A Laid-Back Person

Have you ever heard this word before? Does it mean a lazy person? or someone who doesn’t really care about anything?

That’s not what it actually means.

A laid-back person is someone who doesn’t get upset about things very easily. He seems very calm and relaxed all the time.

In simple words, A person who doesn’t let the pressure get to him. Nothing really worries him.

For example, My physics teacher has a laid-back approach to everything. 🙂

You may have heard people saying that they enjoy being in the company of those who are laid-back.

What they actually mean is when they’re in their company, they begin to relax.

The term ‘laid-back’ can also be used with things. For example, compared to Mumbai, Pune is a very laid-back city.

Ramu says that the company that he’s working for now is pretty laid-back. They don’t have a dress code or anything. The only thing they care about is meeting deadlines.


Homeric Laughter ?

People laugh differently. Some laugh silently, while others tend to guffaw.

‘Homer’ is a Greek poet who is believed to have written the Iliad and the Odyssey, and not the leading character in the well-known television show, ‘The Simpsons’.

‘Homeric laughter’ refers to laughter of the ROFL (Rolling on Floor, Laughing). The individual laughs loudly and at times uncontrollably; it is usually prolonged, and the entire body shakes during the process.

We may call it a belly shaking laughter or a homeric laughter because this is how the gods laughed in Homer’s classics. When you think about it, this is how the crazy Homer Simpson laughs as well! See below how it looks-

Image result for homeric laughter gif

What is the difference between ‘intolerable’ and ‘intolerant’?

When you say that the situation that you are in has become ‘intolerable’, what you are suggesting is that it has become unbearable; you find it extremely difficult to deal with. The word can be used with both people and things.

For example, when you say that the movie was intolerably boring, what you are suggesting is that you could not sit through it.

The word ‘intolerant’, on the other hand, is mostly used with people, and it is always used to show disapproval. Someone who is intolerant is very narrow minded; he is not very accepting. He is not willing to consider ideas or beliefs of others that are different from his own; he expects everyone to be like him. One is usually ‘intolerant of’ someone or something.

My grandmother is very intolerant of girls who wear jeans and t-shirt.

You’re our party leader. How can you be so intolerant of other people’s beliefs?

The constant criticism from his boss made Ravi’s life at work intolerable.

The pain from the wound was becoming intolerable.


A Portmanteau : ‘Pixel’ and ‘Modem’

Have you ever heard the word PORTMANTEAU. Well, it is a word made by combining two different words and their meanings.

Now answer me what two words make up ‘ Pixel’, which is ‘a minute area of illumination on a display screen?’ and what two words make up ‘ Modem’, which is ‘an electronic device that makes possible the transmission of data between the digital data of a computer and the analogue signal of a telephone line?’

Let me tell you, the word ‘Pixel’ is made by combining two different words Picture(Pix) and Element while ‘Modem’ is a combination of Modulation + Demodulation.


Learn a new word today; Slipshod

Have you ever heard this word before?

Well, When you say that a piece of work is SLIPSHOD, what you’re suggesting is that it is not a well thought out or executed work and is crude and full of mistakes.


Let’s take an example, His boss fired him when he gave a slipshod presentation.

I thought the construction work was pretty slipshod.

When there is no electricity, we use the word ‘blackout’. Is there a word to describe a situation when the voltage is low?

Low voltage is a common problem in India — especially during the summer months. When this happens, the tube lights keep flickering, and some of the other bulbs burn rather dimly. The Americans have a term for this dip in voltage — they call it ‘brownout’.

Arun never uses any of his electrical appliances during a brownout.

We always experience brownouts in the early morning.

Mind Boggling English, “Start From Scratch”

How is the word ‘dotard’ pronounced? 

When Kim Jong-Un took a jab at Donald Trump by calling him a ‘dotard’, people made a beeline for the dictionary. For several hours, it was the most referred to word in most online dictionaries. The first syllable ‘dot’ rhymes with ‘boat’, ‘coat’ and ‘goat’, and the final ‘ar’ is like the ‘a’ in ‘china’. The word is pronounced ‘DOAT-ed’ with the stress on the first syllable. It comes from the German ‘doten’ meaning ‘to be foolish’. The word is used nowadays to mean an old person who has become feeble — both physically and mentally.

It’s time to replace the dotards that have been running the company.


