Junko by Colin Cotterill

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I’d like to tell you about the new woman in my life, Junko. Junko is a male Nigerian internet café worker pretending to be a 45-year-old actress from Gifu. She’s incredibly beautiful although two of the three photos seem to have been taken twenty years before the third. I first met Junko on an internet dating website called …well, no. How daft do you think I am? I’m not going to tell you ‘cause you’ll all be in there probing away at Junko. To be honest, even though her name isn’t Junko, I’ve changed her name to protect her. You may ask why. If it’s not her name why waste time changing it? And I’m not ashamed to tell you. It’s because Junko and I are in love.

Why Junko, with her obvious limitations? Because, after a month on the site, she was the only one who answered me. I was so delighted I immediately sent her my real email address, my website URL and my bank account details. Sadly, I’m too old for internet dating. Even women who look like my grandmother, when stating their desired mate, tick the box that says Under 55. A surprising number click 18 – 28. I’m also limited in that I’m not legally severed from my spouse. ‘Separated’ is just another way of saying, ‘married’. Technically, if your wife goes into the garden for a few minutes, you’re separated. Right? Adding the way I look to all this, (The site rejected my attempts to put pictures of Rinaldo up on my profile.) you can see I’m not exactly worth the fifty bucks these poor women put up to find a life partner.

I’d been alerted to the joys of this avatar dating by my Danish friend who had been canoodling in cyberspace with a refined Englishman with dreadful grammar (the Danes don’t see grammar as a particularly commendable trait) for three months. At one stage he went on business to Ghana where he had a terrible mishap and needed the sum of five thousand English pounds to pay the ransom. It was the first clue as to the true nationality of Edgar Sinjohn Fife and the beginning of a meaningful relationship. The pressure of impressing the man was off and she could relax and have fun, laughing off the kidnappings and road accidents, the dying grandmothers and the movement of huge sums of money from one coup leader to another. She was probably killing her Ghanaian paramour with frustration but she had found true love.

I’d chosen a Japanese friend finder site because I speak about eleven words of Japanese and I thought that might be a selling point. It hasn’t helped in Junko’s case because she apparently doesn’t speak Japanese. I did write a couple of things in her language and she berated me for testing her. She does like dogs and ‘have be in asian two time’. So she obviously didn’t grow up in her home country. I keep asking for a more recent photograph but, despite being a successful television actress, she only has those three photos of herself. She did give me her private email address with a jp at the end of it but she’s a very busy woman and probably doesn’t have time to reply to all those fan emails. This, I have to say, is what I’ve been looking for in a relationship for some time: total dishonesty without guilt. If anyone’s interested, Junko has a younger sister called Mbagwe. I can fix you up.

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