Book Jacket

 

rank 184
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

9

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Chapter Nine.

 

Unfortunately Scott hit the roads during rush-hour.  He had picked up his car from the car park in the centre of town, and got caught up in the worst of the traffic as everyone fought to get home for supper.  It was well after six o’clock when he reached the Royal Oak. Debbie’s car was already in the car park – he hoped she had not been waiting very long, but suspected she had.  He left his car in a space near to Debbie’s and went into the pub.

He looked round, not expecting her to be sat at the bar.  She was sitting near the back of the pub, by a window that overlooked the pub garden.  She got up as he approached, came to meet him, gave him a friendly, not intimate, but welcome hug.  He actually felt a little better, for the first time in over 24 hours.  His tummy was crying out for food, and he was also very thirsty, but being greeted by Debbie in such a pleasant way made him feel warm and comfortable.

“I need a drink.  Are you ready for another?”

“Diet cola, please.”

So, he went up to the bar and ordered the cola for her and a bitter shandy for himself, not wanting to consume too much alcohol in his current state.  He also ordered a steak pie and chips for himself, waved the menu to Debbie to let her know he was ordering food.  She came over and had a quick look, said she’d have a chicken sandwich with salad, and returned to their table.  He settled up and then carried the drinks over.  He’d been given a bottle with the number “6” protruding from the top, so the waitress would know where to bring their order.

They sat at the table facing each-other, and both took a sip of their drinks before anything else.

“How are you?”  She placed the emphasis on ‘YOU’.  She had not wanted to leap straight in with her story.

“Been better.”  He admitted.  She was waiting for him to lead the conversation, but he was thinking what to say, while contemplating the dark polished wood table, which had a bronze plate with the number “15” screwed onto one corner, contradicting the number protruding from the top of the bottle.  He wanted to hear what she had to say, but eventually he continued.

“Toni’s still very ill, she’s not said much, but the police are there waiting, for her to come round.”

“I’m sorry, this probably could have waited, YOU should be there too.”

He nodded in response, and let the conversation drop for a minute while he took another sip from his glass.  He looked at Debbie and realised he had not paid much attention to her when he’d walked in.  Her face and hair were as beautiful as ever.  He also noticed she had discarded her jacket before coming into the pub, and had pulled a tight-knit sweater over her blouse.  She looked a lot less business-like, less smart, and the sweater helped to emphasise her natural curves far more than the jacked would have done.  She was watching his face, he smiled, returning his gaze to meet hers, and she smiled back, maintaining eye contact.  He could see nothing but beauty in her eyes.

“What’s the important news?”

“I asked H.R. at head office if they had any more details they could give us regarding Francoise.”  She was looking at him, reading his eyes as she was telling the story.  “They came back with a lot more information, including an address in Germany for a flat that she used to rent before she came to work in England.  They think she may still be renting it, as she was originally only supposed to be in the UK for six months, and we’re paying for her accommodation over here.”    She paused for a moment, still watching Scott, before continuing.  Both hands were now on the table, she was looking eager, building to something more important.

“They also gave me an address in France, for her parents, who are listed as her next of kin.  I gave both addresses to the police.  But, there’s something else, something much more important!”  Her face was now full of excitement, radiating her youth and energy.

She picked up her hand-bag, which she opened and held on her lap.  Her smile was now beaming, she was holding back in order to create as much impact as possible.  “Have a look at this.”  She pulled a piece of paper out of her handbag.  It was on A4, folded twice, so that the contents were hidden.

He took the piece of paper and unfolded it onto the table.  It contained a picture of a rather beautiful young lady with blonde hair, who looked to be a similar age to Debbie.  He held the piece of paper and studied the face, there was nothing else on the paper apart from the picture.  He didn’t recognise the face, but it was starting to dawn on him who this was.  “Francoise?” was all he said, looking up at Debbie.

“Yes!” She exclaimed.  “That’s a photo, from Germany, from Francoise’s file.  They take photos of all employees for their security passes.”

“So, where does the chicken come from?”  He asked.  She frowned briefly at his use of the word ‘chicken’.

“Whoever has been masquerading as Francoise, no idea!  But, whoever it is, they probably know what’s happened to the real Francoise.”

