart flutter and her stomach do a little dance with excitement. Raymond waltzed in wearing a friendly smile and a trendy figure hugging outfit showing off his muscular arms and pert bottom. He sat opposite Anna on a stool and began his charming easy conversation.
‘Hello sweetie, you’re looking nice today, expecting someone?’
‘No just felt like a change, I’m sick of the boring uniform, this place needs a bit of colour’
‘Well you certainly brighten the place up, how’s your flat coming on? Have you finished the decorating?’
‘Nearly, I don’t seem to get much time, between working here and doing the healing sessions, I’m gonna try to get it don’t at the weekend’
Raymond winced a little, rubbed his left shoulder, then let out a sigh
‘What’s up, slept funny?’
‘No, I pulled a muscle in training yesterday, its kept me up all night, bloody thing, I’m sure it’s nothing’
‘I might be able to help, if you don’t object to being touched’
‘That sounds a bit dubious, what kind of touching?’ He said looking genuinely worried.
‘Don’t worry, I told you I’m a Reiki Healer, I might be able to relive your shoulder’
‘If you think you can I’d be grateful?’
‘Sure ... it won’t take a minute, sit over there on the bench’
‘What ... now?’
‘Yes nobodies here, apart from the weirdo’ She whispered, and at glanced at Rainy.
‘She still coming in? You should get a restraining order on that one’
‘I know, something’s not quite right there?’
‘I don’t know, maybe she’s just lonely. God knows I’ve been there before.’
‘I’ve never met a man like you before, you can’t seem to find the bad in anyone?’
‘You don’t know me well enough, I have my moments, now where do you want me?’
‘There will do’ and she pointed to the bench seat in the far corner window. Rainy stared out of the window looking fed up and sighed loudly enough to be heard. ‘They must think I’m bloody deaf’ she thought and took a sip of her cold coffee.
Raymond did as instructed and straddled the stool, he relaxed his shoulders and let his head slump forward. Anna straddled the bench behind him and began to work her way slowly round his head with her hands. They were stretched out palm down and kept about an inch away from his head.
‘Are you actually touching me Raymond puzzled?’
‘No, I’m sort of stroking your shoulders and neck but without contact.’
‘It feels as if you’re touching me, my head feels hot and my left shoulder.’
‘I’m drawing the pain out it’s called hands-on-healing - ironcally without touching.’
‘It’s very relaxing’ Raymond slurred and let his eyelids close. They sat silent while Anna continued to lighten Raymond’s pain, she edged closer little by little until her chest was pressed up against his back, although this wasn’t a part of the healing it felt good and Raymond was none the wiser, he was almost asleep.
Anna closed her eyes and let her hands begin to rub vigorously at Raymond’s shoulders, neck and head. Her slender fingers working his flesh in time to the slow rhythm of (Let’s get it on), which oozed out of the stereo. Unbeknown to the insouciant couple, a rather large queue had formed at the counter and an amused Rainy had jumped up to serve them- rather than disturb Anna in her sensual state.
A petite girl blundered into the cafe loaded with bags wearing ballet tights and a tutu, obviously quite flustered. She took one look at Anna and Raymond and opened her delicate mouth.
‘Fucking cunt, cunt ,cunt ,cunt, wanker, wanker, motherfucker, shit hole, bollocks, bollocks’ This continued for a while.
The entire cafe stopped in their tracks and stared open- mouthed at this tiny morsel of a girl who was about as red as the double Decker parked outside of the window. Anna leapt up and bolted for the counter leaving poor Raymond in a surreal state of speechless and Rainy was laughing uncontrollably.
‘What on earth is going on here?’ Anna shouted at the petite red- head, who was on the verge of tears.
‘And what are you doing behind the counter?’
‘I’m sorry, I didn’t want to disturb you, I could see you were busy.’ Rainy answered directing a cheeky wink at her.
‘And why were you swearing like that, this is not a working men’s club?’ Anna scowled again at the red- head.
‘I’m ssssso ... sssorry, I’m not manic, I have torrets syndrome, I can’t help it, it just happens’ The girl found herself a seat in the corner still trembling violently with embarrassment at her outburst. Anna managed to serve the queue of customers that seemed to appear from nowhere, while Raymond watched, blurry eyed from the corner. Soon things were back on track, Anna made her way over to the shy looking red-head and felt a twang of guilt as the ballerina smiled at her ruefully.
‘I’m terribly sorry, it happens all the time ... I’ve had it since I was a little girl my parents so ashamed they’ve palmed me off to every school or academy that’ll take me an escaped tear rolled down the girls flushed cheek and Anna sat beside her.
‘Here take this.’ Anna offered her a tissue and placed a cup of tea on the table. Rainy in the mean time had made her way over to Raymond and had started to speculate about the red-head’s tantrum. They both glanced over at Anna – who seemed to have taken pitty on the poor girl- and decide to go and see if everything was ok.
‘Everything alright?’ Raymond enquired in a gentle tone.
‘Yes fine.’ The girl blushed and offered her name.
‘I’m Bonnie and you are?’
‘Raymond, nice to meet you’
‘And I’m rainy’ the weird girl in black was quick to add.
They all sat at the secluded table and began a conversation that was to bring them together for a lifetime.