Duped

Duped

 

It's been a long winter. Boring, wet and cold. I'd been in a bit of a rut and I needed a challenge, something to perk me up. So I approached a bloke in a pub and started a conversation. Well, it wasn't so much a conversation as a monologue. I spoke at him. He was very polite and didn't tell me to bugger off. In fact he was a good listener. He didn't say much, at least to start with - he didn't say much to end with either. In fact he never said a word at all. I rattled on about my miserable winter till I suddenly had a mind fizz. I'm not sure why, but I told him I was a writer.

There wasn't much reaction. Probably because this chap was Ukranian and didn't speak English, so I left him and tried someone else.

 

So, you're a writer are you? (Said the second person - a nice lady wearing pyjama trousers and a yellow raincoat. She was drinking a glass of white wine and reading a book. I judged that she would welcome some stimulating conversation).

I answered her confidently - I certainly am.

What sort of writing? What do you write about?

Anything.

Really.

Yep. I'll write you an article on anything you like. Go on, pick a subject.

Shoes.

Shoes?

Yep. Shoes.

Pick another subject.

What's wrong with shoes?

Well, nothing, but who the hell wants to read about shoes?

I do.

What size?

Eh?

What size shoes do you want me to write about?

Fives. That's my size.

Is it really.

Yes. In fact I am very fond of shoes. I'm a fashion designer.

Are you?

No. Just like you're not a writer.

Bloody cheek. What makes you say that?

Deportment.

What about my deportment? What's wrong with it?

Well, it's just that there's nothing right with it. The vibes are wrong. I see a number of alternatives. One, you're a writer who has never sold anything which means you're really bad, two, you're a writer who has sold something and dresses like someone in a dark alley in a historical drama for effect, or three, and I suspect this is the accurate one, you're not a writer at all and you've just come to sit down and pester me.

I like that dark alley bit. Might just use that.

In your article about shoes?

No, in the event I get commissioned to write an article about alleys.

What are the chances of that?

Slim I grant you. You never know though. The last one I wrote was on hose pipes. I wasn't expecting that till it landed on my desk.

You have a desk?

Sure, every writer has a desk. It's a writing desk. At which I wrote my hose pipe article.

What was it about, this hose pipe article?

I don't really remember, but if I do recall there were references to coiled snakes and urination.

Oh, marvellous. How creative.

Thank you. It was a while ago, just when I was starting out, before I was awarded more worthy commissions.

Like articles on shoes perhaps.

I haven't done that yet.

No, but after you've given birth to that masterpeice and released it into the wild to astonish the literary world you could do one on a particular piece of clothing and call it an article article.

I like that, might use that one too.

Just in case you have to write an article on apparel I suppose.

I'm out of my depth here aren't I?

Not necessarily. You're probably just a bit short of confidence, or ability - and a desk.

Thanks. That helps. You really know how to uplift a guy.

Well it's your own fault. If you'd come over and told me you want to be a writer and asked me to help, things may have turned out differently.

Oh. Will you help me to be a writer?

No.

Why not?

I don't know anything about it – like you.

You're smart though. I bet you could if you put your mind to it.

My book and my wine is as far as I want to put my mind right now.

That's not very friendly.

I never asked for your friendship. You just came over, sat yourself down and started lying.

I was being creative. It wasn't lying.

Course you were. Look, if you write a story it is being creative. When you make something up in that tortured mind of yours, you can get away with it when you write it down. Everyone knows it's not supposed to be true. When you tell me you are a writer and you're not, that's lying pure and simple.

Yes but if I'd sat down and said I want to tell you a story about me being a writer you'd have told me to get lost. At least this way we've had a chat.

Mmm.

Anyhow, tell me about how you didn't get to become a fashion designer.

Get lost.

Seriously, I'm interested.

I have no intention of telling you anything about me. I'm a private person who came in here for a quiet few moments. Moments that you have turned into a shambles.

I knew you weren't a fashion designer that moment I set eyes on you.

Really.

Yes. It's those trousers.

They're Harrods

King Harrod? He should have kept them.

Ah! A touch of humour.I like that. I might use it.

Use it where? When you stop being a fashion designer you mean and pretend to be a writer – unlike me, who is a writer?

 

It all got a bit surreal after that. A chap in a black cap came in and told my companion, Ms Rowling, that she must leave for her appointment. The last I saw of her was climbing into the back of a Rolls Royce. She'd left her book behind. Who on earth writes a book about a bloke called Potter? I ask you.