They drank some more and contemplated what may have happened to the girl in the picture.  They dared to imagine that she could be dead, but did the bird that they knew as Francoise have something to do with that, or was she just an opportunist.  They also wondered if Francoise could be alive somewhere, held captive whilst they carried out their plot.  They were now using the word ‘they’.  It seemed unlikely that one small bird could have arranged all this by herself.  Also, Toni had said there were ‘too many chickens’ when she had talked deliriously earlier in the day, so there were probably other birds just like Francoise – or whatever her real name was, if she had one.

Their food arrived, and they were silent for a couple of minutes while they tasted their meals, he put salt on his chips, and Debbie added some dressing to her salad.  He soon realised how badly he needed the food.  The last thing he’d eaten were the biscuits provided by Grace.

“Grace is OK.”  He said, musing over his last meeting with her.

“Yes, she’s a lovely person.”

“You know, I completely misjudged her on my fist day.  But then, I had a pretty bad day all-round.”

“Seems you may have been right about Francoise, though!”

“That’s the problem, I guess it’s difficult to know how to strike the right balance between giving people the benefit of the doubt, and judging them on appearances.”

Debbie put down her fork, still chewing her last mouthful, but reaching for her handbag again.

“I nearly forgot.  I prepared this letter before I left work.  I don’t know if you want to, but thought you might like to check out the flat where Francoise was staying.  I know I would.”  She was daring him, but he was waiting to be convinced.

She handed him a letter written on Gladwell headed paper, and signed by Debbie – ‘Miss D. Little.’  The letter was an instruction to the landlord to provide access to the bearer.  “Since we pay for the rent, I thought we’d be entitled to look round, what do you think?”

“That’s a bit clever, who knows what else we might find.”

“If you’re up for it, I thought we could go straight from here.  It’s not far, that’s why I chose this place.”

“I suppose there’s a better chance that the landlord will be in if we go this evening.”  Scott added.  “And, as it’s not too far, OK, let’s do it.”

They finished their food, left a small tip for the waitress and left the pub.  They agreed to go in his car, Debbie knew the way and would direct.  She was right, it wasn’t far, and they arrived in less than five minutes, parked and walked up to the flats.

They rang the bell for the landlords flat, Debbie spoke to him through the intercom when he answered, and he buzzed them in.  He came down the stairs to meet them because the flat was on the ground floor. He was holding a key, and used it to point to the appropriate door.

“It’s that one.  The police were round earlier, what are you looking for?”

“We don’t know, one of our employees has gone missing and we are hoping there might be some clues.”  Debbie replied to the landlord.  “I have a letter from Gladwell, if you’d like to see it.”

“No ta.  Is it OK if I look round too, police wouldn’t let me earlier.

“You mean, you have a key, but you have not sneaked a look by yourself?”  Scott asked.

“Who’s your friend?”  The landlord replied, giving Scott a long look from head to toe.  Scott remembered he was still in a somewhat dishevelled state. 

“This is my partner, Scott.”  Debbie introduced him, returning the letter to her handbag.

“Each to his own.”  The landlord turned the key in the lock and pushed the door inwards, holding it open with his arm as he motioned for them to enter.  Scott allowed Debbie to go in first, and then followed.

There was a lot of dust on the carpets, and on most other surfaces.  The door to the main living area was open and invited them to go through.  A track led from the front door to the kitchen area where the dust had been disturbed on a regular basis.  The kitchen had less dust, but had coffee rings on the work surface where the contents of mugs had slopped over.  A couple of dirty mugs sat in the kitchen sink, and a jar of half-used coffee sat beside a kettle and an empty carton of milk.  Some bills lay on the side next to the coffee stains, and empty envelopes and junk mail was stacked nearby.

The living room had not been disturbed in months, the furniture and the television had an even layer of dust.  There was nothing here to suggest that anyone was using this place for anything other than a mailing address.  Two further doors led off from the hallway, the bedroom and bathroom yet to be checked.

“I’ll check out the bedroom.”  Scott said as he ventured back into the hallway, and was brought to a halt by a noise from inside one of the rooms.  They all looked at each-other, as much to make sure that they weren’t imagining it.  The fact that they all stood motionless suggested that they were all thinking the same thing.

“Wait!” said Debbie.  “Perhaps we should call the police?”

Scott felt brave, so he gingerly pushed the nearest door open.  There was suddenly a lot more clattering, so he paused again, trying to peer into the room before venturing any further.  Debbie was staring at him, fear in her eyes, backing away, towards the lounge.

