Geli Voyante's Hot or Not

GELI VOYANTE’S HOT OR NOT
 
 
 

Elle Field

 

Geli Voyante’s Hot or Not
Copyright © Elle Field 2013

E-edition first published October 2013

 

All rights reserved.

 

No reproduction without permission.

 

The moral right of Elle Field to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author
’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people living or dead is entirely coincidental.

 

December 2007

 
Chapter One
 

Today is going to be another same old, same old day. I can feel it in my bones as I plonk myself down in my Todd chair, which immediately relieves my bones but does nothing to shake this feeling of repetition. Mitch Todd may be a fashion genius, but he’s not a miracle worker.

The chair, if you’re interested,
is the most succulent and soft, black leather chair your
derrière
will ever enjoy. So Hot, I wildly declared, when I tried it out in Harrods’ furniture department last week, much to the sales assistant’s disgust. This turned into quick delight when her colleague realised who I was... When the nation read last weekend’s column –
Not Hot
included snooty sales staff – I had a Todd chair waiting for me at the office on Monday, plus another one was sent to my home, both
on the house
. Mitch Todd’s PR team must read my column.

This happens a lot. And no, I’m not a clairvoyant.
That
would be my sister. I wish I was joking, but my parents really called her Claire and our surname is Voyante.
I know.
My mother thought Claire sounded pretty with the surname: forgivable. I suspect going through the rigours of labour can send a person a bit loopy – but my father? He should have known better, a sentiment still applicable to this day with
his
behaviour.

Claire can’t wait until marriage allows her to change this crime a
gainst an innocent babe-in-arms. Until then though she’ll pronounce “Claire” in the flattest English-tone she can muster up (hard with our embedded South African twang), then pronounce Voyante in an exaggerated Italian accent: “
Voy-on-tayyyyyy
” instead of “
Voy–ont
”.

S
he gets very vexed about these sorts of personal injustices, but she isn’t the only one to suffer. I was named Angelica, Angelica Dawn Voyante, to give you my full moniker, all because I looked like an angel at birth and was born at dawn. I kid you not. With parents like these and their naming skills, you must think that they too suffered... no. They have nice normal names: Rupert and Isabelle. Lucky them.

Everyone calls me
Geli though, as in “jelly”. Haven’t you read my column?
Geli Voyante’s Hot or Not
. Food nicknames are so Hot and will remain so as long as I keep this job. I am Britain’s answer to a non-violent dictator, except I dictate the things that really matter each and every day with my mini-column of the hottest news stories – deciding the topics to be discussed at the dinner table – and then via my Saturday column.

On Saturdays I control the more
serious
issues of fashion, style and, more importantly,
taste
, one limit I have to stick to, but I’m excellent at pushing boundaries because nasty bosses are so
Not Hot
. Seriously, I have that much influence. If I sneeze, everyone rushes in front of me to catch a cold if I declare colds are, errr, in fact, Hot.

You’d think with this level of power
, I’d be happy, but I’m not. Truth be told, I’m a little…
bored
. Even worse, I’m a little lonely, or more like a
lottle
lonely, as I like to say. It’s hard at the top – ask any dictator – and the worst bit? Keeping up the pretence. The spectacularness. Call it what you will, it’s exhausting. Who knew true boredom could be so draining? Who knew pretending could be such hard work? Now I know why actors take so many vacations.

I
t takes me about fifteen minutes a day to declare what’s Hot or Not for my mini-column. Two simple picks. It takes me longer to do my hair. I don’t even have to justify my choices to a superior, let alone the lovely British public. I just pick, and here’s how I do it (sorry for shattering the illusion). Basically, I cheat and read the BBC website (hurrah for instant news!) and that’s the basis of my declaration. Never mind that we might take a different angle to the Beeb at the paper, it’s still my source because have you read my newspaper? I need a dictionary on hand if I ever flick through it. My Hot Pick gets put at the top of the front page in red letters with the page number, the Not story at the bottom in blue.

Admittedly, m
y Saturday column is a little trickier, but it’s not exactly deconstructing
Prime Minister’s Question Time
. No, I’m merely commenting on fickleness and, before I know it, it seems a trend is set or a reputation broken with no need for scientific studies or opinion polls. To our readership, my word is final.

It’s quite
the position of responsibility and one I’m stuck with. I think I will always be known as the Hot or Not girl, defined by it for the rest of my career. Even my tombstone will read:
Angelica “Geli” Voyante, beloved trendsetter. Death? Not Hot.

Yet
, it doesn’t sound right. Why won’t anyone realise that there is more to me than this fickle persona I have inadvertently become?

 

‘All right, Geli?’ calls a voice over my pod wall.

‘Al
l right, Toblerone!’ Food nicknames.
Hot
. Hey, I practise what I preach.

