‘Bewitched, Bothered, Bewildered’ began life as a short story, ‘Tea at Raffles’, published in Collected Writings - Vol I, 2018.
Kenver McDonald is desperate for an idea for his second novel. On a whim, he flies to Singapore and Raffles Hotel once home to the writers Miller, Maugham and Kipling. Over tea, they suggest that the girl in the blue hat, whom Kenver has seen in the hotel swimming pool, might prove an inspiration for his second novel. At that point, the girl had no name.
That was where I left the story but when I was questioned, ‘what was the story of the girl in the blue hat?’ I had to confess, I didn’t know. I set out to discover it for myself and ‘Bewitched, Bothered, Bewildered’ is the result although it has progressed somewhat beyond its original brief.
It’s said that dead men don’t talk, but they do, according to Kenver Macdonald. He’s been talking with Miller, Maugham, and Kipling for the past six months, on and off. Well, he thinks he has. It’s a fine line that divides the sane from the insane as Kenver will agree. His head has physically hurt as he’s tried to disentangle the rational from the irrational, the logical from the bizarre.
The fact that Angelique says she can confirm the existence of the dead trio has been of no great help either. It doesn’t necessarily prove anything. It could simply be that they’re both going quietly insane.
It all started the moment Kenver met, or believed he met, the dead trio in Singapore. He was having a problem with his writing, suffering as he was, at the time, from writers’ block. They first befriended him and then, two of them, decided to help him with his then, current problem.
They may have solved the one but in so doing, have precipitated another for, as if Kenver’s situation wasn’t bad enough, talking with the dead, it’s become further convoluted with the introduction of Eloise. Eloise’s only purpose, it seems at times to Kenver, is to add an extra layer of complexity onto his otherwise simple existence.
It’s fair to say that Eloise has bewitched Kenver, he’s bothered as to how to explain to her the existence of the three dead men and bewildered by all that’s happened to him in the past six months of his life. His previous thirty years have been as a mill pool in comparison.