At first glance of this post’s title, you may have thought we’ve lost our minds. However, we assure you that this post is completely intended! We haven’t lost our minds. That we know of.

We think you’ll agree that music and writing go together– if those things weren’t linked, you would be rifling through some list of MP3’s on the net for new tracks and Music Ninja wouldn’t be the success it is today. We feel that you appreciate our insight which is why we love to blend these two things together. With that being said, one of our contributors has done just that, only in the form of an entertaining piece of fiction.

You may have read pieces from A Servant here on TMN. Well, aside from writing for us and writing a personal blog, he also is a novelist. Today we’re bringing you a sample of his work
from his novella, Geoff and Katie’s Playlist. We feel like this was a good fit for TMN based on the nature of the book. This dual narrative story has a unique set up in that the chapters are titled with recognizable song titles. A Servant did this for a specific reason; he wanted to set the soundtrack for this story. So think of each song title as the mood for that particular chapter.

Geoff and Katie’s Playlist is an easy read, entertaining, and heavily entwined with the music world we all live in. We’re happy to feature the first two chapters here on the site, but if you’re really interested, A Servant has made this available for free download for the next five days. Happy reading!

Track 1: “Sympathy for the Devil” The Rolling Stones.

My name is Katie. At least for now. I’ve had many different names and I’m not very attached to any of them. I’ve noticed the people I’ve interacted with are very into their names, as the saying goes now. I’ve never entirely understood, but then again, they don’t live on for thousands of years like I do, do they? They can’t change forms to any living being they see, can they? I suppose it’s only natural that they be attached to their names, as their names differentiate their forms from others like them.

I suppose it’s also understandable that they develop such intense attachments to the opinions these names seem to hold. ‘I’m a Virgo, I am an extrovert, I am a business man, I am an artist.’ I don’t know what I am, but I do know I am hardly going to waste any energy defending such opinions.

That’s not to say that all labels don’t interest me. There are a few I am attached to: ‘I’m a mother. I’m a female.’ I’ve thought about becoming a mother many times. I’ve even tried many, many times to become pregnant. I’m embarrassed to say, in earlier times, I even tried as an animal—a wolf, a bear, a dolphin. It never worked. I don’t know why. I earned a bachelor’s degree in biology a few years ago. In school, I learned that there are certain species of animals that simply cannot mate, regardless of how close they are genetically. For example, a horse and a mule: they can mate all they like, but an offspring will never result. I reasoned that I might be similar which was a sad thought to entertain, but it certainly doesn’t mean I was going to stop trying. A girl’s got to have fun, after all.

In addition, although I don’t know exactly what I am, I do know that I am definitely female. I like that label, too. There’s a common misconception that women are the submissive ones. I can assure you this is due to a total lack of confidence in women and total ignorance of the source of true power in men. As a creature that has survived for thousands of years, I can tell you that being a female is by far the easiest way to do things.

Males entertain me immensely and the dynamic between men and women is one of things that I love most about being “a woman.” The behavior of men fascinates me, particularly the strong ones, but sometimes even the weak ones. The one I’m going to tell you about is a weak one. At least I thought he was weak at the time. It turned out I was devastatingly wrong about what “weak” was. You live and learn, I suppose, and sometimes it takes a long time to learn a particular lesson, even when you choose to be the most intelligent species on the planet. This one took me thousands of years. Yes, this man taught me all about the label of “lover.” I never really considered it until him.

I took this job as a data entry specialist at an insurance company in Denver a few months ago. I had been floating around America hoping to get some answers to my pregnancy situation. I figured a job in an insurance company might bring me some insight: any idiot can enter data so I didn’t need any special training and I’m not patient enough to become a medical doctor. I figured I might pick up a little medical information while I worked for this insurance company and perhaps some insight into why I couldn’t reproduce.
Since the moment I walked into that little office on 16th Street, he stared at me. Who could blame him? The shape I took is optimal for female human survival. I had platinum blonde hair, almost white, with dark brown eyes. I gave myself large breasts and long muscular legs. It’s a bit impractical, walking around in high heeled shoes shoving those ridiculous breasts in everyone’s face, but it does get you access to work much more easily than the alternative. It gets you noticed by men with power, then they give you good jobs and give you raises; they don’t really care about your performance. They don’t question your blatantly forged identification cards, your ripped off social security number, or any of the other things I’ve had to manufacture in modern times. Men are predictable and easy to manipulate.

