Book Jacket

 

rank 186
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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4

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Eggs-Cell Files Chapter four

Chapter four.

 

The rest of the day seemed a waste of time.  After lunch, Brian called Geoff, Francoise, the other accountant Sue, and Scott into his office to discuss month-end.  Mainly everyone sat and listened to Brian, nodded and agreed, and made a few notes.  Scott was asked to shadow Geoff and Sue at different times, as he was to take over some of their duties, or at least be able to cover for them and vice-versa.

He did not say anything to Francoise, all she had to do was sit there and listen.

Eventually he sent them all away.  Outside, Scott cornered Geoff.

“I’ve been looking at that intercompany account you asked me to go over.”

“Oh yes, what do you think?”

“There’s something fishy going on alright.  Why did you ask me to look at it?”

“It’s all way too clean.  Never any balances at the end of the month, so nothing on the balance sheet to worry the auditors.”

“That was exactly what I was thinking,” Scott replied.  “And all of the payments are made very promptly.  Have you had a look at any of the documents?”

“No.” He confessed.  “I’ve only looked at the journal entries.  Just seems way to clean.”

“There’s something about the purchase ledger invoices that doesn’t ring true.”  Scott wasn’t sure about the point he was making, but he thought if he ran it past Geoff something might jump out at him.  “They’re too pristine.  No torn corners or creases, they don’t look like they’ve been through the post or anything.”

“I suppose they could have been sent in large envelopes, so that they did not need to be folded, but even then, knowing what the post is like, some are bound to be a bit creased.”

“I guess they could have been faxed, but all the faxes we receive are black and white, not colour, and these had the logo in full colour.”

“Maybe they were sent electronically, as PDF files, and then printed off by the person who received them.” 

“That does seem the most likely answer.” Scott agreed.

“Nice try!” He said.  “Keep digging.”

He spent the rest of the day trying to look at other work, but nothing seemed to be going in.  Eventually he found himself looking at web sites to try and find out something about the chicken.  He came across a site that showed different types of domestic birds.  He was surprised to find that he felt quite guilty, as though he was doing something sneaky or dodgy, like looking at porn sites.

However, there she was, or one very like her, on his screen.  According to this web site the breed was called ‘Silky’.  It said that they made good garden pets, but were not good layers if you wanted to keep them for the eggs.  They were very broody, and if they were not allowed to keep their eggs through to hatching, eventually they stopped laying.  So, he sat with a picture of a hen just like Francoise on his screen, deep in thought when Geoff came up behind him.

“Is that what you’re into?” He laughed, giving Scott a push in the back before he could close the screen.  “Like a bit of leg eh?”

Logging off, Scott shut down his p.c. and went home.  He had not mentioned anything to Toni about his first day beyond saying that everything was “Fine”.  He talked about the offices more than the people and had said nothing about the strange goings on.   It was time to put that right and see how she reacted.

It was normal for Toni to be in first, but today was one of those exceptions.  She must have still been seeing a client or preparing some work with her assistant, so he took the opportunity to do the cooking.  This was something he enjoyed, but so did Toni, and she tended to monopolise the kitchen.

Dinner was keeping warm on the top of the cooker when Toni arrived home.  They kissed, and he held her for a minute, looking into her beautiful eyes.  “I’ve got something to tell you.”  He said, as they separated and she went off to the bedroom to change.

“Oh great!  That’ll make a nice change.”  She called back to him from the bedroom.  “It’ll save me from having to do all the talking.”  She liked to poke fun, but there was usually a more serious message behind her light-hearted quips.

When they sat down to eat Scott began.  “You’ll never guess who, or rather WHAT I’m working with.”

“What do you mean ‘what’?”  She replied.  “Is it some sort of robot or something?”

“No, someone called Francoise.”

She looked at him for a moment before replying.  “French!  Are you telling me you don’t like having to work with someone who’s French?  I thought you would have liked a nice French lady with a sexy accent!”

“Not exactly!”  He wondered how she would react, so he decided not to keep her guessing any longer.  “She is French, supposedly, but I haven’t heard her speak yet.” She was already starting to look a bit surprised.  “She is a chicken, she works for the parent company and does not speak much English.”

