From the age of ten Claire Bracegirdle faithfully kept secret diaries for each year up until 1982 - the year she met Jim Friteuse.
What follows is Claire's entry (complete with her own beautifully detailed original drawings) for Saturday 2 October 1982.
I was feeling so excited as I walked over to the cheese counter and saw the beautiful boy called Jim that I tripped over my own feet and fell flat on my face.
I knew his name was Jim because he had a name tag with the word Jim on it, although I didn’t know who he was. If I had known that I may have pissed my pants.
Holy crap, I thought to myself, what is that spectacularly handsome boy going to think of me now? But then I felt myself being lifted off the floor by a pair of strong hands.
According to Mr Gimli, when Jim had seen me fall he had vaulted over the cheese counter and pushed an elderly customer out of the way in order to rescue my dignity.
Oh my, I thought to myself, he’s like my knight in shining armour.
“Hello,” he said to me in his beautifully cultured Kiwi accent, “my name is Jim Friteuse.” Under his lime green apron (that had the words GIMLI’S STORE printed on it in white letters that started exactly one inch below the second row of stitching and one inch from the left of the top bit of the apron - I forget what that bit is called), Jim was wearing a navy blue T-shirt, blue Levi jeans, white socks and a pair of black sneakers.
I didn’t know what colour his underpants were at that time but for the purposes of anyone buying the film rights for this diary, I found out later that they were black and they were briefs, not boxers.
He extended his hand and I shook it, blinking rapidly in the strip lighting above my head. Oh my . . . he really was quite . . . wow! As I took his hand I was aware of the delicious smell of camembert and it sent me into a spasm of love, lighting my inner goddess up and making me blush. I’m pretty sure that my heavy breathing and constant sounds of "Phwoar" must have been quite audible.
He looked me straight in the eye, a ghost of a smile on his exquisitely sculptured mouth, and my subconscious implored me to say something – anything!
Damn, why couldn’t I say something in front of this Adonis.
Damn. Damn. Damn. Holy crap. Damn. Damn. Damn. Oh my. Damn. Damn. Damn.
I inhaled his faintly cheesy scent. He smelled of freshly sliced Edam and some expensive English cheddar. Oh my, it was intoxicatingly cheesy.
I inhaled deeply.
And then I realised who he was. I knew I had heard the name Friteuse before. This was the same Jim Friteuse that had won New Zealand’s Got Talent in 1977, the same year that I won my fifth Annual Wongawonga Dressage Competition with Trigger.
Sadly, Trigger is dead, replaced by Bullet.
A triple flashback would be good here, showing me looking really happy after winning the Dressage Competition and then a few years later with Trigger being carted off to the glue factory and me waving at him through tearful eyes and then me being given Bullet a day later and looking really happy again.
I looked at Jim through dreamy eyes. “Would you like to come to the local dance with me tonight?” he asked. I couldn’t believe it – the winner of the 1977 New Zealand’s Got Talent show was asking me out on a date!
“Yes!” I cooed, rather too quickly.
“You don’t have to make your mind up right now,” he announced.
“Yes!” I blurted again.
“I mean, you can let me know this arvo,” he drawled.
“Yes! Yes! Yes!” I screamed.
“Oh right,” he murmered, “but I will warn you that I do have a dark side.”
“What? Like Darth Vader?” I asked, having just seen the film Star Wars.
“No, not like Darth Vader,” snapped Jim. “Darker than that.”
I had already decided that I wanted Jim, that I desired him and that he could be as dark as he wanted when he was with me. He could be darker than all the dark things in Dark Town on Dark Island on the continent of Darkness on the planet Dark as far as I was concerned.
“See you tonight, then,” he chirped. Then he went back to serving his customers, except for the elderly customer he had pushed out of the way to get to me, who had apparently been taken away in an ambulance with severe head injuries and had died on the way to hospital.
Nobody said the course of true love was going to be painless.