And
, speaking of Hot, Toblerone – Theodore Bones – is the god in the pod next to mine, one equipped with a bog-standard, boring chair. He’s been eye-balling the Todd since it arrived, with those gorgeous brown beauties of his, but at a pricey £3,000, there’s no way he will get approval from Accounts, even if he is a genius. Eventually I’ll let him have it when a new “it” chair hits the market, but his longing will only turn to that new chair and the chair cycle will begin again. Or the desk cycle. Or whatever else it is. You’ve seen office catalogues; there’s a lot to envy in the dizzying world of office equipment.

Yet
, despite his envy, Theo doesn’t care for
Hot or Not
. He thinks the column is laughable – a guide for the sheeple in their world that lacks defined global leadership, which in turn drives the cult of terrorism, and environmental and digital politics. This further drives – nay
forces
– the sheeple into a celebrity and product-driven frenzy to ascertain their feelings of worth and security through vessels like me. Whatever that means.

Toblerone insists
that if the United Nations stood up to their charter, the world would be a much better place to live in and he might consider finding himself a wife and producing heirs. Of course, as Toblerone smugly pointed out to me, he is a man (and don’t I know it), and therefore this could happen in fifty years time and he’d still be OK to procure a wife and produce children.

No
, I have no idea what any of this means either. Theo does though and that’s why he’s the senior political columnist and I’m the “sheeple-driving vessel”. I’d like to be taxed more by my job, but not
that
much.

‘I told yo
u not to call me that, Geli.’

‘Sorry, Theo,’ I chime
, trying to breathe properly as he pops his head up over the pod divider we share.

He takes my gulp of breath as his cue to
share his column ideas. The first Theo sighting of the morning always sends me a little dizzy and breathless because he is a
Hottie
. Theodore “Toblerone” Bones is this half-Danish, half-English hunk of a man with the most impossibly unfair long eyelashes and the perfect chiselled cheekbones. Tall. Handsome. Clever.
Perfection.

I was thrilled when I first started here and was
introduced to my pod and pod partners; thrilled until I realised that Theo brings out the idiot in me, that is. My idiocy is
not
a sexy selling point to convince Theo that I am, in fact, the future Mrs Bones.

Oh, and pods? P
ods are just cubicles, but here they like to be creative with their naming because “words are our business” as we are reminded every staff meeting. It’s so stupid. The water coolers are called “oil barrels” because Theo declared water would become the new oil and the Gulf Wars would be replayed over the scarcity of water due to the inevitable Western decline in both the quantity and quality of the Earth’s sweat. His words, not mine. And no, I’m not quite sure what he meant either... What I do know however is that I couldn’t drink water for a week after the sweat remark.

Still, I did declare
that article as my Hot Pick of the day, much to Theo’s astonishment, and this declaration prompted him to give me a copy of the
United Nations Development Programme Report
. I haven’t read it – never will – but I’ve kept it because it’s a present from Theo and Theo is Hot regardless of the fact that I can only understand a quarter of the sentences that emerge from his mouth. Sentences like, “Make the tea” and “Your phone is ringing – hadn’t you better answer it?”

That brings me to
another rule we have here at
New News
– we don’t mention our competitors, even if the Chairman of the
Mirror
is caught with his trousers down and a bag full of something suspect. It’s just not British, and it’s just not
New News
. Theo says it is because we don’t want to shock our fluffy-minded readership who are currently wed to the Coca-Colaisation dictatorship (us), yet believe they live in a world of choice as they can also buy Pepsi (other papers). Theo thinks this is ironic because he wonders what will happen when they realise their lives are as flat as Coke becomes or, as he’s going to put it: “What happens when the bubbles burst?” It’s his latest column.

You may
notice that Theo likes to talk in very long sentences but you soon get used to picking out key words
if
you listen to him and don’t just let his melodious tones wash over you. He has the most marvellous lung capacity stemming from his diving days. I must remember to make diving Hot in my Saturday column.

I’ve often noticed
though, even if I don’t understand his columns, that Theo contradicts himself a lot. I have no idea what his actual views are because they change every week, but I live in hope that deep down he is as fickle as I am and thus, as Theo would say, we are in fact actually soul mates.

He
’s still droning on at me, but I sense he is wrapping up as his gesticulations are getting a little less frenzied. He finally finishes with a satisfied smirk. For the sake of my fantasies, I hope he doesn’t end things in the bedroom department in the same way.

‘Wow!’ I say, even though I’ve not heard one word. ‘So, that’s why the bubbles will burst! Well done
, Toblerone… errr, Theo.’

‘Thank you, thank you!’
he beams at me.

I’m surprised he didn’t bow – he’s done that before
– but it’s no wonder he thinks I am cleverer than I am with these listening pretences. He’s the one with the Ivy-League Masters in International Relations though; I have a 2:1 in English from Leeds.

‘So, what’s hot and not this week?’ he asks
.

His tone is polite,
but I know he doesn’t care. I can tell because he places no importance on the terms like I have to; his words lack the necessary capitalisation.

‘You’ll just have to rea
d on Saturday!’

I always
say this, but I know he’ll never read it, not unless the UN declare it… Well, whatever the UN could declare it to make it of interest to him. Besides, I’ve not decided yet.

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