“What do you mean a chicken?”  She was starting to find it funny, but still did not fully understand.  “Are you going on about the French being cheese eating surrender monkeys again?”

“No, I mean a real live chicken, a hen, poultry, two legs, wings and feathers.”

She laughed, “No way!”

“Oh yes!  And I nearly got into trouble for calling her a chicken.  They have a zero tolerance policy on racism and any prejudices of any kind, and I put my big foot in it by not treating her like a real person.” 

“You’ve got to be kidding.”  But she could see from his face that he wasn’t.  “That’s just too weird for words.  I can’t wait to tell other people.  What does it do?”

“She.”  He reminded her, and immediately felt stupid.  “I have to work with her, sort of, because she is one of the accountants.  Fortunately it seems we won’t have to work too closely, but everyone else accepts her as a real person.  She has her own desk, a computer, a chair and everything.  She pecks at the keyboard, and seems to know how to work things.”

“I’ve got to see this. How wonderful!”  He was glad she seemed as bemused as he was.  He had started to believe that he was going mad or something.

They talked more about it as the evening went on.  Toni remained beautifully incredulous, and he was actually relieved that she found it difficult to believe.  He might normally have been a bit put out if she had carried on for so long.  As it was, it was great to be able to talk freely about the situation and not feel that he was in any way guilty of anything.

The next day he felt so much more able to deal with things.  The discussion with Toni had left him feeling normal again.  Whatever happened at work, he would be able to deal with it, he just had to approach things with caution.

 

Francoise and Geoff were both there when he arrived, so after turning on his p.c. and making some tea he set about investigating the intercompany account a little further.  This time he pulled out the sales ledger invoices.  These proved to be much simpler than the purchase ledger side.  There was a regular monthly invoice from them to Blue Farm Research, charging them for head office services.  The amounts did not vary much, but were for management charges, marketing activities and some expenses incurred on their behalf.

He closed the file, Francoise was looking at him for a change, rather than he at her.  He got up and went to put the file back on the shelf, and said a cheery “Good morning” to her as he passed.  She did not reply (nothing unusual there then), but watched him intently as he replaced the file, and went back to his desk.  He wasn’t sure how much longer she carried on watching, but it was making him feel uncomfortable.   Eventually he gave up trying to ignore her, so picked up his mug and went off to get some more tea, simply to break her stare.  As he turned to go into the kitchen, he saw Francoise scurrying across the office towards his desk.  He left her to it and went into the kitchen.  With his keyboard locked there was nothing there for her to see.

He made the tea and paused in the kitchen to drink it.  People came and went, and he chatted briefly to them as they poured, sweetened and stirred.  Eventually, he finished his tea and headed back towards his desk.  Debbie caught him as he passed HR.

“What were you doing in there, growing the tea?” She asked.  “I was waiting for you to come out.”

“I’m sorry.” He said.  “I was just having a break, thinking about a problem.”

“I wanted to ask you something.  I support Earth Mates, they are similar to Friends of the Earth, and I’m going to a meeting this evening, just wondered if you wanted to come along?”

“Ooh!”  He tried to sound interested but hesitated, this was not really his thing.  He liked Friends of the Earth, believed in their aims and most of their methods, but this was too much in the way of politics for his blood. “Sounds more like some sort of dating site, are you a member, or what’s the deal?”

Well, yes, it was just an idea.  I wondered if you felt as strongly about looking after the planet as you do about racism.”

He was reluctant to get too close, but found himself saying “OK, as long as you promise me I won’t be indoctrinated.”

“Oh, it’s nothing like that.  It’s far more general, talking about forthcoming events and listening to peoples’ ideas.”

That didn’t sound too bad, so he found himself asking, “Where is the meeting, and what time shall I meet you?”

“It’s at a village hall near where you live.  As I’ve got to travel the furthest, my car will already be warmed up, I’ll pick you up around seven. Is that OK?”

He agreed that would be fine.

When he got back to his desk he dropped Toni a text to say he’d be going out after supper.  She asked what time and he replied, adding that he loved her.

He woke up his p.c. and checked his e-mails.  Nothing exciting.  Geoff and Grace had both sent him different viral e-mails, Geoff’s was a straight forward joke about women drivers, whilst Grace’s was a video clip of someone performing an amazing set of tricks on a stunt bike.  He filed both away in a separate folder, with the intention of forwarding them to his own friends when he had put their addresses on his work p.c.

