This week, Fiction Ed Shirley’s story starter is all about temptation . . .
Who would leave one single strawberry lying on the worktop, and why?
The worktop is in the coffee stop near the “Friend” offices. All of the various titles working on our floor will leave books there for folk to help themselves — you can see some in the background — or beauty and health products that have been sent in by PR companies.
If there’s been a working lunch, we put the leftovers there so that nothing goes to waste. And I can assure you, nothing does go to waste!
And last week there was this solo strawberry.
First thought: like a gooseberry, just because it’s all alone . . . excess to requirements, a spare part.
Or saving the best bit till last? Perhaps someone had put it there to come back for — though given it’s our sharing space, that was a risky strategy!
Had someone gorged, and just couldn’t manage that last mouthful? That’s another story theme . . .
And for some reason — thought association — it reminds me of something I heard earlier this week.
There are vending machines on a lower floor here, and I was passing just as someone was making a purchase. The machine spoke to them, in a very sultry voice.
“Please make your desired selection,” it said. Now, ignoring for the moment the blatant sexism of using a female voice and that tone, it was the wording that snagged my attention.
Not just “selection” but “desired selection”. How’s that for playing on your emotions? It’s a bit like the way supermarkets use fresh bread smells to lure you in.
And don’t they say that if you’re selling your house, viewers will be more tempted if they smell bread in the oven and coffee brewing?
It’s all part of using the five senses, isn’t it? Sounds and scents are just as important as sights.
But anyway, maybe your story is about temptation and manipulation, and the strawberry is just one part of that.
Over to you . . .