“Look!”  The landlord exclaimed, pointing out through the lounge window.  A man was dragging a large suitcase, trying to run towards the road.  He was making good pace despite his heavy load.

Assuming that the man had been the cause of the noise, Scott went straight into the bedroom, the window was open.  With no time to think he started to give chase.  The man had not looked dangerous despite his apparent criminal intent, and the quickest way out was to follow the man through the bedroom window, rather than fighting past the landlord and the outer doors.  He climbed through and headed towards the road.  The man was already pushing the suitcase into the back of a small van, so Scott ran shouting “STOP! STOP!”.

Before he could get there the man climbed into the front and revved the engine.  The van lurched forward and away up the road.  Scott managed to read the first two letters and two numbers of the registration before it was out of range.  He repeated them over and over in his head as he made his way back to the flat.

The landlord had come to the front door to follow the action, so Scott re-entered the flat by the more conventional route.  He found Debbie in the kitchen, she was holding one of the empty envelopes, and had written three letters on it with a pen she had pulled from her handbag.  “Thanks” said Scott and grabbed both items from her and quickly wrote down the four digits he had remembered.

“You got the number!”  She exclaimed.  Between them they had managed to get the whole number plate.

He opened his phone and rang the police station.  Neither Hargreaves nor Jones were available, probably at home watching the TV by now, he thought.  Scott explained what had happened at the flat to the sergeant on duty, and gave him the number plate of the van.  The sergeant wanted to know who was present and if anyone was hurt, but Scott explained they were all safe, and that there was no sign of a break-in.  They thought it was likely that the man had used Francoise’s keys, more of a break-out than a break-in.

They checked the bedroom, closed the window, but there was nothing else of any interest.  Anything that may have been of any use had probably been taken with the suitcase.  They thanked the landlord, and waited while he locked the flat.

Debbie and Scott went back to his car, got in and he waited before starting the engine.  Debbie was quiet, looking out the opposite window.  He leaned over, put his hand to her face and gently turned her head so that he could look into her eyes.  She looked back at him, tears forming.  She had been very frightened for a brief spell, and the tears were tears of relief now that they were both safe.

“Will you be OK?” He asked, worried about leaving her by herself.  “If I’d thought there’d be anyone in the flat I’d never have let you go in first.”

She gripped his hand and held it against her face and started to cry openly, her head sagging into his hand, her hair falling across his wrist.  Her tears were warm as they trickled down her face and over his fingers.  Her vulnerability stirred something inside him, he wanted to hold her and caress her to ease her outpouring of emotion, but he waited while she cried, allowing time for her to recover, until the sobbing subsided and she raised her eyes to meet his.  She managed a weak smile as she released his hand so he moved it and gently swept her tears away with his thumb and one finger.  Her smile broadened slightly, she grabbed his hand again and briefly kissed it in the middle of his palm.

“You’ll be OK.”  He laughed, and she let his hand go, managing a small laugh herself.

They drove back to the Royal Oak.  She said she was fine and insisted he should go back to the hospital.  “I’ll give you a call in the morning.”

“One other thing?”

“Yes?”

“You told the landlord I was your partner.”

Her smile broadened even more.  “Well, I couldn’t have him thinking I actually work with someone who looks like a tramp, could I?”

He made sure she got safely into her car and drove away before he started up and followed her out of the car park.  He was worried because she had clearly been shaken, however, he had someone more important lying in a hospital near home.  By the time he got to the hospital it was nearly nine-thirty, so he used the half-empty hospital car park.

He still had not been home, but was not looking forward to going there, especially without Toni.  He would need to get home soon, but wanted to check on Toni once more, hoping she was starting to look better.

He reached the main entrance and once more went straight through towards the main block.  En-route, he passed a small restaurant that he had noticed several times previously, during the day it was normally quite busy, with food and drink being served from a counter.  However, late in the evening the counter was closed and it was virtually deserted, which is why he noticed the three people sat round a table drinking coffees from the vending machine.  Toni’s two sons and her ex husband were sat there, they hadn’t noticed him passing, so he debated slipping past and going to the ward by himself.  However, he felt duty bound to stop, so went over and said hello.  The boys got up to greet him, their good upbringing showing through.  He greeted each of them with a hug, and then shook hands with Mr Barnaby, he stood briefly as Scott had extended his hand, and sat down immediately afterwards.  He invited Scott to take a seat.

“I’ll pop in and see Toni first,” he said, “and then perhaps I can buy you all some more coffee.”

