Book Jacket

 

rank 183
word count 56718
date submitted 18.09.2011
date updated 16.04.2013
genres: Fiction, Romance, Comedy, Crime
classification: universal
incomplete

Eggs-Cell Files

Warrick Mayes

Scott, an accountant, encounters mystery, romance and adventure when confronted by a chicken working in his new office.

 

Scott Holland is an accountant starting a new job in a new location.

His suspicions are aroused when he is asked to look at the work of a colleague, an unusual colleague, a chicken! Are his suspicions due to the fact that he got off to a poor start with this colleague or do they have solid foundations? After initially upsetting some of the other employees, he attracts the attention of Debbie, an HR administrator, who starts to show a keen interest in him.

Scott's investigations lead to strange and disturbing events, including an attack on his long-term girlfriend and his life is turned upside down. Amongst all this, he starts to return Debbie's affections despite being unsure if he can trust her. He also has to examine his own prejudices towards the chicken and towards people from different class backgrounds, and give everyone a chance to prove themselves.

In an attempt to uncover the truth, he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. Can he find the people behind the attack on his girlfriend, and figure out who he can trust?

 
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tags

crime, humour, mystery, prejudice, romance, science

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Chapters

3

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Eggs-Cell Files Chapter three

Chapter Three.

Debits And Credits

 

Scott awoke the next day having suffered an interrupted night’s sleep, with visions of talking chickens stealing his job, his girlfriend and his house, while innocent colleagues and neighbours watched in silence and shook their heads.  This made him realise that although he had spent most of the day working alongside a bird, the one thing it hadn’t done was speak.  But birds don’t speak, or for that matter work in accounts departments.  Brian had said she spoke German and French, and only pigeon English (Ha Ha).  He wondered what the day would bring.

His girlfriend was already out of bed, showering ready for the day ahead.  She needed more time than he to get ready, so he always let her have the shower first – and the majority of the hot water.  The bedroom was minimalist and chic, his girlfriend’s choice of colours and decor, she being an interior designer.  The house always looked good, but then they did re-decorate frequently, as fashions changed.  He approved of everything she had done so far, but reckoned if she wanted to paint the place black and pink he’d still tell her it was fabulous, even if he hated it.

Toni had beautiful dark hair and brown eyes, and at three years his junior he thought she still looked wonderfully young.  She had two boys from a previous marriage that had only briefly given her extra weight, and she was probably even trimmer than the day she wed.  Her two sons were at university, and visited rarely, preferring to spend time with their father when not studying.  This suited Scott perfectly – though they were wonderful boys, and loved their mother – because it meant that he was able to monopolise Toni’s time when they weren’t working.

He shaved, showered, dressed and ate breakfast while Toni was still getting ready in the bedroom.  These long preparations usually meant that she would be seeing a client or a contractor that day.  She tended to take less time if she was going to spend the day working at home.  Her job allowed her this flexibility.  She had an office manned by an assistant, and generally only went in when there was a specific need.

He said goodbye to Toni, giving her a kiss and a cuddle before he left.  The journey to work was trouble free.  He pulled into the office car park, only about a quarter full, and found a space not far from the main entrance.  Geoff had also just arrived, and they entered the building together.  “Glad to see we didn’t put you off yesterday.”

“I’m just picking up my P45,” Scott replied smugly.  For a moment there was a look of concern, and then he countered with “Yeah, right!”

Scott wasn’t surprised to see Francoise hard at work, pecking at the keyboard and scratching at the mouse.  He went over and said “Good Morning.”  She looked round and gave him a brief stare.  There was a bank transfer form on her screen, the beneficiary’s name was Blue Farm Research Ltd, but before he could see any more Francoise had turned the screen off.  He looked down at her and she returned his stare with unblinking eyes.  “Bonjour,” he tried again.  This had no better impact, she just looked at her screen, back at him and then back to her screen.  She took a peck of some seed from her tray and waited for him to leave.

Sod you,” he thought, and went to his own desk, turned on his p.c. and screen and then went off to get a drink.  Geoff was already there, making a flask of fresh coffee.

“What do you think of Francoise?” Scott asked.  Geoff gave him a long sideways look, and then carried on making the coffee.  Had he touched a nerve?  He decided to press on.  “You must have heard about the trouble I caused yesterday, I was wondering how you felt?”

“Everybody’s different.” He paused, and Scott waited in the hope that he would continue.  “I was a bit like you to start with, but I soon got used to it.  To be honest, when we heard that she was coming over from Germany, I was quite excited.  One of the accountants in Dusseldorf told me she was a really cute chick, little did I know!  She was supposed to be here for six months, working on a project for Germany, but somehow she’s managed to drag it out.”

“Brian seems to be in favour of her.

“Yeah!” He was warming to the discussion.  “Brian wouldn’t argue with anything coming from Germany.  He does what he’s asked, and then leaves us to sort out the mess.  I reckon he’s past his best.  He used to be a good accountant before we got taken over, but he just seems to be biding his time now.  He’s got shares in the business, was one of the Gladwell shareholders before, and bought into the new company after the takeover.  But, if you believe the rumours, he’s for the chop, going to be replaced by someone from Dusseldorf.  My pal in Germany says that they’ve taken on a new finance manager who’s been going over our numbers and talking to some of the other directors over here.”  

They walked back to their desks, passing HR and Sales Admin as they went.  Scott moved his mouse, bringing his p.c. to life.  He entered the password he had been given yesterday, and checked his e-mails.