Use Them Correctly: “Pin drop silence” , “washed-up ” , “Feedback” and “Laughing all the way to the bank”

“The writer has nice things to say about your company’s cultural programme.”

“That’s to be expected, I guess. He was our former employee.”

“Really? He says there was pin drop silence when the CEO’s wife sang. Is that true?”

“Of course, not! People were chatting away. By the way, the expression ‘pin drop silence’ is an Indianism. Native speakers of English don’t use it.”

“Really? What do they say?”

“They normally say, ‘hear a pin drop’. Everyone was so stunned by the announcement, you could have heard a pin drop.”

“In other words, there was absolute silence. The funeral home was so quiet that you could have heard a pin drop. It was pretty scary, actually.”

“Some use ‘fall’ instead of ‘drop’. When Tejah asked Divya to marry him, she didn’t say anything for a few seconds. The silence was deafening — one could have heard a pin fall.”

“The poor chap must have started sweating. According to this article, several washed-up politicians were present at the function. What does ‘washed up’ mean?”

“When you refer to someone as being ‘washed up’, what you’re suggesting is that the person is no longer as successful as he once was. He has no chance of…”

“The person has no chance of becoming great again. Is that what you’re saying?”

“That’s right! For example, around this time last year, many sports writers were saying that both Federer and Nadal were washed up.”

“How wrong they were! That’s the problem being a sportsperson, I guess. You’re all washed up by the time you’re 30 or 40.”

“It happens to actors as well. Directors don’t cast women who are in their 30s in lead roles because they believe they’re washed up.”

“Our news channels provide opportunities to washed-up politicians to air their views.”

“The feedbacks that they give to the reporters…”

Feedback and not feedbacks.”


“The plural of ‘feedback’ is ‘feedback’ and not ‘feedbacks’. The feedback that we got from the students and the parents was positive.”

“Vinitha got immediate feedback on her dissertation from her supervisor.”

“Get feedback from your customers before you start trying to improve your product.”

“That’s what one of our rival companies did last year, and now they’re laughing all the way to the bank.

“Laughing all the way to the bank? Why would they do that?”

“The expression is mostly limited to informal contexts. When you say that someone is laughing all the way to the bank, you mean that the person is making lots of money.”

“Is it because the person did something smart?”

“Not necessarily. It could be because of some other person’s stupidity. Nobody wanted to publish my father’s novel. Finally, my cousin decided to do it himself. Now, he’s laughing all the way to the bank.”

“How about this example? If we don’t have a tie-up with this company, someone else will. And they will be laughing all the way to the bank.”

“Sounds good.”

* * * * *

Ready “To Eat Crow”

Scholars believe that the expression is based on a true incident. A British officer captured an American hunter who had just shot a crow. In order to humiliate him, the Englishman ordered the American to eat a small portion of the bird. The officer then returned the gun and the bird to the hunter and told him to be on his way. The American humiliated the officer by turning the gun on him and making him eat the rest of the crow.

This American expression is mostly used in informal contexts to mean ‘to be humiliated’. When you are made to eat crow, you are forced to admit that you are in the wrong, and are compelled to take back the comments you had made. It has the same meaning as ‘to eat humble pie’.

The experts were made to eat crow when the home team lost on the third day.

Ranjit knows that if his plan fails, he will be made to eat crow.


People who have read the comic books or watched the movies featuring the exploits of Superman know that he was born on Krypton. When the planet exploded, kryptonite or the radioactive material from it, was hurled into space. Superman’s enemies discovered that kryptonite was the only thing that could be used to either hurt or kill him.

In everyday contexts, the word ‘kryptonite’ is used to refer to someone’s weakness or something that can be used to hurt someone who is strong. It has more or less the same meaning as ‘Achilles heel’.

Many tennis buffs believe that Nadal is Federer’s kryptonite.

When I was in school, Hindi was my kryptonite.

She is my kryptonite.

What is the difference between might and may?

May and might have the same meaning when used as a modal (or helping verb.)   Examples:  She may go shopping.  She might go shopping.  The only difference is may is slightly more formal to some people.  Many people use might more often in speaking and may more often in writing.  But they can change depending on the person and their mood.

Remember, though, may is also used to asked for permission.  Example:  May I use the telephone?  It is very rare to use might to ask for permission.

What is a FRENCH LEAVE ? Is it same as ENGLISH LEAVE ?

“You look extremely tired and grumpy. Why don’t you take a few days off?”