“Might as well take a seat, they’re checking her dressings, sent us away for half an hour.”

He realised he’d have to stop with them for a spell.

“Would you like another now?”

“We’re OK thanks.”   Mr Barnaby motioned to the coffees on the table

Scott went over to the machine and brought back a coffee, pulled up an extra chair, and joined them at their table.  He learnt that they’d had a busy day.  After the police had called, Toni’s ex had contacted both boys, who were at different universities.  Both were in lectures at the time, so they did not get the message until lunchtime.  Their father had jumped in the car to go down to Brighton to collect one, while the other caught a train from Bristol, it being a more direct route.  Once reunited, they had bought flowers from a garden centre, and then made their way to the hospital.  They’d reached the hospital about six o’clock, and had spent more time in the cafeteria than in the ward.  The nurses were concerned about having so many people in the room at one time, so they’d taken it in turns to keep vigil by Toni’s bed.

The boys were both healthy looking lads, their father a tall strong man, and they had inherited his build. 

“How have you been coping?”  Daniel, the eldest asked.

“Not very well.”  Admitted Scott.

“You look terrible.”  Thomas informed him. 

“With the police, visits to the hospital and trying to square things at work, I haven’t been home since yesterday morning.”  He started to explain, but said nothing of his investigations over the previous couple of days.  They did not need to know about that for the moment, and he felt guilty because he may have brought about the attack.  He gave them a full breakdown from the moment he’d returned home to find the police and ambulance parked outside the house, covering his time at the police station and his visits to the hospital.  He implied that the police had some other leads to follow up, but did not say where they had come from.

After sitting and chatting for about 20 minutes he took Daniel with him up to the ward.  The nurses had finished checking Toni’s dressings and were taking more readings.  WPC Hamilton was back in the room too.  They said polite hellos but Scott wanted a quiet word with the nurse away from Toni’s son, so he let Daniel take the other seat.  Toni was showing no obvious sign of improvement from the time he had left earlier in the day.

When the nurse left, he followed her out of the room.

“What is it?”  He asked her, halting her progress towards the nurse’s station.

“The infection is spreading.” She explained.  “The consultant has seen her, and increased her medication.”

“Will that work?”

“It’s too early to say.  If we can’t control the infection through drugs, then the doctors may choose to operate.”

“How do you mean?”  He remembered the scars she had on both arms and legs, and on one side of her face, so he had visions of them removing limbs to stop the infection from spreading.

“As I say, it’s still early days.  The doctors want to see how she responds to the treatment.  We will know more by the morning.”

“But if they operate what will they do, what’s going to happen?”  Scott wasn’t letting go of the awful idea of Toni being cut to pieces.

She took his arm to reassure him.  “The surgeons are very good, they’ll make an assessment before doing anything.  I don’t know what that will mean, but we must give the drugs a chance to work.”  Then she gestured towards the brightly lit room he had seen on his first visit.  “Why don’t you wait in the visitor’s room, and we’ll let you know if there’s any change.”

This seemed a good idea.  However, he wanted to update the boys’ father before doing anything else.  He would let him tell the boys separately, in his own time, as he knew them best.  He said thank you to the nurse, but left the ward heading back to the cafe.  He managed to get the boys’ father by his self for a couple of minutes, and explained to him what the nurse had said.  He realised how difficult this was, giving bad news, and without fully understanding the situation himself.  And now, somehow, the father would have to give the same news to his sons.

Scott decided to go home and get himself tidied up.  He felt foul, and needed to change.  If it weren’t for her two sons being at the hospital he would have stayed, but he knew now that someone would be with her for when she came round.  He told Toni’s ex that he’d be back as soon as he could, and to call his mobile if there were any changes – he wasn’t going to rely totally on the hospital staff to contact him.

 

When he opened his front door he wasn’t really sure what to expect, so he did so carefully, peering in before stepping over the threshold.  There had been no police car on the drive, or out the front of the house, no tape over the front door, or any external signs that anything was wrong, or ever had been.  However, inside was a different story.  The first thing he noticed were the blood stains on the carpet in the hall-way.  The hall table was broken, one leg was off and it was propped against the wall, the hall telephone was lying on the floor.  He went into the lounge, and found more blood.  Here there were papers and magazines ripped and strewn over the floor and the sofa.  The coffee table had also been damaged, the glass top was missing.  He assumed that it had been broken in the struggle, and the police had taken away the pieces for forensic evidence, or maybe they’d just tidied up the pieces and put them in the bin.  He didn’t bother to look.

