Gomford is one of the longer short stories in my book Flight of Destiny. Gomford is an ugly businessman, who arrives in a secluded village, with a beautiful young girl on his arm. This immediately causes the village to go into a hive of gossip and speculation. The libidos of the men in the village are sent into overdrive, each desiring the young girl. When Gomford leaves for one of his regular business trips, the men try to take advantage of his absence and try to seduce the young girl, who is surprisingly willing, but at the same time far from being amorous. She treats each with utter disdain, making each man feeling sexually inadequate, which causes the men to go into deep depression. It is like the village is under the spell of this young beautiful woman, which grabs the attention of a Reverend Salmon, who sets about to address this situation. When he tries to perform a ritual on her doorstep, accompanied by the other villagers, he falls foul to the young girl’s brusque tones and is made to look a fool. Despite being set in modern times, the Reverend Salmon, chooses to use a method, long confined to the history books, namely dunking the young girl in the local river. The girl is abducted by the Reverend and a vigilante group.
Gomford is a story about somebody who is deeply wronged. Like in many of my stories, Gomford in the end gets his revenge.
Gomford returned to the village with more than his customary ragged suitcase. Clutched firmly in-hand was the vision of an angel who went by the name of Clarissa Honeychild. A man with seemingly all the particularities of a businessman in his thirties, Gomford nonetheless cut an awkward figure. His face was perpetually bloated, and when he spoke, it was in sniffles and snorts. His eyes resembled those of a crocodile. His thick neck, likened by many to that of a tree trunk, gave him the illusion of massive strength, and left others feeling diminutive and anxious in his presence. Gomford, through no fault of his own, was shunned by his fellow villagers and ostracized by all.
Seemingly due to his looks, Gomford was condemned to a life of celibacy, and had shared his bed with only a handful of women, all of whom demanded pre-payment for services rendered. Some outright refused him, despite the fact that as a businessman he was extremely adept, over the years having amassed a considerable fortune, and always paid notoriously well for their services. The idea of this stumpyman smothering them, even for a sizable fee, filled most working girls with aversion. Even Glynnes Trout, the local prostitute responsible for introducing practically every male denizen to sex, an old pro inspired by abject greed and with a reputation of willingness to perform eve the most depraved of acts in any and all manner and with any and all manner of men, had disrespectfully declined Glomford, despite his waving at her a sizable wad of bank notes in each fist. The event, told, retold and by now highly embellished, became a favorite topic of social conversation in the local pub when conversation had run out.The fact that he had returned with a woman on his arm, and furthermore, a young woman of such incomparable beauty, sent the village into a frenzy of agitated speculation. When it was further revealed that he had married the woman, the whispering campaign hit an unprecedented high, drowning out every other possible topic.
Francis H Powell is a writer. His recently published book is Flight of Destiny, a book of 22 short stories.
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