Can You Be Too Optimistic?

St. Paul's Cathedral being 'menaced' by a spider
Henry of HENRY’S BOX might be considered too optimistic

Optimism is a good thing, isn’t it? But, can you be too optimistic? The character, Henry, from the story HENRY’S BOX, is definitely optimistic. And it’s probably just as well because life has dealt him a series of blows.

Lester, on the other hand, a character from LEAVE IT TO LESTER, has no idea of optimism. He lives in a world where his master controls his thoughts. Optimism and Pessimism are not options. He exists to serve.

Henry and Lester are characters in EXTRAORDINARY, a collection of stories that will take you out of this world. They each have their own stories in the book but I wondered what might happen, if by chance, Henry and Lester met. And here’s the result.

Henry from Henry’s Box meets Lester from Leave it to Lester

Lester hurried through the park on his way back to Master’s house. The market had been busy and it had taken him slightly longer than usual to buy the groceries but with any luck, Master would still be in bed with his latest girl and wouldn’t notice his tardiness. Lester had been delayed whilst on an errand a few days ago and had earned a slap from Master when he realised his breakfast hadn’t been prepared. His previous girl had unexpectedly left early. She had apparently not been a ‘morning person’ and had complained from the moment she opened her eyes until she’d walked out. She had not been invited to return.

No, today certainly wasn’t a day to dawdle.

And yet…

He simply couldn’t walk past the dishevelled man who was sitting on the park bench. There was something sad yet happy about him. A wistfulness and a certainty. Lester’s duty, as a Servile, was to serve, and this man seemed to need his help. Admittedly, Lester’s duty as a Servile was to serve his master but it wasn’t easy to turn these things on and off.

“Good morning, Sir,” Lester said sitting down next to the man, “I noticed you looked rather thoughtful and I wondered if you needed assistance.”

The man turned to him and smiled, “How kind. No, I don’t need any help, thank you. I’m simply imagining.”

“Ah,” said Lester, who had no idea what imagining might entail, “Is that difficult?”

“Oh, bless you, no!” said the man, “It’s quite easy once you get the hang of it. I’m imagining I’m at the beach. I have lots of happy memories from my childhood of being on holiday with my family in Devon.”

Lester had no idea what a beach was, nor how to imagine one. Happy memories were something that eluded him too. In fact, memories of any kind didn’t have a place in Lester’s world of servitude.

“I see,” said Lester finally. He rose. There was nothing he could do to assist this man who despite his unkempt appearance and distracted air, seemed to have a contentment that Lester yearned for. “Well, I’ll leave you to it,” he added as the man’s smile grew even broader.

He’s remembering something, thought Lester as he hurried home, which surprised him because remembering wasn’t a word that often popped into Lester’s mind. He barely knew what it meant although he had remembered his master’s slap and knew there was a good chance he would receive another blow on his return this morning. But memories of a childhood? Lester’s memories went back as far as… hmm, how far did they go back? He could remember last week but before that there was nothing. Had Lester had a childhood?

What a kind chap, thought Henry. He reminds me of Uncle Peter. How wonderful those summer days were in Devon! Exactly when his life had gone wrong, Henry had no idea but he wasn’t going to let it get him down. He would simply imagine it away.


If you would like to read optimistic Henry’s story, HENRY’S BOX or Lester’s story, LEAVE IT TO LESTER, they can be found in the ebook or paperback, Extraordinary which can be found here on

Some of the other characters in EXTRAORDINARY have met up in a flight of my fancy and you can see how they fare here, 

and here

and here

and finally, here