A small white feather drifted out from under his keyboard on the very light breezes from the air conditioning.  He picked it up and looked over at Francoise.  She was not looking his way, but was concentrating on her screen.  He could make out the Blue Farm logo on the top of the document she had open, but that was all he could see.  So, she had been at his desk, but what was she interested in? 

He was beginning to feel sure that there was something fishy about the Blue Farm subsidiary.  The difficulty would be finding out what, and how Francoise was involved.  He was going to have to start asking questions, but did not want to do that in the office with Francoise so close.

The evening with Debbie might offer him an opportunity, but HR have little to do with that side of the business. 

The rest of the day passed quietly and he got home to find Toni preparing dinner.  They ate and chatted about her day and one of her customers who seemed to be expecting far more than they were prepared to pay for.  His day, fortunately, was secondary, but he explained about the meeting of Earth Mates.

She asked about Debbie, he answered as honestly as he could, missing out the part where she had been coming on to him.  Toni did not easily get jealous, and he had never given her any reason to be.  If she was now, she didn’t show it.

“If the poor girl is looking for a sugar daddy, she’s not going to get much from you!” She joked, and he joked back about not needing such complications.

The door bell rang soon after they’d finished eating.  Debbie stood there with her car keys in her hand, ready to get going.

“Come in for a minute, I’ll get my coat.”

She hopped in and he closed the door behind her.  Her attire was understated, she still looked attractive, but the make-up was less obvious than what she wore to work. She was wearing jeans with a light coloured rain coat over, belted to emphasize her figure. 

While he was fetching his coat and shoes Toni came to the door and introduced herself.  Both women were laughing and joking when he returned.  He said goodbye to Toni, and while they cuddled briefly, she whispered in his ear.  “She’s very nice, good luck!”  He frowned but she was giving him a big smile.

 

Scott was pleasantly surprised by the meeting of Earth Mates.  There was no indoctrination, though one or two people seemed very interested in their new member (as that’s how he was perceived), and wanted to know what he did for a living and had he been on any marches etc.  He’d always been a believer in their cause, but never been prepared to stand up and be counted.  This was probably the most radical thing he’d ever done in his adult life.  The meeting was fairly short, so when it finished he and Debbie joined some of her friends for a drink at the pub in the village.  He willingly agreed as this might be the perfect opportunity to ask her about the Blue Farm subsidiary.

Inside the pub Scott bought a round of drinks .  The friends were a couple about Debbie’s age, but being with younger people like this did not bother Scott.  He was expecting much of the talk to be about Earth Mates, but apart from a brief period at the beginning the topic of conversation varied between what was going on at work, to who they supported or loathed on X-factor.  After stating quite definitely that he did not watch the program Scott found himself nodding in agreement with much of what was being said, and discovered he knew a lot more about it than he would otherwise have admitted.

“Only the blonde one can sing.”  One of them was slating the only remaining group.  “The others are just making up the numbers and trying to look sexy.”

“They can all sing, but Joel is the lead-singer and the kids love them because they have energy and dress the same.”

“They’re favourites to win, but I like Daniel.”  One of the women was referring to a male singer with long hair.

“Why does he carry that guitar if he’s not going to play it?”  Scott asked. 

“He played it in the auditions.”  She reminded him.

“So, is he still wearing the same pants and trousers too?”

“Why would he be wearing the same pants and trousers?”

“Because he wore them at the audition.”

The others chose to ignore him and the discussion continued.

 

An hour passed, they bought more drinks and the conversation had moved on, when a rather scruffy looking man came over to their table.

Watcha!” he said. “’Scuse me.” And he leant over and said something quietly into Debbie’s ear.  He straightened up and Debbie rose from her seat.

“Won’t be long” she said to everyone, and then more quietly to Scott. “Some of my other friends.”  The scruffy man led Debbie to a small group of similarly untidy young people who were gathered around a quiz machine in another corner of the bar.  Because of their scruffy appearance and a few piercings, Scott felt uneasy.  They seemed to be in fairly intense discussions.  Though their voices were not raised, there was a lot of arm waving and gesturing.  The scruffy individual who had come over to their group and dragged Debbie away seemed to be controlling the discussion.  One minute he was calming the others down, pressing down an invisible balloon with open hands, and then a few minutes later he was leaning into the middle of the group and clenching his fist.