“No chance! My boss won’t grant me leave even if I ask for it. She’s upset because two people on her team have taken French leave. They’ve been…”

“French leave? Really? Have they gone to France on holiday? Why didn’t you…”

“That’s not what the expression means. When a person goes on ‘French leave’, he takes off without permission. He just…”

“He just doesn’t show up for work. He doesn’t have anyone’s okay to be on leave either.”

“That’s right! The Principal became extremely angry when he learnt that the students took French leave to see the one-day match.”

“Good example. If your boss is giving you a hard time, take French leave and go see your parents.”

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it. I’ve never taken French leave. I’ve always…”

“There’s always the first time. Tell me, why is it called French leave? What is the ….”

“The English, as you probably know, hated the French. So whenever they got a chance, they made fun of their neighbours.

They thought that the French were rude; that they were people without manners.

The English believed that when a Frenchman was invited to dinner, he always left without thanking the host. They called this ‘French leave’.”

“That’s shocking. But is it true that Frenchmen really did that? Did they…”

“Who knows? But what’s interesting is that what the English call ‘French leave’, the French call ‘English leave’! “The two just couldn’t stand each other, I guess. Why do you think your two group members decided to take French leave?”

Throw You Under the Bus

This is an expression frequently used in American English in informal contexts. When you throw your friend under the bus, you betray him; in order to save yourself from the trouble you are in, you sacrifice him.

Be careful. Rajiv will throw you under the bus when you stop being useful to him.

The media have accused President Trump of throwing several of his top advisers under the bus.

Which Is The Correct Plural Spelling?

Referenda & Referendums



Definition: a public vote on a particular issue

Latin has given English a sizable portion of its vocabulary, and one of the reasons that so many of our words are descended from that language is that they have entered our tongue at a number of distinct points. Some, such as butter, date back to the Roman invasion of Britain. Others came to us in the middle ages, from the Norman Conquest. Others still did not arrive until the 19th century, often as part of an expanding scientific vocabulary. Referendum is one of those late arrivals, initially used to describe a vote on the Swiss constitution at that time. Both referendums and referenda are correct.



Definition: a summary outline of a discourse, treatise, or course of study or of examination requirements

Syllabus comes to English from the Latin sillybus, which actually has nothing to do with buses or silliness (sillybus refers to a label for a book). Both forms of the plural are acceptable, although people might look askance at you if you use syllabi.

Gymnasiums & Gymnasia


Definition: a large room used for various indoor sports (such as basketball or boxing) and usually equipped with gymnastic apparatus

Very few people use gymnasia as the plural of gymnasium anymore, but it can come in handy if you want to confuse people. And if you desire still more obscure information about this word, know that it can be traced to a Greek word meaning “to exercise naked” (gymnazein). The naked aspect of this word’s history has been largely set aside in English, although Nathan Bailey, in his 1727 Universal Etymological English Dictionary, defined the word gymnologize as “to dispute naked, or like an Indian Philosopher.”

Miasmas & Miasmata & Miasms


Definition: a vaporous exhalation formerly believed to cause disease

Most words have a single plural form, while others feel the need to have two. Others are more gluttonous still (such as octopus, the plural of which may be octopi, octopuses, or octopodes), and require three different ways of pluralizing. Miasma is one of those triplets. So if you have more than one of these vaporous exhalations (and we hope you never do), they may be described as miasmas, miasmata, or miasms.

Terminuses & Termini


Definition: either end of a transportation line or travel route

Given that the above two words are obscure variant plurals of a somewhat obscure singular form (terminus), it is quite unlikely that you will have need of distinguishing between them. But seeing as how the joy of unexpected knowledge is not regulated by need, we have included them anyway. You may use either terminuses or termini (but not terminusses) with ferocious and joyful impunity.

Memorandums & Memoranda


Definition: an informal record: also, a written reminder

Many usage guides have taken pains to warn their readers of a potential problem with the plural of memorandum. This is not whether or not to use memorandums or memoranda (either is fine), but rather to avoid using memorandas. Some words with similar Latinate endings in English will allow an a ending to take an s (such as agendas), but memorandas is not among

Virtuosos & Virtuosi


Definition: one who excels in the technique of an art

Both virtuosos and virtuosi may be found as the plural form of virtuouso, although the former is more common than the latter. Virtuosi is also viewed by a number of usage guides as being overly pedantic, and many will recommend virtuosos instead. So if your desideratum (which is only pluralized as desiderata) is to use the sort of words that usage guides think of as overly pedantic, well, then virtuosi is the word for you.