He checked through the rest of the house.  All the other rooms in the house seemed to be un-disturbed, apart from the study.  Here, papers and the contents of the desk drawers were thrown all over the floor.  Nothing of value seemed to be taken, Toni’s jewellery was where it should be, as were the TV and other electrical goods, everything apart from her computer.  His own p.c. was still on the desk in the study.  Whatever had happened, it did not look as though the intruder had been there to steal anything.  There was no sign of break-in, so he assumed that Toni had opened the door to whoever it was.  Had she been attacked in the hall-way and then struggled with her intruder though to the lounge, or had the initial attack taken place in the lounge and the blood in the hall-way was left there when Toni had gone for help?

He had no way of knowing, so pledged to speak to the police again in the morning.  He didn’t bother with trying to tidy up any of the mess, but concentrated on freshening up, so that he could get back to the hospital.  He shaved and showered, brushed his teeth with his own toothbrush and put on some clean clothes.  He plumped for jeans and sweatshirt, because he wanted to be comfortable if he was going to sit in a hospital chair for hours.  He grabbed a warm coat in case he found himself out in the cold again, and left the house.

 

He arrived back at the hospital and went looking for the others in the cafe.  Sure enough, Toni’s ex and Daniel were slouching round their table, He assumed Thomas was with Toni.  Having said polite ‘hellos’ he asked if there was any more news.  They both said ‘No’ at the same time, so he told them he was going up to the ward to check with the nurses.

This time, on arrival in the ward he went straight into Toni’s room.  Another P.C. was sitting in Hamilton’s chair, so he quickly introduced himself.  The only other occupant, apart from Toni, was Thomas, so a quick “Hi” was sufficient before he leaned closer to Toni to see how she was.  He could see no difference, so he checked with the substitute P.C. if Toni had managed to say anything, but the P.C  shook his head, looking at his pad.  There were times listed down the page, and he surmised that these were the frequent visits of the nurses, checking on the patient, or the visits of Daniel, Thomas and their dad.

He left the room and went looking for one of the nurses, pausing to clean his hands with the gel on his way out.  There were no nurses at the nurses’ station, so he went into the visitors room, and found two nurses (one senior, he assumed a staff nurse or sister, and the other a more junior nurse), sitting down eating cake.  They were very relaxed about his arrival, the junior nurse got up slowly and un-creased her uniform, putting her piece of cake down on a small white dish, that he assumed she’d borrowed from the medical supplies cupboard.  She apologised, saying they’d been left some cake by a grateful relative, and how could she help?

He asked if there was any more news about Toni, and the junior nurse quickly deferred to her senior colleague, who went through a similar ritual to the one performed by the first nurse.  She took only a few seconds to explain that there was no more news, Toni seemed to be stabilising, and they’d let him know if anything changed.

Relieved, he took a seat in a chair opposite the nurses. They were less comfortable in his presence, so as soon as they had finished their cake, they collected their dishes and went back out to the ward.  He studied the rather odd mix of formality and informality in the room.  A few comfortable chairs were interspersed with less comfortable, hard plastic chairs with metal legs.  Some pictures on the wall, a mix of modern art and copies of more traditional works shared the space with notices to patients and relatives explaining about hygiene and other rules for visitors.  A few books, magazines and some battered toys shared table space with hospital literature and various pamphlets about health.  Most prominent was the guide on giving up smoking, and the various ways that a smoker could get help.

The walls of the room were painted a fairly un-inspiring pale blue, but odd chunks of paint had been removed when various temporary notices had been pulled down, revealing a pale pink underneath.  He mused how this mirrors life, the young take over from the old, gradually replacing that which no longer fits in with their way of life, times change and everybody moves on.

 

Chapters

9

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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 357 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 368 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 380 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 384 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 386 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 395 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 398 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 400 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 409 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 430 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 451 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 455 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 491 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 492 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 496 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 513 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 514 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 514 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 528 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 532 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 730 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 730 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 732 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 736 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 736 days ago

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

georgia_summers wrote 746 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 747 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 750 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 755 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 756 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 760 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 762 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 762 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 764 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 764 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 765 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 765 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 765 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 765 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 765 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 765 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 769 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 772 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 773 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 774 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