Scott got up from his seat and made his excuses, heading off towards the toilets.  The scruffy group were on the opposite side of the pub to the toilets, but in order to complete his ruse he felt he had to go through the ‘Gents’ door.  But, rather than hanging around in the door way to the toilets (which he thought may have looked somewhat suspicious) he decided to avail himself of the facilities.

A rather drunk elderly gentleman had just finished at the urinals.

“’Scuse me, d’youaf the time?”

“Sure.”  Scot said, looking at his watch.  “It’s just after nine.”

The drunken man made an exaggerated effort to look at his own watch. “So’t is!  Last bus leaves shoon.” Swaying gently, he made his way towards the door.

Scott went over to the furthest urinal and started to spray the porcelain.

Ish the watershed, you know.”  The man was still at the door.  Scott wasn’t sure whether to acknowledge this new comment, or just ignore it, but the man persisted.  “After nine, they can show ‘n’thing.”

Under different circumstances Scott may have engaged in polite banter, but decided that the opportunity for a meaningful discussion was not promising.

“’S all crap!”  The man continued while Scott tried to shake off the last few drops.  “I’m a Shelebrity, you’re fired!  Not in my day.  I’d leave ‘em all in the shungleAnt and bloody Dec ‘em.  See who wants to be who’s ‘prentice after they’ve fought the fuggin’ Russians.” 

“We didn’t fight the Russians.”  Scott corrected as he zipped up and crossed to the wash basins.

“Bloody cowards.  Should’ve known.  Too lazy to get job eh?”  Scott couldn’t follow how the one led to the other, so kept quiet while he washed his hands.

“Should put ‘em in the army.  That’s what your lot need.  Dishipline!  No respec’ for yoz elders.”  The man paused, seemed to lose the thread of what he was saying, not that Scott could follow it if there was one.

The old man was blocking the door.  “Did you have a bus to catch?”  Scott Prompted.

Yesh, the ninety two, how’d you know, ish that yours too?”

“After you.”  Scott motioned to allow the man to go first, then slowly followed the ponderously swaying man back into the bar area.

 

On his way out, he went the other way round the bar, and approached Debbie and her friends from the far side.  It was difficult to hear what was being said since they were talking in hushed tones.  He edged closer and heard the scruffy guy say “Saturday night”, and then it sounded like “What-on”, but he knew it wasn’t, and he stood there momentarily transfixed.  Recovering, he turned round to go back round the bar, but was too late.

“Scott!”  It was Debbie, she had seen him, so he quickly turned back and put a big smile on his face.  “Come here.” She said.  “I’d like you to meet some friends.”  He was virtually there anyway, so obliged and extended a hand to the scruffy guy, who had stepped forward from the others.

“I’m Scott,” he said, “I’ve just started working with Debbie.”

“Nice ta meet ya.  I’m Dave.”  He took Scott’s hand and shook it, holding firmly and not letting go while he studied his face, their hands moving in slow motion.  So ya’ve not known Debbie long then?”  Up close, his scruffy appearance was due to the sum of various elements.  Long untidy hair, ear-rings, frayed jeans and a loose un-ironed shirt all contributed.

“No, not long at all.  She’s helping me settle in, but I think this goes beyond the call of duty.”

“ ’At’s our Debbie, a real trooper.”  He introduced Scott to the other four members of the troop, but Scott’s mind was still on other things.  He did not remember a single name, but said hello to each one in turn, looking at them, but not really seeing any of them.

The word he had heard a minute earlier, it hadn’t been “What-on”, it was “Watton”, and, assuming he hadn’t misheard it, that was significant.  He was stuck in the middle of this little band, but right now he just wanted to go somewhere where he could think, and try to make sense of things.

Maybe Debbie noticed his discomfort, or maybe it was time to be moving on, but he was relieved when she said “thanks Dave.  We’d better get back to our other friends, or they’ll think we’ve abandoned them.”  They said brief goodbyes, and moved off.  After no more than half a dozen steps, He took Debbie by the arm and leaned close.