There were only two items in the in-box.  The first was an invitation to a meeting, set for 11:30 that day, and was to be hosted by Debbie. Francoise and Scott were the only two people invited.  He immediately fired off an acceptance, without including any other message.  It was best to get this over with, even if he didn’t expect to enjoy the event.

The other item was from Geoff, an e-mail detailing his concerns about one of the intercompany accounts, following up on what he had mentioned the day before.  He had provided the nominal code and the supplier and customer account details that were used to keep track of the intercompany transactions for another subsidiary that presumably belonged to the German Parent.  The company was called Blue Farm Research, which is the name Scott had seen on Francoise’s screen.

He looked over to Francoise, and then to Geoff, but both were working hard and didn’t notice.  Was he being set up?  It didn’t seem likely, but the coincidence with the name Blue Farm Research had roused his interest.  Rather than saying anything to anyone at this stage, he decided to see what the system had to offerHe ran a report of the nominal detail for the account and dumped it all to a spreadsheet, where it would be easier to work with.

He considered himself to be a very proficient Excel user, so preferred working this way, but was a little surprised to see that the nominal balance at the end of each month was zero.  He then dumped the sales ledger and bought ledger transactions for the customer and supplier accounts for Blue Farm Research and saved these records to separate tabs on the spreadsheet.  (For the uninitiated, the sales ledger is where all the sales are recorded.  Most accounting systems have a separate record for each customer.  Similarly, the bought ledger is the record of all purchases and works in a similar way for each supplier to the company.  The nominal ledger is the master ledger into which all the other ledgers feed.)

He went back to the first tab of his spreadsheet and sorted the nominal data by source, so that it had bought ledger transactions at the top, cash book second, nominal third and sales ledger transactions at the bottom.  He created look-ups to the other tabs for both the bought ledger and sales ledger transactions.  This proved that everything in the nominal account for sales and purchases had corresponding entries in the appropriate ledger.

He was very pleased to see that this first check had not revealed any differences.  There were no nominal journal entries to this account, which must mean that either; the sales and purchases netted off each month, or there was a payment made to clear the outstanding balances.   The cash book entries suggested the latter.   The pattern showed that they bought stuff from Blue Farm Research every month, and invoiced them for something too.  The purchases always out-weighed the sales by anything up to ten thousand pounds each month.  The smallest payment he could see was a little over six thousand pounds and the largest was just under ten thousand pounds.  There was nothing unusual here apart from the regular payments.

He decided to expand the search, but also get more information from Geoff.  He fired off an e-mail despite the fact that he was only a few yards away.  It had become a habit to communicate in this way.  However, it’s also very good if you want to keep a track of what’s been said.  He wanted to know if the company received any intercompany statements from Blue Farm, and if he could send over the latest one.  He also thought he’d start looking at the individual transactions, and get some copies of the actual invoices.

He went over to see Jill.  “Are the intercompany invoices filed with the normal purchase ledger invoices?”

“Good morning!”  She reminded him of his manners, and then continued.  “No, all intercompany invoices are kept in a separate file, but alongside the main bought ledger files.  They should all be very easy to find, come I’ll show you.”

She led him to some shelves lined with colourful lever-arch files.  “Bought-ledger are blue, sales ledger green and nominal journals are in black,” she informed him.  “But, intercompany are the exception, bought ledger are in red, but sales ledger are in black.  I think it’s because there aren’t enough colours.  I would have put ALL the intercompany in red, but, there you go anyway!”

He pulled down the red file and carried it back to his desk.

Geoff had already replied to his e-mail.  Apparently he sent them a statement every month, which showed that the intercompany balance was zero.  An accountant at Blue Farm signed the statement to say that they agreed with the balance, and faxed back a copy.  Geoff had all the copies in a folder if Scott wanted to see any.  This was as much as he had expected.  He fired off a quick reply to Geoff to say “Thanks.”

He opened the red file and started looking through the invoices.  There were several sections in the file, so he quickly flipped through to the section for Blue Farm.  The Blue Farm logo was a drawing of a barn (in blue) with the words Blue Farm Research Ltd (in black) running through the middle.  The footer was also in blue with the invoice information in crisp black text.  The company address was somewhere in Norfolk, some small town that he did not recognise.  Perhaps it really was a farm, somewhere in the Norfolk countryside.  The contents of the invoices showed that they were being billed for work on research projects.  All of the invoices were for four or five figure amounts.  There were about half a dozen of these each month, all signed off by Brian, which was a little unusual.  He put this down to circumstance, Brian was probably approved to sign these off in the absence of other managers or directors, but there was something else funny about these invoices that did not immediately click.

He looked through other sections of the file.  Some of the other invoices were signed off by other people, but when he looked at the detail, the costs related to their departments.  Invoices from the parent company in Germany were all faxed copies that had been used as originals to get signatures and to be processed through the system.  These then had originals stapled to them, often with other documents attached.  The originals had torn corners, folds through the middle where they had been put into envelopes or ripped from other attachments. 

He flicked back to the Blue Farm invoices.  These were all pristine, looked like originals, and had none of the scarring of the parent company invoices.  This troubled him, but he wasn’t sure why.  He closed the file.  He needed to have a look at the sales ledger side, but was aware that the meeting with Debbie and Francoise was coming up, so wanted to get his mind right.  He put the red file back on the shelf, grabbed his mug and went off to get another cup of tea.