I surmised that the poor man who stared at me since I came in would be so easy to manipulate it wouldn’t even be fun. Initially I dismissed him. Perhaps if I had known more, but I’m getting ahead of myself. In pure evolutionary terms, he didn’t seem a very good bet for survival. He struck me as very bright, though, and I found his leering almost endearing. Other women might have been annoyed. Other women haven’t made it with a grizzly bear, though. I have. There’s something to say about the powerful attraction nature has programmed into us. I don’t know why humans are so scared of it.

Anyway, I could smell the hormones coming out of him from the moment I set foot in the office. I learned that his name was Geoff. He appeared to me as very shy, very thin, very quiet, with just a hint of a witty sense of humor. He didn’t have much confidence. When I was introduced to him my first day of work, he could barely stammer out his name. He did have a fairly adorable British accent, though. I’ve always liked those kinds of people.

It occurred to me immediately that if he were a wolf—I’ve spent several decades with wolves, just for a break in the monotony—he would be, at best, a beta. Beta wolves are very loyal to the pack, but never lead. Filling in for the alpha whenever he is absent, they settle for whatever female doesn’t end up with the alpha, serve the pack, and eventually die. What’s not in books about wolves is that the beta, every once in a while, will develop these very intense attachments to members of the pack and they will fight to the death when any of those attachments are threatened. Kind of silly, really, but interesting nonetheless. I suppose I intuited that sense of selflessness in Geoff upon meeting him and that was the reason I ever gave him the time of day.

I remember the day when he came over to my desk. I have to admit I was toying with him that day. The poor man was infatuated with me and, well, who doesn’t like attention? It’s really more of the control I like that comes with that attention; playing with your prey is fun. Once you have them hypnotized, it’s pretty easy to have your way with them. All you have to do is reveal a thigh, unbutton a blouse, part your lips, close your eyes and give an exasperated, kind of sad sigh, and they will run across the room. I was feeling, well, slightly reptilian that day and Geoff couldn’t stop looking at me so I decided to play with him.

I started by pretending I didn’t notice him looking at me as I entered the silly numbers into the computer. Geoff had a more important job: an analyst of insurance claims. For long periods of time, he would read his computer screen, not look at me, and bite his lip. But then, when he thought I wasn’t looking, he would glance up at me. For a few hours I pretended not to notice. I sighed audibly, so he could just hear it from across the room. I rubbed my shoulder with my hand, as if asking him to come and massage me. I crossed and uncrossed my legs, as if I was dying for him to be between them. And once—oh, I would say once an hour—I would give him just the tiniest glance, making sure he saw me do it.

Sure enough, around lunch time, he came walking over to my desk. As he crossed the room, I could smell his fear. I never understood this. Why do men care so much if they are turned down? Surely there is another woman out there if the one they are pursuing tells them no, right? I think it has to do with those opinions they hold: about manhood, about sex, about companionship, about pride. They certainly do get all worked up about asking a lady out, though. It’s quite entertaining. It’s a wonder the human species keeps reproducing at the rate it does. I’ve noticed alcohol helps.

“Um…hi,” he said finally, after standing nearly twenty seconds at my desk waiting for me to look up from my screen. I let him.

“Hello, Mr. Peregrine.”

“Oh, please. Don’t call me that, just call me Geoff. Never mind that I’m higher on the ladder than you, I hate to be called anything that reminds me of my father.” Sadly predictable. He might have scored some points if he had thought of some other way to show his status without stating it outright. This comment just made him feel awkward. But I had to hand it to him, he kept trying. His hands were trembling a little and his voice quaked. Adorable.

“Ok, Geoff. How can I help you?”