“Do you mind if we go soon?  It’s been a long day.”  He left it at that, but she didn’t need any more explanation.

They returned to their table and finished their drinks.  Debbie was kind enough to make her excuses by saying she was tired and had to drop Scott on her way home.  As they left the pub they had to struggle past the old drunk gentleman who held the door, preventing them from passing while he inspected their faces.

“Don’t trust thish one, wouldn’t fight the Russians!”  He released the door, and they made their escape.

“Don’t ask, just a friend I made in the toilets.  Cheers for making the excuses.  You could have blamed me rather than saying you were tired.  I wouldn’t have minded.”

“I was tired too.”  She gave him a big smile and unlocked the car.  They got in, pulled their seat belts around them, and she started the car.  “Do you often make friends in the toilets?”

“He wanted to know the time.”

“What did that have to do with Russians?”

“I have no idea, I think he had a bus to catch, and somehow the conversation just developed.”

“Well, if your mind can hop from a singer’s guitar to his underwear, I guess anything’s possible.”

“Who are Dave and his mates?”  Scott changed the subject, and by way of explanation, “I’m not sure I liked them particularly.  You’re other friends are really nice though!”

She laughed.  “I used to go to school with Dave, Suz and Jez.  They’re a bit weird, always were, but have become more so recently.  I didn’t know the other two until about a year ago, but Dave seems to like them.  They’re harmless enough, full of bull-shit, always making plans about bringing down the government or stuff, but never really do anything.  I think they’re just resentful of society.”

“That doesn’t sound that harmless to me. How do you fit in?”

“I think Dave fancies me.  It’s as though he includes me because I represent the type of business he is trying to bring down, and I’m his first success.  It’s strange really, we both went to the same school, came from the same area, shared similar beliefs, but he seems to be going in one direction while I’m going in another. ”

Scott was desperate to start talking about Blue Farm, but was now not sure if Debbie was the right person to be asking.  The word or name he had overheard in the pub suggested she might know too muchWatton was the name of a small town in Norfolk.  It was also the name of the small town in Norfolk where Blue Farm Research were based.  Why had Debbie’s friends been talking about Watton, and did it really relate to Blue Farm, or was it just a coincidence?

He decided to gamble.  “I was doing some reconciliation work relating to our intercompany accounts.”  He began.  “And, I came across a subsidiary of the parent company that is also based here in the UK.  I wondered if you knew anything about them.”

“Hey!  I was hoping we had forgotten about work.”  She seemed genuinely disappointed.  “Do we have to discuss this now?”

He needed to see what she knew.  “Please, it’s important.  I would have discussed this at work, but I didn’t want anyone else from work to know in case they’re involved.”

“That sounds a bit cloak and dagger, but if you must.  I don’t know much about the accounts, and even less about some of the other subsidiaries, but I’ll help if I can.  What are they called?” 

“Blue Farm Research..

She didn’t slam on the brakes or crash the car, but there was a definite reaction.  Her foot lifted off the accelerator while she thought what to do, but she kept looking straight ahead.  She recovered quickly, but had not been expecting his answer.  It was a couple of seconds before she regained her composure and glanced over.  “Why are you interested in them?”

“I don’t know really, there’s something fishy about the accounts, but I can’t put my finger on exactly what.”

She pondered his answer before replying.  “I’m not sure I know anything that can help you.  They are a research business with a laboratory in Norfolk.  They do research in medical sciences, but surely you could quite easily find out all that sort of thing on the internet?”

She was right.  What she had said was of no real help, and was no more than he’d be able to look up for himself.  He had learnt more from the way she had answered than from what she had said.  Still, he was disappointed.  He hadn’t planned this conversation very well, and had been thrown off balance by what he had heard earlier in the pub.  He was not sure how far he should push things right now, but ventured a little further anyway.

“I was hoping that, since you’d been working for the company for a lot longer than me, you may have heard something unofficial.  You know, something on the grape vine, a scandal or rumours of some sort.”

“I don’t know.”  She hesitated.  “Are you sure you’re an accountant and not a detective?”