The tea helped him to relax, whilst the trip up to the kitchen and back helped take his mind off the intercompany issue and enabled him to think about the up-coming meeting. He could not predict how the meeting was going to go, so tried to clear his mind and think positively.

So, they had a chicken working at the office, somewhat unusual, but everyone else had accepted the idea, and HE seemed to be the odd one out.  He would approach this as if it were a test, and in order to pass he would have to be as nice and understanding as possible.

He went off to the meeting room early, found a seat that pleased him, and gave him a good view without having the sun in his eyes or a table leg to make his seating position uncomfortable.  He felt good, and was sure this would all be OK.  He took in the room with its bare walls of a soothing pale blue, no irritating pictures or bill-boards advertising either the company or its ethos.  The carpets were a slightly darker blue, and the tables and chairs sat as an island in the middle of the room.    The tables had a similar false wood effect to the desks in the offices, and the chairs were constructed of metal with blue cloth seats and backs that closely matched the colour of the carpet.  The blinds hung from ceiling to floor and covered the windows that ran the full length of one wall, left open to allow views of the grass to the front and sides of the building.

Debbie came into the room. “Gosh you’re keen.” She was carrying a cup of tea and a folder, and was a little surprised to see him there already, being a few minutes early herself.  “I guess you want to get this over with?”

Yes, but that’s not how he responded.  “No, but I think it’s very important.”  He was giving back some of the company line that she had given him the previous day.  “I agree with the company ethos, and like the way that it has been adopted with such enthusiasm.”  He hoped he was not laying it on too thick.  “I was somewhat surprised when I first encountered Francoise, not having worked with anyone who is not actually human before, but I fully understand that if you are going to have such a policy, it might as well be all-encompassing.”  He paused because she was looking somewhat surprised by his new approach.

“I happen to support what is being done here,” he continued, “and wish it could be done more, and that other companies would adopt similar policies.  I believe that the world would be a much better place if we could all forget our prejudices and just get on with living together.”

She was looking at him, but not saying anything.  Was she trying to read him to see if he meant it, or had he impressed her to the extent that she did not know what to say.  Either way, she was giving him a very long look.  Her face was very pleasant, and she had a natural smile that was very attractive.  Her eyes, a warm walnut brown, were bright and seemed to radiate light and happiness.  He found he was staring back at her and smiling too.

Eventually she spoke, and it was in much softer tones.  “I’m impressed.  It’s not often I meet someone who is quite so open and understanding.”  She had lost the business-like approach of their previous meeting.  “Have you encountered much prejudice before?”

“No, not against myself.  But you read about it and see it on the telly, and I hate it.  I can never understand why people have to be so unkind to each-other.”  He was at least being honest, now.

“Yes I know.” She was sitting opposite.  The cup of tea and the folder were on the table between them.  She moved them apart so that she could lean forward without being obstructed (or spilling her tea), and continued.  “People can be so unpleasant.  There’s enough bad stuff going on without us making it worse.”   She had one hand lying flat on the table while the other started to play with a lock of her blonde hair.  She was certainly opening up in a way he had not expected.  He had obviously been a bit too convincing, but there was no going back now.

“How about you?”  He asked.  “I don’t suppose you’ve ever had any problems.”

“Why not?”  She was deliberately not answering the question, and he suspected she was looking for a compliment, so he duly responded.

“Being so young and attractive, how could anyone take exception to you?”

She smiled wider, but before she could say anything else, they were interrupted.

The door was pushed open and Francoise trotted in.  She hopped onto a chair beside Debbie and looked first at Scott, and then turned to Debbie.  She was ready.

Debbie began.  “Well, I asked you both here because I was aware that there was some tension in the office.  It’s important that we deal fairly and quickly with these matters so that they don’t become bigger problems.” She was talking to Scott, but now she turned to Francoise. “Francoise, I believe that Scott has apologised already, is that correct?”  Francoise nodded, so Debbie continued. “And having spoken to Scott, I believe he genuinely regrets his mistake and won’t behave in this way again.”  She turned back to Scott, and in a softer voice. “Is that right, Scott?”

She was looking rather dewy eyed, so he decided to become more business-like. “Yes, you’re quite right, Debbie.”  He shot her a glance, and then addressed the next bit to Francoise.  “I was completely taken off-guard when I started here, but soon appreciated that it takes all-sorts.”  Francoise shot a look at Debbie before returning her stare to him.  “What I mean is, we encounter new people and circumstances every day, and just because some people are different, or unusual, that’s no reason to think they aren’t just the same as us underneath.”  He found this last bit difficult to believe in the case of Francoise, but only because he was looking at a rather scruffy chicken, in most other respects, this bird was behaving just like a human being.  “So, no matter how people look or behave, you have to judge them on what they do and say.”  He thought this an excellent opportunity to try speaking to Francoise once again.  “Francoise, I hope we will be able to work together, and get on well.  Do you accept my apology?”

Francoise nodded.  She looked to Debbie and nodded again.

“Oh, that’s fabulous!”  Debbie seemed a bit too pleased.  “I’m so happy that we’ve managed to work this out.”

He didn’t want to let Francoise off the hook that easily.  “I wondered if this might be a good opportunity to let Francoise say something.” He ventured.  “Everyone has said how badly I behaved, but you have not said how you feel.  Perhaps this is a good time?”