“You can’t, unfortunately. Well, perhaps you can. I was just wondering if you were doing anything for lunch. I’ve been terribly rude, I’m afraid. You’ve been working here for weeks and I haven’t bothered to introduce myself properly. I figured we could have a bite and get acquainted.” This wasn’t bad. His British accent was endearing and his nervous shuffling reminded me of bear cubs. Still, it wasn’t enough and I was going to make him suffer.

“Oh, I don’t think I can do that, Geoff. You see, I think it would be bad, me being brand new and all, if I were seen eating lunch with a superior. The other girls might gossip.” I smiled at him broadly.

“Yes, hadn’t thought of that,” Geoff stammered. “Well, you see, I’m not really a superior. It’s not like you report to me or anything. And it’s really a kind of arbitrary ladder anyway, isn’t it? Like I said earlier, I’m not really into the status thing.”

“But you did mention it a minute ago.”

“Right,” he smiled nervously. God, I was such a bitch. “I wanted to make you feel comfortable. You know, like I wasn’t your boss or anything.”

“You’re not.”

“Right then. Um. Some other time, perhaps?”


“Um. Good. Good day, then,” he said and started walking away. I was a little disappointed. He really didn’t even put up a fight. An alpha male would have laughed and asked to ‘start over.’ He was slinking away like an omega. The punching bag of the pack. But then he tried again, turning around halfway on the way to his desk. I beamed at him. “Look, I’m not very good at these kinds of things…”

“And what kinds of things are these, Geoff?”

“You know, social interactions.”

“I disagree. I hear you talking to people on the phone and I see you speaking with your coworkers around the office. You seem very good at social interactions.”

“Right. This is a little different. You’re very beautiful is all, and I would like it very much if I could get to know you. If you’re not doing anything, some of the chaps from the office are getting a drink after work. Would you like to join us?” He was very school-boyish as he said this. I’m terrible I know, but I just had to torture him further. There’s something about watching something in agony that makes you want to inflict further damage. Like pulling the wings off a fly. That’s a very human thing; animals aren’t that cruel.

“So you’re saying the only reason you want me to have drinks with your coworkers is because you find me attractive?” I said.

“Of course not. I was merely trying to be friendly is all. Look, forget it. I’m very sorry to bother you.” Geoff said, and went off to the break room. I was almost sad for him. About a half hour later his friend, Rick, came up to me and tried the same bit. Rick was much more of an alpha than Geoff. I liked alphas, and ended up accepting that invitation for a drink. Diabolical, aren’t I?

Track 2: “Loser,” Beck.

What a bloody nightmare. The first time we actually talked, I mean. I was so nervous. You don’t understand, you can’t understand, just how stunning she was. I’m terribly sorry if this change in narration is confusing you, but I couldn’t let her tell the entire story. Not without my two cents worth. You see, I’m in love with her. I was in love with her from the very moment I saw her. I’ve always been a romantic; I’m just not terribly good at romance. I had been in love before, at least I thought I had been, until I met her. Katie. Stupid name really, but I suppose it works. It did work. From the day she set foot in that office, I was smitten.

I know, I know. Love at first sight, bollocks of course. You can’t fall in love with a person you’ve just hardly met. It takes time, it takes courtship. It takes forever for most people to actually admit they are vulnerable to that horrific emotion. I’ve heard it all, and I’ve read it all. A decade of reading women’s magazines had given me what I thought was good insight into the female psyche. Yet there I was, shaking her hand, Katie, and falling for her. Fuck all, who would have thought I’d fall for a Katie? But she’s not a Katie, is she?

The day I finally walked over to her desk, the day I stopped looking and decided to talk, was probably the worst day of my life. As I stated before, I’m terribly inept at romance. Pathetic you might say. I embody the phrase ‘getting lucky,’ otherwise, I might never know what a woman looked liked in dim lighting, you know. I suppose my accent has carried me this far, which is good. I have nothing else going for me, besides this tremendously passionate and silly disposition towards love. Decidedly un-British. I’m a quarter Spanish; it must come from there.