Jim picked me up that night at 7pm and he looked gorgeous. He was dressed in a sharp pair of black trousers, a red and blue check lumberjack shirt and black sneakers with grey socks. He had even had a shave so he must have liked me.
The dance was held in the town hall, a big grey building, made of grey bricks, with a big brown door that, when opened, led into a huge hall painted in a kind of neutral colour that had a mirrorball hanging from the ceiling. The place was packed – there must have been upwards of twenty-five people in there, mostly men who were stood at the bar at the end of the hall talking about seal culling, bear baiting, cock fighting and other such things. The seven or so women were all sat on wicker chairs that were set against the left wall of the room.
Music was blaring from a band called The Sheep Worriers who were on the stage to the left of the bar. Jim took me by the hand and led me onto the dance floor. He was an expert dancer and there was I with my two left feet. But all I could think of was me with the winner of the 1977 New Zealand’s Got Talent competition. I was in heaven.
He was so good at dancing. He knew all the moves of the Charleston, the new dance craze that had come over to New Zealand from America and by the end of the night beads of perspiration were forming on his rather beautiful brow. I wanted to lick them off him, such was my desire.
As the night came to a close Jim whispered in my ear, “Do you want to come back to my place?”
My inner goddess cried YES! And I also said it.
“Alright then,” he breathed, “let’s go.”
It was a short walk back to his flat above the grocery store. “Before I let you come any further,” he mumbled as we paused at the door, “I must warn you again that I do have a dark side.”
Oh my, I thought, I can’t wait.
“I know,” I whimpered. “Let’s just go in anyway. I’m a big girl now”
Actually I wasn’t really that big, so when I said “I’m a big girl now” it was just a figure of speech. I didn't mean that I was big boned, which was my mother's way of saying someone was fat. I just meant that I could make my own decisions.
Jim unlocked the door and we went inside. I sat down on the blue two-seater couch. “Are you ready to see my dark side now?” he sibilated.
“Yes, I’m ready for anything,” I gasped.
“Good,” he murmered and then disappeared into the kitchen.
I could hear the fridge door opening and plates being taken out of cupboards. I thought I heard something metallic being taken out of a drawer. The anticipation was so sexy and my desire for him was growing by the second. I could feel my panties getting damp.
"Mind where you sit on that sofa," Jim called from the kitchen, "I spilled a glass of water on it earlier today and haven't had time to clear it up."
“Close your eyes, Claire,” I heard Jim call from the kitchen behind me. “Here I come!”
He walked out of the kitchen with two plates, upon which were, tastefully arranged, a number of biscuits and a wedge of Danish Blue cheese.
“Yes, that’s my guilty secret, my dark side Claire,” Jim moaned. “I like blue cheese. I know in New Zealand we're not ready for it yet, but I simply can’t help myself. I wouldn’t blame you if you left right now and never spoke to me again.”
“Oh, Jim,” I exclaimed, stroking his cheek. “I love blue cheese. I had some once when my parents took me to South Island for the day."
"Yes, they're so sophisticated on South Island," he remarked. "The last time I was there I actually found some Australian Bitey Cheese."
"Ooh, Jim," I panted, "you live so dangerously. I hope you didn't eat too much."
"Only the recommended amount."
"Good," I slavered," because I wouldn't want anything happening to you. I mean you're so . . . so . . . so . . . gorgeous!"
“You don’t mind, then?” Jim implored.
“No, silly, of course I don’t mind,” I sighed.
“Oh, Claire, I love you,” proclaimed Jim. “I want to be with you forever. Let’s get married and have lots of ungrateful children!”
|Claire practising her married signature so she can she can sign cheques|
“Oh yes,” I swooned. “But first, after we’ve eaten our cheese, let’s have lots of really dirty sex!”
“Yippee!” yelped Jim as he quickly scoffed his Danish Blue.
“And perhaps later you can blindfold me and handcuff me to the bed and have your wicked way with me,” I whispered in a kind of sexy, but not too erotic voice.
“I said I had a dark side,” declared Jim. “I didn’t say I was a pervert.”