Francoise was looking straight at him, but did not say a word, or make a move.

“Obviously, you must be a bit stunned, and relieved.”  Debbie was saving her from having to speak.  “We understand if this is a bit much for you.  Perhaps you’d like time to think about things, and then you can let us know if you think the matter is closed?”

Francoise gave a little nod, and then jumped down from the chair and scurried from the room.

“I was hoping to hear her speak.” Scott told Debbie.  I know her English is not good, but she seems to understand everything perfectly well, so I wondered how bad her accent was.”

“Oh, it’s ummm...”  Debbie seemed unsure herself.  “Well, I don’t actually remember hearing her talk.  I’m sure I must have done, but I just can’t remember right now.”  She was looking a little confused, so he decided to offer her a lifeline.

“I know what you mean.  You think you know something, until someone asks you to describe it, and suddenly you realise how little you’ve been paying attention.  It happens to me more times than I’d like to admit.”

“Thank you.”  She got up, signalling that the meeting was over.  Scott also got up and moved round the table towards the door.  She grabbed his hand as he came by, and stopped him.  “You’re really a lot nicer than people have been saying!”  They stood there for a few seconds, she holding his hand, looking straight into each other’s eyes.  He was unsure what to do, she was a very attractive woman, he much older and with a partner.  He was being drawn in to her beautiful eyes, and did not understand why, or how she expected him to respond.  He knew that this was not right, but did not know the right thing to say or do.  Eventually he looked down at the floor, and broke the spell.  She let his hand go.  “See you later.”

He went back to the table in the middle of the room, and sat in the chair that Debbie had just been occupying.  He was more than a little confused.  This new job was proving something of a roller-coaster ride.  For a middle-aged accountant this was some adventure.  Everything is relative, but this was more than a little challenging, and was about to get even more so.

 

 

Chapters

3

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Shiloh Yazdani wrote 91 days ago

This was so funny. It seems not many have taken the idea of making a chicken the main part of a story about humans. It was written well and enjoyable. It doesn't make sense and that's the funny thing about it!
Shiloh
"Courage Through Faith"

Elizabeth Kathleen wrote 92 days ago

How funny! A book with a chicken as the member of an office work staff is truly something I never would've thought of and neither would many others, but I think that's why it's so funny! What I've read is truly enjoyable and I give you a sky of stars!
God bless!!!
Elizabeth Kathleen
"If Children are Cheaper by the Dozen, Can I Get a Discount on Six?"
"The Sticks and Stones"

UPerkins wrote 351 days ago

Interesting story. I wondered how I would like the chicken thing but it seems to work for this story. I am only about half way through but look forward to completing whats here. While the story is intriguing, there are areas regarding accounting and said details that I had to force myself to read... but that is just me. Not my cup of tea.

YvonneMarjot wrote 361 days ago

After four chapters I don't have a clue what's going on. This is a good thing, by the way! I love Francois - I don't understand why your main character is so down on her. He is clearly low in the pecking order. In chapter 3 I nearly lost the will to live when you started going on about bought and nominal ledgers, but fortunately I held myself together long enough to get to chapter 4. I'll be back for more - just as soon as I've fortified myself.

Yvonne.

Matthew Hole wrote 374 days ago

I have read two chapters so far, and the verdict is: excellent. Written in a very sprightly style, with no waste of words. Dialogue is made to work hard to convey character and plot. I appreciate the lack of "he/she said".
The premise is (or at least seems, so far. I'm not sure what the author has up his sleeve - and that's a compliment) simple. It is not over-worked but is paced very well. I am wondering myself, like Scott, what the heck is going on. I like the fact that Francoise's lack of words still leaves us in the dark.
The only things I'm less enamoured with are the endings of each chapter. Chapter 1's ending seemed a bit limp as I read it. Could he not trip over the chicken, or something equally dramatic? The last sentence of Chapter 2 is too much of a forced cliff hanger for my tastes. It seems like it's just been plonked in. Can't think of an alternative off the top of my head, but it needs something more humorous, or just to stop at "One more lie wouldn't hurt". I am intending to read more and am of a mind to back it.
Hope that's a help.
Matthew

Angelika Rust wrote 378 days ago

Hilarious. I've so far read the first four chapters and will be back for more. This has very much of a Tom Holt book, but less forced, less intentional. It reads like a true story. Admit it, Warrick, you really did work next to a chicken for some time, didn't you?
Maybe some people will find it a bit too technical, though. I don't, but I used to work in HR with close ties to the finance department myself. Others with less office background might get deterred.
In chapter 4 I stumbled upon a few things:
after cornering Geoff: "Nice try!" He said. "Keep digging!" - You might consider replacing He with Geoff.
where you describe the scruffy man in the bar: I think you mean his shirt, not his short
where Scott says goodbye to Debbie in the car: it should be compliment, not complement
"He didn't want Toni to be worried, and as long he as could control the situation,..." - there's a word order problem here
That's all from me. Love it and will back it. High stars.
cheers
Angelika
Ratpaths

Software wrote 379 days ago

This is the second book I have read by Warrick Mayes. Eggs-Cell Files certainly continues along the path of excellence that I found in Sleeping With God. In particular, I liked the way humour has been mixed into the crime-romance foundation. Arguably, that's very much like real life in that most situations contains a mix of the amusing as well as the serious. Highly starred and WL'ed. Bookshelf contender when complete.