I remember gearing up for it when I first decided to make my move. I talked with my friend, Rick; at least he was someone I thought was a friend. It amazes me now how much I listened to others and how little I listened to my own intuition. A lack of self esteem will do that to you. You’ll trust the words of dolts over your own better judgment because you think your own better judgment has led you astray. In the area of romance, it’s never your better judgment that leads you astray, but rather your inability to properly execute the actions dictated by your better judgment. Things always work well in your head, and if you’re anything like me, ghastly in actuality. Perhaps there’s some human vanity in that equation. I don’t know.

I do know that I was a shite’s side of panic stricken in the break room with Rick before I made my first and disastrous move across the office. I was drinking tea; I never could get into the Starbucks. Rick was there with me trying to pump me up. Rick’s an idiot.

“Ok, dude. You gotta do it today. If you don’t do it today, I’m going to move in,” he said, without the slightest thought towards my feelings on the subject. Rick got more skin than Motel 6 bed sheets and was probably just as dirty. Women practically started throwing their underwear at him the moment he entered a room. He was tall, well built, and had an exaggerated sense of self worth. If this weren’t enough, he was a bloody fireman before he got into the insurance business. Sales of course. That winning personality made him as successful with clients as it did with women. Of course, the hero status of firemen in the States only helped him. He worked it whenever he could.

“Right, right. I’m going to do it today. Crash and burn if I must, but I’ll do it. I can’t have you beating me to the punch, can I?” I tried my best to sound jovial and competitive. It didn’t fool Rick for a moment.
“Crash and burn. Listen to you, man! You’re going to fucking blow it before you even talk to her. You’ve got to pounce, buddy. You’ve got to have the frame of mind that you’re going to fuck her brains out tonight before you even walk across the room or you’re spanking it to Internet porn for six months. And we both know you do plenty of that.”

“Oh, fuck off! Just because I’m British doesn’t mean I’m some sort of pervert. We don’t all enjoy being spanked by cricket bats, no matter what you saw on Arrested Development.” He laughed at this.

“You see? Come into the conversation with that sense of humor and you’re golden. Use that accent buddy. Chicks dig it. And most of all pretend like you don’t give a shit.”

“I can’t help but use the accent. It’s how I talk. But I do give a shit. A big shit. A bloody Texas sized shit.”

“Again, that’s your problem. If she doesn’t bite, some other bitch will.”

“Bitch? I’m sorry, Mr. P-Diddy? Have you seen Rick? My white friend that was raised in American suburbia on Chili’s and Bennigan’s? The chap that voted for George W. Bush both times? Could you tell him I would like to talk to him?”

“Sorry, sorry. Woman. Some other woman will go for you if she doesn’t, so what’s the big fuckin deal? So she shoots you down. Who cares? I’ll rail her brains out a couple of times and tell you all about it. Maybe even video tape it, if she’s down.” He winked at me. He does that. It’s creepy.

“That’s kind of you. Thanks. I think I’ll vomit now, if you’ll excuse me. Something about imagining the most breathtaking creature I’ve ever seen being ridden by the likes of you, panting and calling you ‘Big Daddy Rick,’ just inspires nausea.”

“Well that’s exactly what’s going to happen if you don’t man up and get yourself some. Fuck man, what has it been, like two years?”

“Piss off.”

“Still a sensitive subject. Sorry buddy. It was Jess’ loss,” he said. I didn’t even want to hear her name. It still stung to think that she was screwing half the city of Denver while I was contemplating an engagement ring. She was even screwing Rick. I know I should have been mad at him, punched him in the face even, but he was the closest thing I had to a real friend. He had been drunk, of course, and we had nearly broken up. He told me immediately and was very remorseful, even tried to get me laid a few times after. Water under the bridge, I guess. “Go get her. I’ll tell you what, I won’t even fucking go for her. There. That make you happy?” He was serious. He was lying of course, but he seemed sincere in that moment.

“Thanks, Rick. I appreciate that. Really. You come on the scene and I’m done for.”

“Don’t sweat it,” he said, flashing his surfer-boy smile. “There’s lots of action out there for me.”

After that, I took a deep breath and well, you know the rest. I’m sure she told you already. I was furious when I saw Rick cross the room, but I knew he couldn’t resist. I guess it’s my own damn fault for not being more selective about my friends. Really, it was my own damn fault for not having much of a spine.

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