Appendices & Appendixes


Definition: supplementary material usually attached at the end of a piece of writing

Some people are of the opinion that when giving the plural of appendix one form is appropriate for certain contexts and not for others (stating, for instance, that appendices should be when referring to texts, and appendixes for non-textual things). We have a considerable body of written evidence indicating that these plurals are used interchangeably, so decide which one you are more comfortable with, and use it at will.


These English idioms are used quite regularly in all over the world. You may not hear them every day, but they will be very familiar to any native English speaker. You can be confident using any of them when the context is appropriate.

Idiom Meaning Usage
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush What you have is worth more than what you might have later by itself
A penny for your thoughts Tell me what you’re thinking by itself
A penny saved is a penny earned Money you save today you can spend later by itself
A perfect storm the worst possible situation as part of a sentence
A picture is worth 1000 words Better to show than tell by itself
Actions speak louder than words Believe what people do and not what they say by itself
Add insult to injury To make a bad situation worse as part of a sentence
Barking up the wrong tree To be mistaken, to be looking for solutions in the wrong place as part of a sentence
Birds of a feather flock together People who are alike are often friends (usually used negatively) by itself
Bite off more than you can chew Take on a project that you cannot finish as part of a sentence
Break the ice Make people feel more comfortable as part of a sentence
By the skin of your teeth Just barely as part of a sentence
Comparing apples to oranges Comparing two things that cannot be compared as part of a sentence
Costs an arm and a leg Very expensive as part of a sentence
Do something at the drop of a hat Do something without having planned beforehand as part of a sentence
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you Treat people fairly. Also known as “The Golden Rule” by itself
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch Don’t count on something good happening until it’s happened. by itself
Don’t cry over spilt milk There’s no reason to complain about something that can’t be fixed by itself
Don’t give up your day job You’re not very good at this by itself
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket What you’re doing is too risky by itself
Every cloud has a silver lining Good things come after bad things by itself
Get a taste of your own medicine Get treated the way you’ve been treating others (negative) as part of a sentence
Give someone the cold shoulder Ignore someone as part of a sentence
Go on a wild goose chase To do something pointless as part of a sentence
Good things come to those who wait Be patient by itself
He has bigger fish to fry He has bigger things to take care of than what we are talking about now by itself
He’s a chip off the old block The son is like the father by itself
Hit the nail on the head Get something exactly right by itself
Ignorance is bliss You’re better off not knowing by itself
It ain’t over till the fat lady sings This isn’t over yet by itself
It takes one to know one You’re just as bad as I am by itself
It’s a piece of cake It’s easy by itself
It’s raining cats and dogs It’s raining hard by itself
Kill two birds with one stone Get two things done with a single action by itself
Let the cat out of the bag Give away a secret as part of a sentence
Live and learn I made a mistake by itself
Look before you leap Take only calculated risks by itself
On thin ice On probation. If you make another mistake, there will be trouble. as part of a sentence
Once in a blue moon Rarely as part of a sentence
Play devil’s advocate To argue the opposite, just for the sake of argument as part of a sentence
Put something on ice Put a projet on hold as part of a sentence
Rain on someone’s parade To spoil something as part of a sentence
Saving for a rainy day Saving money for later as part of a sentence
Slow and steady wins the race Reliability is more important than speed by itself
Spill the beans Give away a secret as part of a sentence
Take a rain check Postpone a plan as part of a sentence
Take it with a grain of salt Don’t take it too seriously as part of a sentence
The ball is in your court It’s your decision by itself
The best thing since sliced bread A really good invention as part of a sentence
The devil is in the details It looks good from a distance, but when you look closer, there are problems by itself
The early bird gets the worm The first people who arrive will get the best stuff by itself
The elephant in the room The big issue, the problem people are avoiding as part of a sentence
The whole nine yards Everything, all the way. as part of a sentence
There are other fish in the sea It’s ok to miss this opportunity. Others will arise. by itself
There’s a method to his madness He seems crazy but actually he’s clever by itself
There’s no such thing as a free lunch Nothing is entirely free by itself
Throw caution to the wind Take a risk as part of a sentence
You can’t have your cake and eat it too You can’t have everything by itself
You can’t judge a book by its cover This person or thing may look bad, but it’s good inside by itself

Know Your English (Education Plus- Edge)

If you are a student, can you use the word ‘colleague’ to refer to a fellow student?