Clive Radford
Doghouse Blues

Michelle Richardson wrote 388 days ago

Hi Warrick, this book sounds hilarious, and I immediately warmed to Scott. The arrival at his new job was superbly done, with the introduction of his interesting co-worker! Great pacing, great writing and I will return to read some more. Popped on my WL for a later read and high stars from me.

Michelle- 43 Primrose Avenue

Rundy Purdy wrote 391 days ago

Warrick,

I read the first chapter of this story. You have very nice pacing and control of the story. Excellent job eliciting reader curiosity at Scott's new work environment (where not all is as it seems). I especially enjoyed the sudden chicken introduction.

My2Cents wrote 393 days ago

Very clever and well written; I enjoyed this very much. Francoise is such a good character. Well done!
Ken Spears

April Delphinium wrote 402 days ago

This is really funny, and makes me want to keep reading. Great work! I like it that you get right into the plot and don't waste the reader's time with too much up-front back story. The British speak is a bit unusual for me (you would want to edit for an American audience), but I think it will really do well.

LCF Quartet wrote 423 days ago

Hi Warrick,
Only after having read four chapters, I can easily say that your book possesses all the essential elements required for a good read. Everything worked for me. Great characterization, believable dialogue and unpretentious style. What more could I ask for?
Loved it. 6 stars and in my WL for further feedback as I read on,
Best wishes,
Lucette-Ten Deep Footprints

bruce k riley wrote 445 days ago

hi, finished up to chap 7, nice easy read, story pulls you in and it flows, would like to read more just to find out if toni's ok!

Seringapatam wrote 446 days ago

Wow, where did this come from. A great tale and so well told. Loved the characters (all of them) and liked the concept of this book. Funny story that flows well a good use of the characters when you need them to raise the game. A cracking pace that suits the book and an overall good read. I like this.
Regards, Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you? Sean

Annemarie Johnson wrote 449 days ago

A great read, very funny and an interesting concept. I like the idea of Scott, as an ordinary everyman who is our eyes and ears introducing us to the mad world where a chicken accountant is perfectly normal. I also love the humour - I enjoyed the apology to Scott that Francoise's english was not natural of course - not because she's a chicken but because she's French!
The only suggestion I would make is there are times when we are given a long description of Scott's thought processes and this could be livened up by dialogue. One obvious example springs to mind after Toni's death when Scott thinks through his to-do list and ruminates on them. Its very long and difficult to keep the momentum. I was just thinking that perhaps something could be done to break this up when Debbie rings and after some pleasantries you say that he tells her the to-do list. Might it not have worked well for Debbie to ring at the start of the chapter and the long rumination be dealt with as dialogue so it becomes snappier and punchier? Just my own thoughts
Good luck with both books anyway - I wanted to repay the favour of your comments on The Angels Guide but I have to admit the subject of this one appealed to me far more than the other.
Annemarie

puddleduck1 wrote 484 days ago

All i can say about this is brilliant. I hadn't expected it to go the way it did but what an ending. I think Scott could have had a bit more feeling for Toni while the investigation was going on as he seemed to take to debbie far too soon and that was a bit disappointing considering they hadn't even buried her yet. I found the plot was
Spent the whole morning at work reading and finally finished.
wonderfully developed, always keeping the reader wanting more, wanting to know what was going on with Fracoise. Who would have guessed the story was going to take this course which really was suoerbly done. I suppose i should have guessed but i allowed your story to drive me rather than trying to solve the puzzle myself. It was a pity Toni had to die to protect the chickens secret but was glad Francoise and some of the hens survived the ugly end to carry on their cause. I reckon you could make another book to follow up on this one. Perhaps a world where the chickens finally get the recognition they deserve. Let me know if you ever publish this as i would love to buy it.

puddleduck1 wrote 485 days ago

I have just finished chapter five and am intrigued to know what is going on. The chicken (Francoise) seems to be doing something underhanded but as yet, I have no idea what - if she is at all. I find the stpory sp far highly amusing and intriguing at the same time and want to know what is going on here. I have already taken a liking to Francoise although I don't know what she is up to. Brilliant writing that keeps your readers hooked. I get a bit lost here and there with all the accountant talk but it all adds to the story and keeps it flowing. Hope Debbie isn't out to complicate Scotts relationship with Toni as that would be a bummer, but we shall see. At this point, it is hard to see who is doing what to whom and who isn't paying. Will review again in another few chapters.

puddleduck1 wrote 489 days ago

This story has started out very busy and I like that. Constantly moving and keeping me wanting more all the time. I have only read the first two chapters so far but I love the idea of the chicken already and am eager to find out just what is going on here. Great interaction between the characters and imagery is wonderful. i will continue to read and let you know after a few more chapter how i see things but so far, this is great!

AlexandraMahanaim wrote 506 days ago

A lot going on in your story: friends of Debbie that try to overthrow the government, chicken that was definitely developed to think on the human level and the whole chicken reaction that went on in the office.
I also like your idea of getting the exaggerated idea of racial and gender acceptance that has to happen in the office. I myself kind of agree that office needs to be as smooth in accepting all since I was president's favorite in one places of work and was constantly subject of conversation by people who were jealous. It hurts.