This sounded more promising, though she was obviously reluctant to share what she knew, so soon.  He didn’t know how to convince her, and if she was involved in it too then she’d be even less likely to tell him.  He decided to play it casual.  “It probably wouldn’t help anyway.  I don’t even know for sure if there’s something going on.  I’d hate to find that Mr Big has thrown you into a pool full of sharks for telling me something.  And, I certainly don’t want whatever it might be to turn us into enemies.”

“Don’t vorry Mr Bond, I can tek care of myself.” She said in a very fake Russian accent.  They had just reached his house, so she stopped the car in front of their neighbour’s house.

“I think you’re really nice.”  This was obviously the end of the discussion on Blue Farm.  He allowed her to carry on, rather than responding to her compliment, still hoping she might tell him a bit more.  “Perhaps you’d like to come to another meeting sometime?”  She leant over and gave him a proper kiss on the cheek, certainly no air-kiss.

His hand went to the side of his face where she had kissed him, an involuntary movement that he regretted immediately because it made him feel somewhat stupid.  He rubbed his cheek nonchalantly.  She giggled at his embarrassment and smiled beautifully.

He was now way out of his depth, sitting in a car at night, alone with a beautiful woman, who, unbelievably, found him attractive.  It was incredibly tempting to respond with a more amorous kiss.  But he wouldn’t, and couldn’t.  He was afraid of doing anything to upset his current relationship with Toni.

Finally she said, “I’d ask you to invite me in for a coffee, but I don’t think your girlfriend would approve.”  She bit her lip and looked at him sideways, teasing him to respond.

He said “See you tomorrow,” and got out of the car.  Phew!  He felt excitement, fear, elation, his heart was pounding.  The night air was cold, and immediately penetrated his damp shirt where he must have been sweating.  He waved to her as she drove off down the road, and walked slowly to his front door, not too sure what he was going to tell Toni.  Not quite true, he was definitely not going to say anything about the kiss, or Debbie’s obvious advances.  He didn’t want Toni to be worried, and as long as he could control the situation, there was no need.  However, the image of Debbie’s beautiful face when she gave him the come-on was very difficult to put out of his mind.

Toni was still up when he got in.  She didn’t ask anything about the meeting, but he was keen to tell her about the coincidence of over-hearing the word Watton.  She was more sceptical. 

“Oh, come on!  It’s a bit weak, one word, in a busy pub, after a couple of drinks.  You probably thought you heard it because it was on your mind – subconsciously, you know what I mean.”

“No, I’m sure.  There aren’t too many words that sound like Watton.”

“Well, there’s ‘gotten’ if you include slang, or ‘forgotten’, or ‘rotten’ or..”

“You forgot bottom.”  He interrupted.

“Funny! “  She slapped his.  “But I’m being serious.  So, what are you going to do next?”

“I’ll see what happens at work tomorrow.  Other than that, I really don’t know.”

He was beginning to feel like some sort of sleuth, but just about all of what had happened so far had been happening to him, he was just stumbling into everything.  He had not done anything clever to find out anything, and when he really thought about it, he had found out nothing anyway.  Accounts that were too clean, a chicken that didn’t like him, and a word that he had over-heard in a pub from someone who was only remotely connected to the other two things, it certainly didn’t add up to much.  If he were a detective, he’d have to do a lot better than that.

No wonder Toni was sceptical.  He was so pleased to be able to discuss things with her.  She was always so level headed and honest.  He believed that he could probably have told her about Debbie’s advances, and she would have rationalised it in her wonderfully frank and open way.  He knew he was really lucky to have her, and he also knew he wouldn’t let Debbie get any closer and risk losing her.

They went to bed, but he had all these things going round in his head.  Sleep was difficult for the second night running.

 

Chapters

4

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Shiloh Yazdani wrote 98 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 99 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 358 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 369 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 381 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 385 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 387 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 396 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 399 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 401 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 410 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 431 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 452 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 453 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 456 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 492 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 493 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 497 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 514 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 515 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 515 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 529 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 533 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 731 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 731 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 733 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 737 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 737 days ago

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

georgia_summers wrote 747 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 748 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 751 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 756 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 757 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 761 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 763 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 763 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 765 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 765 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 766 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 766 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 766 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 766 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 766 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 766 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 768 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 770 days ago

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

Shahryar Cohanzad

HGridley wrote 770 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 773 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 774 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 775 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