First, let us deal with the pronunciation of this word. The vowel in the first syllable sounds like the ‘o’ in ‘hot’, ‘pot’ and ‘got’, and the second syllable is pronounced like the word ‘league’. The word is pronounced ‘KO-liig’ with the stress on the first syllable. Many Indians tend to pronounce the ‘o’ like the ‘a’ in ‘china’ and put the stress on the second syllable. ‘Colleague’ comes from the Latin ‘collega’ meaning ‘partner in office’. Native speakers of English use this word to refer to a co-worker; someone who works with you in an office. If you are in school/college, you refer to your fellow student as your classmate and not your ‘colleague’.

Bhanu informed her colleagues that she had handed in her resignation.

I met one of Kunthala’s colleagues at the conference.

What is the meaning of ‘nip and tuck’?

The expression ‘nip and tuck’ is mostly limited to American English; it has more or less the same meaning as ‘neck and neck’. When you say that a game is nip and tuck, what you are suggesting is that the two teams are evenly matched. It will therefore be difficult to predict which team will win; the game is too close to call.

I can’t say which political party will win. It’s nip and tuck right now.

It was nip and tuck till the fifteenth over. After that, Maxwell exploded.

The expression ‘nip and tuck’ is frequently used to refer to plastic or cosmetic surgery.

Look at the lines on my forehead. Do you think I need a little nip and tuck?

What is the difference between ‘regret’ and ‘apology’?

Politicians seldom apologise for the wrongs they do. Some of our chappal/sandal wielding leaders, choose not to apologise even after they have beaten someone black and blue. When you ‘apologise’ for something you have done, you admit publicly that you are at fault.

You acknowledge that you are the person who is to blame. Like politicians, companies seldom apologise; if they do, it becomes easier for people to take them to court. When you ‘regret something’ you did, you feel bad or sorry about what happened — you wish that it hadn’t happened. It is, however, not an apology. You are not saying that you are to blame.

Pakistan refuses to apologise for the killing of civilians. It merely regrets the incident.

I deeply regret the statement I made. I’m certainly not going to apologise for it.

Is it okay to say ‘plan ahead’?

We hear it all the time, don’t we? Our parents keep telling us that if we want to succeed in life, we must plan ahead. In terms of grammar there is nothing wrong with the expression.

Some careful users of the language, however, argue that the word ‘ahead’ is redundant — ‘plan’ will do. One always plans for the future. We always ‘plan ahead’; no one ever ‘plans behind’!


If you think your boss is stupid, remember you wouldn’t have a job if he was any smarter. — John Gotti

How to Use Since, Before, and Ago

This post contains tons of examples of how to use since, before, and ago.  By the time you finish reading this, you’ll be a pro at using them!

These are just three of the 10 or so commonly-used prepositions for time. Future posts will cover additional prepositions of time.

I would suggest that you try memorizing these in context or as “chunks.”  Don’t try to just memorize the rules of when to use them; memorize entire phrases like “since I started learning English” or “I met my wife 6 years ago.” Doing this helps you remember these words more automatically.


Use “since” to talk about a period of time from “then to now.” It is used to talk about things that are still happening, ongoing, or could happen again.  Do not use “since” to talk about a quantity of time (two months, five years, a decade, etc.).

  • I have loved ballet since I was a little girl.  Since I was a little girl, I’ve loved ballet.
  • You have been my best friend since first grade. 
  • Since starting classes, his English has improved significantly.  His English has improved significantly since starting classes. 
  • Since we got married, we’ve moved three times.  We’ve moved three times since we got married. 


Use “before” when discussing something that occurs earlier than something else.

  • Before I go to work, I eat breakfast.  I eat breakfast before I go to work. 
  • We wash our hands before we eat dinner.  Before we eat dinner, we wash our hands.
  • Before I met you, I was lonely.  I was lonely before I met you. 
  • They like to watch TV at night before they go to bed. Before they go to bed, they like to watch TV.


Use “ago” when talking about something that happened in a certain time in the past.

  • I met you eight years ago when we were in college. 
  • Her daughter was born 3 months ago. 
  • They finished the race an hour ago.  
  • Two years ago, I was unhealthy and out of shape.  Now I eat well an exercise and am healthier than ever!