I hope you could take a look at one of my books and thank you so much for sharing your story,
Alexandra Mahanaim
Return to Eternity; Shoshanna, The Battle: Encountering Supernatural and Captivity

patio wrote 508 days ago

I read chapter one and two thus far. I like it. Lustful Scott is in lustful love with Francoise aka the chicken. One thing amazed me is the emphasis on the toilet. People don`t normal speak about the toilet. But it is painted as a palace so there`s no stinky bits

I must read on to see how things develop but high stars thus far

patio wrote 508 days ago

I read chapter one and two thus far. I like it. Lustful Scott is in lustful love with Francoise aka the chicken. One thing amazed me is the emphasis on the toilet. People don`t normal speak about the toilet. But it is painted as a palace so there`s no stinky bits

I must read on to see how things develop but high stars thus far

Peter B wrote 521 days ago

A hundred and one things you can do with a creative mind...102 if you use a chicken! Light hearted and border line zany, your obvious sense of humor and imagination shine through. And I like happy endings too. Nice job, Peter B. "The Bible I Thought I Knew"

Bea Sinclair wrote 526 days ago

Original, clever, funny and nicely written. We are introduced to Scott and embroiled into his adventure by the end of chapter one. I have awarded high stars and placed "Egg-Cell files" on my watch list.
Yours Bea

Ellen Michelle wrote 723 days ago

Nice book, Well written, Nice pitch.
Would defo recommend to a friend.
Rated 4 stars.
EllenMichelle :)
'A Model's Summer'

Grace_Gallagher wrote 724 days ago

Nicely bonkers and funny, with enough intrigue to make me want to read more. I agree with Georgia that maybe the lead up to introducing the chicken is a bit over-played (mentioned several times before it happened). I also think that the opening chapter could be tightened up to be a bit snappier. The second sentence is a little clunky. I think this sort of humour would come over better with tighter narrative.

I hope this helps. It's an interesting idea and worth reading.


cheers

GG x

Lacydeane wrote 725 days ago

First of all your pitch is perfectly written. It was an informative lead-in. This work is very well written and extremely entertaining. Very creative and easy to read. You have a very unique voice--great word choice and sentence structure. I am impressed. I Love your imagination and sense of humor. Great job and highest stars. Lacy

ELAdams wrote 729 days ago

Wow, I like this- it's certainly an interesting idea, and it works! I like the humour and the bizarreness of the situation Scott finds himself in. I think it would be better if you didn't mention the chicken beforehand, though, as it would be funnier if the reader thought everything was normal up until the point when Scott nearly falls over the chicken! But of course, this is just one opinion.

Thank you for your comments on 'The Puppet Spell', and good luck with this- it's certainly original!
Emma

patio wrote 729 days ago

Your pitch got me reading. still reading but great story thus far

georgia_summers wrote 740 days ago

Hi!

First off, I was really intrigued by your pitch. I mean, how /does/ that happen? But in saying that, I also felt that you were trying too hard with a lot of your jokes and as a result they fell flat. You also alluded to them before they happened, which then meant that the reader was expecting them. I know writing a first chapter is difficult, but I feel that you need to come up with a better hook, or else you'll lose readers who didn't see the funny side of it.

Hope this helps!
Georgia

Annette Russell wrote 741 days ago

Hi Warrick,
I've broken off in mid-read half way through Chapter 4. I thought I'd best write down some comments before I forget what I was going to say.
I'm really enjoying your book and very much share in Scott's amazement and discomfort at the situation he finds himself in. You include some very good details of the accounting world, especially in Chapter 3 (details such as, "He then dumped the sales ledger and bought ledger transactions . . .") which makes Scott's world seem very real to me, and his situation, therefore, all the more bizarre. I thought you handled the conversation between Debbie and Scott in Chapter 3 particularly well, and like the way Scott puts Francoise on the spot, trying to get her to say something. I also like the way your last sentence of each chapter (so far, at least) is a bit of a cliff-hanger into the next chapter. It really prompts me to read on. You've also paced the introduction of mystery and (possible?) romance very well.
Two things to look out for when you edit your story: the opening chapters are always the hardest to write, as you try to introduce the reader to the world of your novel, and you've tended to over-explain things a bit in the first two chapters. For example, I so share Scott's surprise at seeing a chicken in the building, that there is no need to explain that the chicken is out of place here (beginning of chapter 2). Also, there are occasional slips in punctuation during direct speech (for example, in Chapter 4, you write: "No." He confessed.) I noticed a few slips prior to that, but as I'm just reading chapter 4, this one springs immediately to mind.
And now I'll shut up and continue reading. I really am curious to see what will happen next . . .
Best wishes,
Annette

jenniferkillby wrote 743 days ago

Hello

Interesting story. The subtle jokes were interesting and the chapters kept me going. I don't know if you were trying to make the reader aware of how clean and nice the offices were for a reason, but I would go back and see how it can be more potent with less words. Other than that, I enjoyed the read.

Thanks for sharing
Jennifer Killby - The Legend of the Travelers: Willow's Journey

Edward B Davies wrote 749 days ago

Hi Warrick Your imagination is bizarre enough to even suit me. I particularly like the way in which you finish your Chapters with a teaser to lead the reader into the next Chapter and I like the half-hidden joke with no explanation 'I like it all ways'. And putting in bits of French without heavy handed explanations works for me. Edward.

