Short Story Preview: The Photographer’s Assistant – Nick Horgan
Before we could all get back to our seats the announcement started. Mrs Huntley-Johnson, who I’d previously only seen from afar, or as a detail in her husband’s photos, stepped up beside me. She looked proudly expectant. I was braced ready to offer my congratulations; although I still held a slight hope it would be me.
“And the winner of the best photographic portfolio of the year is …”
The name wasn’t mine. As applause broke out I smiled to cover my disappointment. Mrs Huntley-Johnson leant forward, as if to speak. I moved a little closer.
“Between you and me, I preferred yours,” she whispered.
I turned, surprised by her indiscretion, to see her elegant profile staring straight ahead.
“You shouldn’t really say that, should you?” I whispered back.
“I didn’t really, no, it’s very unlikely that I did,” and with a wink she turned into the throng, weaving her way towards the stage where Mr Huntley-Johnson was shaking hands with the judging panel.
Those around me offered their commiserations.
“Better luck next time.”
“Very good for a first effort, it must have been close.”
“No one here expects to beat him, that’s five years in a row now.”
I wound my way back to my table.
“Sorry chaps, a bit of a melee at the tiramisu,” I said in my most-posh voice.
“By jingo, I thought you’d gone and done it.”