During exams you are permitted to look down for inspiration and up in exasperation, but you are not permitted to look side to side for information.

“What are you doing here? I thought you would be cramming for tomorrow’s exam.”

“Cramming? Does it mean the same as studying?”

“When you ‘cram for’ a test, you study hard for it. You try to learn as much as possible in a short period. You start studying just before the test or exam.”

“I goof around most of the semester. I usually spend a fortnight cramming for the exams. How does that sound?”

“Sounds good! When I was a student, I used to switch off my cell phone whenever I had to cram for a test.”

“That’s what my friends seem to be doing as well. I can’t get hold of any of them.”

“Why aren’t you cramming for tomorrow’s exam? Have you finished…” Continue reading “CRAMMING FOR THE EXAMS?”

Does this blook sit right with you?

“Sorry I’m late. The traffic was really bad today, and I had a horrible time trying to…”

“No need to explain. Tried reading this book I found on your table, and I…”

“The book on the table? Oh, you mean the ‘blook’?”

“Blook? I’ve never come across that word before.”


“It’s a combination of ‘blog’ and ‘book’. A blook is actually…”

“Let me guess. It’s a blog that’s been published as a book. It is…”

“Very good! It may not be the entire blog. Sometimes, it’s just a few selections from it.”

“This blook I’m reading is pretty bad. The author uses a lot of words I’ve never come across before. Tell me, how is ‘c..u..s..s..e..d pronounced?”

“The ‘cuss’ rhymes with ‘bus’ and ‘fuss’ and the following ‘ed’ is like the ‘id’ in ‘hid’, ‘bid’ and ‘did’. The word is pronounced ‘CUSS-id’. Any idea what it means?”

“That was my next question, actually! What does it mean? The writer talks about a cussed problem.”

“When you refer to a person as being ‘cussed’, what you’re suggesting is that he is pretty annoying. He’s stubborn and rather unreasonable. This is just one of the meanings of this informal word. Nobody wants to work with Laxman because he is plain cussed.”

“It’s very difficult to work with people who are cussed all the time. Last summer, we didn’t have power for three to four hours in the mornings. It became a cussed nuisance.”


“No power for four hours! I’m sure it didn’t sit right with your mother.”

“Sit right with my mother? What are you talking about? What does…”

“When someone does something and it doesn’t sit right with you, it means that you don’t approve of what he did. You’re rather unhappy. The expression can also be used to disagree with someone.”

“How about this example? I tried telling my teacher why I hadn’t done my homework. The excuse I offered, however, didn’t sit right with her.”

“That’s a good example. It’s also possible to say ‘to sit well with someone’. My sense of humour doesn’t sit well with some of my aunts and uncles.”

“That’s understandable. You don’t have a sense of humour. The idea of going to parties and staying out late doesn’t sit well with my parents.”

“It doesn’t sit right with most parents. So tell me, what do you…”

“The fact that this blook is a bestseller doesn’t sit right with me.”

“I don’t think the writer really cares what you think. Thanks to that blook, he’s got money coming out of his ears.”

“Money coming out of his ears? Does it mean he’s making a lot of money?”

“In that sentence that’s exactly what it means. When you say that ‘something is coming out of one’s ears’, it means that the person has a lot of it. The expression is mostly used in informal contexts.”

“I see. Federer and Nadal have talent coming out of their ears.”

“Very nice example. My neighbour is very inquisitive. He has questions coming out of his ears.”

“Just like you!”

A Reunion / Short Story

I hadn’t seen him in a long time and now here I was on a train calling and telling him I was going to be in town and would he like a drink? We had been friends since Eton. He was not the first Etonian to do time and the way I was heading he wouldn’t be the last. …always been a bit messy, though. He preferred salsa to merengue, was allergic to strawberries and complained about being whipped. A lot. We met at the Criterion. Took me five mojitos to pluck up the courage, pull out the box and show him the ring – still on Ann’s finger. Leaving Eton, he warned me that Ann would give me a finger if asked to fund our project. Seeing his prophecy fulfilled literally, he gasped. Taking the box from me, he peered at the ring in hesitation. I gave him a curt smile. ‘The diamond is flawless,’ I said. ‘Waitress?’ he called. A spritzy lady arrived, hands behind her back. ‘I’ll take him to go,’ he said. She snapped a handcuff on my wrist.

~Philip Langeskov