Juno 66 wrote 749 days ago

Hey Warrick, just had a read of the first few chapters. A really interesting premise and you wear it well, as they say. I agree with some other comments that you could probably go through with a fine tooth comb and weed out anything extraneous or repetitive. For example, you maybe don't need quite so much about how fine the office building is. Otherwise - great stuff and I will be interested to watch your progress! Juno

Kate LaRue wrote 753 days ago

Warrick, I read the first two chapters of this book. The chicken is very funny, I enjoyed Scott's attempt to apologize and his musings as to how a conversation between he and the chicken would go. This isn't really my type of read, but it was entertaining. I think you could do with going through and cutting out any extraneous details that aren't significant to the plot, i.e. that Scott had met the one woman at an interview, etc. Also some of the descriptions of Scott's coworkers could be shortened, maybe focus on one or two features that can define that character so that the flow of the story doesn't get bogged down with character descriptions that the reader will probably forget and that aren't significant to the story. I remember one description of the office building in chapter one that was a little repetitive, about how the exterior of the building masked the normalcy inside or something to that effect, and then you used a similar analogy in the very next paragraph. So, just keep an eye out for that kind of thing. Like I said, a very entertaining read.

Eden Ashley wrote 755 days ago

I've never laughed so hard reading a book on this site. And within in the first two chapters! Your comedic setup and timing is great. The way Scott reacts to everything is perfectly realistic. I really liked this--your writing your approach. Jokes aside, you've found a unique and entertaining way to tackle some heavy social issues.

Eden
The Siren's Heart

Eden Ashley wrote 755 days ago

I've never laughed so hard reading a book on this site. And within in the first two chapters! Your comedic setup and timing is great. The way Scott reacts to everything is perfectly realistic. I really liked this--your writing your approach. Jokes aside, you've found a unique and entertaining way to tackle some heavy social issues.

Eden
The Siren's Heart

Maisie burrell wrote 757 days ago

Hi Warrick,

I'm returning your read from some time ago.

Pitch is interesting, I like the idea.

I read C1 and C2. I think you are over-explaining things as it reads at the moment. Some examples of this:
- The first two paragraphs of C1 - do we need this info now or is it something we can learn as we get to know Scott?
- Is it relevant that he had met Donna previously at an interview?
- The opening para of C2 - I don't think it is necessary to explain this to the reader.

I found the physical descriptions of everyone we meet was rather distracting, and I felt too many characters were introduced in the first couple of chapters - by the time Grace reappeared I had forgotten who she was.

I think you have a great idea and the potential to make this a humorous and thought-provoking read, but at the moment it doesn't grab me.

Just my opinion. I hope it is helpful but if it isn't then just ignore it.

Best Wishes,
Maisie


PolythenePram wrote 757 days ago

HI Warrick,
This is so different! But in a good way - working in HR myself, I could relate to so many of the conversations taking place! I love the madness, the absurd, the quirkness of it. The writing is very fluid too and very easy to read, which is great for a novel like this. Will certainly be reading more.
Eve

Cara Gold wrote 758 days ago

Warrick,
This is an absolute delight to read! Not just funny, but hilarious!
Your work is polished and I was caught from the moment I began. Admittedly, this is not the typical thing I would pick up off the shelf, but it has worked for me so far nonetheless :)
A few stylistic things I’d recommend; in the line ‘Everyone seemed perfectly pleasant…’ I’d put another comma after ‘is’ to put added emphasis on ‘except the chicken’.
Actually that’s about it for the moment, I got a bit lost in your story, it is so light-hearted and easy to read that I find myself forgetting about everything else in my desire to see how things will unfold…
Let me know if you want some more detailed nitty gritty feedback on any chapters. As for tonight, I’m going to relax and enjoy this smartly crafted piece :)
All the best
Cara

Cara Gold wrote 758 days ago

Warrick,
This is an absolute delight to read! Not just funny, but hilarious!
Your work is polished and I was caught from the moment I began. Admittedly, this is not the typical thing I would pick up off the shelf, but it has worked for me so far nonetheless :)
A few stylistic things I’d recommend; in the line ‘Everyone seemed perfectly pleasant…’ I’d put another comma after ‘is’ to put added emphasis on ‘except the chicken’.
Actually that’s about it for the moment, I got a bit lost in your story, it is so light-hearted and easy to read that I find myself forgetting about everything else in my desire to see how things will unfold…
Let me know if you want some more detailed nitty gritty feedback on any chapters. As for tonight, I’m going to relax and enjoy this smartly crafted piece :)
All the best
Cara

Gail Pallotta wrote 758 days ago

I've read the first two chapters. This is hilarious. You've done a great job writing a humorous spoof. I'm giving it a high ranking and putting it on my watch list. I hope you'll read a bit more of Stopped Cold when you get a chance.

Gail Pallotta wrote 758 days ago

I've read the first two chapters. This is hilarious. You've done a great job writing a humorous spoof. I'm giving it a high ranking and putting it on my watch list. I hope you'll read a bit more of Stopped Cold when you get a chance.

Gail Pallotta wrote 758 days ago

I've read the first two chapters. This is hilarious. You've done a great job writing a humorous spoof. I'm giving it a high ranking and putting it on my watch list. I hope you'll read a bit more of Stopped Cold when you get a chance.

