‘Love Contest’ by Edward Little

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‘Welcome to ABOFC, everyone.’

‘ABOFC?’ says Gary’s wife, who is standing by his side.

‘A Bit of Friendly Competition,’ he announces, glancing from her to the couples in rows of seats.

She wanted to call today’s class BYP: Beating Your Partner – but she’s always been a bit aggressive.

He can hear her mumbling something under her breath as she walks from one half of the room to the other, handing out leaflets with suggestions of how to keep your relationship exciting, each activity designed to progressively test a couple:

Charades

Origami

Comparing hobbies

Comparing achievements

Mini golf

Sally works in an office and has a knack for organisation, so she put together this event. Gary considers himself to be a creative, so he drew silly faces on the balloons.

‘What’s the letters stand for again?’ says one of the women, and Gary shares a look of dismay with her partner.

‘A Bit of Friendly Competition.’

She laughs, along with Sally, and half of the room.

It wasn’t supposed to be funny, but Gary cuffs his thumbs in his jean pockets as he

chuckles to himself, and Sally makes the mental note of spitting in his Crunchy Nut.

‘We agreed that calling this, “Beating Your Partner,” was a bit aggressive,’ Sally

mocks, as the rest of the room laughs, as Gary fantasises about tipping chili powder into her knickers.

The lecture ends with Sally purposefully setting fire to Gary’s origami octopus, and

they spend the night holding each other’s equally sweaty hands, waiting for the first one to let go.

Edward Little is a writer, editor, and teacher in Liverpool. When he’s not scribbling prose or editing articles, he’s teaching online so he can afford to eat.