Paul Knox thought he’d squeezed all the wild-style ways out of his system. After buckling down, he settled down. Knox believed the remainder of his life aligned. Whether this satisfied him was immaterial. He’d plateaued upon a point where certain expectations demanded fulfilling. By him.
But the good life threw Knox a curve. A big one so hard even Uncle Charlie would declare it a yakker. The kind that jolted Knox back to his previously unfettered manner of living. The nights and days when he personified Mister Party Room.
Properly Stirred, the 2013 episodic story compilation from Slow Boat Media, re-immerses a middle-aged Paul Knox into delightful pursuits. Responsible as he must be, Knox performs his duties in exemplary fashion. It’s where the professional sidetracks into the personal when he happily dispenses winks and adds leers.
The circumstances which caused Knox to revert suit these times. He’s been betrayed by someone who ought have known better. By someone his equal. Not just a contemporary, nor a peer, but his wife. Ah, ex-wife.
Knox saw Claire Muir as kindred. Together weren’t they projected to strengthen already strong bonds which should last into contentment? That’s what Knox thought. He presumed Claire shared his sentiment. And for a time, didn’t she?
Until Claire Knox proved her husband mistaken. They sundered for the least worthy reason around.
One might say the Knox affair holds up an ugly mirror to a societal ailment particular to this time. Inflated undeserved recompense which balloons prices that diminish true, many might add worthwhile, values.
Claire Muir and Paul Knox created their own union from families inhabiting affluent Gold Coast Connecticut. In Properly Stirred, their surnames aptly substitute those American establishment ones. For a time Knox and Claire represented the gentry well.
Nonetheless when does temptation ever discriminate between the acknowledged high and those perceived low?
Freed, or maybe discarded, Knox finds succor in a unique refuge. A Western Colorado resort allows him to recreate the pastimes of his low handicap, decent backhand, difficult slope youth. For money! His isn’t a job. It’s a chain of leisure activities. And women comprise plenty of his sideline diversion. Towards them Knox is especially obliging.
But is his deviation solace or just casual carnal congress? Does it matter?
Throughout the first two chronicles of Properly Stirred, Naiad in Plain Sight and Scenes from the Beach, Knox plays a randy knight errant to his lover Nacky Kirkwood and her lover Kathy Peck.
The trio has lammed to Spain in order to let Kathy reach her dilemma’s only possible solution. See, she’s in a modern woman entanglement that will likely discomfort not-quite-hip America. Nacky is by her side, such as she is, to offer comfort and support, such as they are. Knox? He’s the story’s essential third wheel.
The story that concludes Properly Stirred, Spanish Developments, serves as a broad homage to spontaneity and anonymity. This interlude’s single day into evening of plain ol’ zest dissolves under morning light.
A one-night stand, it begins effortlessly enough. They always do, no?
Knox spies a woman in Barcelona. Sylvia. Predisposed to her type, he tails her. Not in malicious stalker fashion, though. Sylvia interests him. Rather than slaver in fantasy, Knox coolly observes her. He appreciates her liveliness and lithe pixie form. Why? Because it’s something inexplicable, say, that thing resulting from appealing inquisitiveness. Call this succumbing to an uncommon impulse. Unfortunately for Knox, he’s conspicuous despite his attempts at stealth. Or she’s perceptive.
Okay. Sylvia’s aware.
Rather than be fearful, and ascertaining her “admirer” is harmless, Sylvia’s own curiosity rises to his. What results is their intense, brief connection.
Those are the qualities shared in each Properly Stirred chapter. These are explicit, brisk and bracing entertainments. This, readers, is writing for our time.
Available through Amazon Kindle.