Meryl wrote 758 days ago

Warrick,
I gotta tell you, first I was mystified by the whole scenario, then amused. I didn't think I was going to like it, but as I read further into it, I was drawn in. It really isn't my type of book, but it's well done. You've clearly put a lot of thought into it. You probably have a clever sense of humor, and I bet your daughter loves the story.
Good work and keep it up. I'll definitely read more.
Meryl

Anna Salole wrote 761 days ago

Educated poultry... could only come from France hahaha and oh boy are we arrogant too! Had I been Scott, I would have put Françoise on a plate at chapter 2. I have only read to chapter 4, and would like to read further before I put your book on my shelf... but what I can say so far is: this is WEIRD!!!! In a darn good way :-D Made me laugh out loud. Love it!

satrap wrote 762 days ago

Dear Warrick,
I get to the point by saying I simply like the way you write.

Shahryar Cohanzad

HGridley wrote 763 days ago

This is a hoot! How did you come up with a guy having to work with a chicken???? I'll certainly be coming back for more...
As you can see, I've finally gotten over to do my promised read, and have really enjoyed it. You're off to a great start, and just need a bit of polishing. Today I've read chapters one and two. The first chapter didn't need much improvement, but there were a lot of grammatical problems in the second. I've marked them below, and in some instances mentioned what might be implied by certain sentences... :) If it's overwhelming to you, please tell me, and I'll just do general comments on the next chapter.
You described the women well, but the poor guys are faceless names, without even a job description. Tell us more here!
I know I'll be thinking about that funny chicken all evening...

Chapter One:
“he thought it best to show willing”: “show himself willing” is more clear
“It’s a lovely outlook”: end with comma, not period. “he said” must be in the same sentence with at least part of what was said.
“really honks”: add missing period.
“Donna, came to greet him”: instead of putting a dash here, I’d simply start a new sentence.
“showed him to his desk”: put a comma after “desk”.
“checked his tie in the mirror…”: this sentence becomes unwieldy. Either reword it completely or chop it into two: “He checked his tie and ran a hand through his tousled mousey hair. His blue-grey eyes…”
Chapter Two:
“small chicken going into the ladies toilet”: add apostrophe: “ladies’ toilet”.
“picked on Jill”: In America, “picked on” is equal to “annoyed”. Omit the “on”.
“there was no attempt to deny that she was nearing sixty”: You have a run-on sentence here; a period after sixty will fix it.
“Jill did not answer…”: another awkward sentence. Try saying, “Jill, taken aback, did not answer immediately; her hand went to her mouth.” You don’t have to say twice that someone else answered.
“accountants who work here, you obviously…”: run-on. Again, change out the comma with a period.
“looked quizzically at Jill, who’s..”: It should be “whose”
“question this last comment…”: “his” instead of “this”
“she isn’t a person she’s a chicken…”: run-on again. Period after person.
“Hi, I’m Debbie.”: End with a comma, lowercase S. This should be just one sentence.
“The occasional p.a.”: Abbreviations generally are put in uppercase: P.A.
“When he was offered this job he..”: was needs a past tense after he. Say either “he had” or “he’d”.
“sales guy left the Kitchen”: kitchen should be lowercase.
“No, I’m fine thanks”: Add comma after “fine”
“happy about things”: put the comma inside the quotes.
“I’ll be OK”: Add comma after OK
“Certain members of the staff”: put comma inside quotes
“policy here at Gladwell”: Add period after Gladwell to define her words from his thoughts.
“she relaxed slightly”: Replace the comma after “slightly” with a semicolon.
“break the ice”: Period inside quotes
“beginning to dawn on him”: another run-on. You can fix this one by replacing the comma with the word “that” after “him”.
“have no problem with it,”: again, a run-on. Use a semicolon instead of comma after “it”.
“he looked at her screen, there”: more run-on: you could put a semicolon here, but I think a period would be best.
“’No thanks’ He”: Careful here—to say no thanks without a comma in between is to be ungrateful! Add commas after no and thanks, and make “he” lowercase: “No, thanks,” he replied.
“strong and dark”: add comma after “dark”
“enjoy your fruit tea”: add comma after “tea”
Who is Geoff? Introduce him!
“carry on tomorrow”: Punctuation inside quotes!
“checked his watch”: I’m sure the watch is not itself four-thirty, but the time is… period after watch!
Who is Brian? Why is he the one to give permission to go?
“FT”: The first time you use initials, you should spell them out.

Yes, I know that's a lot! Even so, it's a great story. :)
~Hannah

rikasworld wrote 765 days ago

I really liked this. I can certainly see the Pratchett Gaimon influence. I've added it to my watchlist to read more as I found it really easy to read and engaging. Can't think of any criticisms. Too true you don't want to be seen going into the ladies'[ toilet during your probationary period and never use the ch word.

EFLanders wrote 766 days ago

I've enjoyed reading this, interesting, humorous & also thought provoking. In terms of typos I spotted a 'does' instead of 'do', but was too engrossed in the story & now I can't find it. It's in the first or second chapter. Sorry! It just goes to show what a good read it is!

Di Alcantara wrote 767 days ago

Hi Warrick,

First, thank you for your helpful comments on The Beautiful Stalker.

I thought this book was fun and engaging. I only planned on reading the first two chapters, but ended up reading two more. I liked the idea of the chicken. I thought it was hilarious many times. It's easy to follow, great descriptions throughout, natural dialogue.

Scott is charming. He will surely appeal to many female readers like myself.

There are a few missing punctuations, like in chap 2 "Francoise"
Other than that, I found no errors. I enjoyed this so much and I will definitely come back for more. Especially when i want to laugh. Brilliant writing. Five stars from me.

All the best,
Di