Wednesday, 2 January 2013
Scene: A New Years' Party. In a bar in the centre of town - in the run-off, undesirable part of the city - a group of friends, known to each other through the sort of gigs that ruin your hearing, are talking. Two are propped up against the bar, beers in hand. They are trying not to get in the way.
Quiet, unvoiced thoughts of self: Wow, look at all these people. I wonder if they go out all the time. I bet they do. They probably talk to each other, and everything. Not like me, spending all my evenings glaring fiercely into a laptop and jabbing at the keys. Those lucky, socialising bastards.
Self, to old friend: Hey, Neil! How's it going?
Old friend (trying not to get beer on floor): Hey! Great, thanks!
Self: You up to much this week - after this madness is over?
Old friend: You know, I am. Guess what I'm doing on Thursday?
Quiet, unvoiced thoughts of self: He has Thursday off work? Wow, I know what I'd do if I had Thursday off. I'd go and hang out in the library. Best not say that, though. That's a shit thing to say at a party.
Self: No, what?
Old friend: I'm off to Madrid. I've been invited to play a solo set over there - me, and Seb Rochford from Acoustic Ladyland. We're getting flown over there, and flown back. Not bad, eh?
Self: That's ace! Hey, congratulations Neil. I bet you'll have a brilliant time. And it'll be warm, too. You lucky sod.
Old friend: Yeah! I know! I'm really excited.
(Pauses; drinks beer).
Old friend: So what about you, anyway? Haven't seen you for ages. What you been up to?
Self: Oh, you know, not much. The usual. Working. Writing. Writing. Working.
Quiet, unvoiced thoughts of self: That is no good, Bradley. Jazz it up a bit. Try to make it more interesting and dramatic.
Self: You know. Making things up in my head and then typing them down into a blank Word document.
Quiet, unvoiced thoughts of self: Should I tell him about discovering the Navigator function in Open Office last week? I wonder whether people, in socialising situations, are interested in that sort of thing.
Self: I've been working on some short stories. This and that. You know. I've been working on a novel. It's er - it's about ...
(Friend nods; smiles politely).
Self: You see, the trouble with a large document like a novel is that it's quite unwieldy. You might want to rearrange the chapters - say, if you realise, a part of the action would be better moved to an earlier or later section. Because these things don't just organise themselves, you know. And that's why I was so excited last week when I discovered a new function in my word processing software...
Quiet, unvoiced thoughts of self: ABORT ABORT DO NOT SAY ANY MORE WORDS
Self: Hey listen, the band is starting.
(Glasses raised; people cheer; the band begins to play).
Stone Junction Jim Dodge
A brilliant present from Ian Pepper, one of my Fictions of Every Kind co-conspirators. Thanks, Ian!