Welcome to my weekly blog comedy series – The Writing Club.
This series follows the highs and lows of a local writing club who meet regularly at Alfie’s Coffee Shop.
For more info on previous episodes and characters please click here.
It was the first Writing Club meeting after the festive break.
Matt, the Writing Club leader, was talking to Alfie, the coffee shop owner, as the writers trooped in from the cold.
‘Your writers are an interesting bunch’ said Alfie, his eyes fixed on Richard and Moira taking their places at the table.
‘Yes they are Alfie’ said Matt quietly as his eyes found Stacey. The sight of her sauntering to the table with a dreamy expression on her face made his heart rate quicken.
When Stacey, the apocalyptic horror writer, had first joined the club he’d been scared of her. Every time she talked about her obsession with gore, bloodied body parts and the world being overrun with crazed headless zombies he’d found himself wanting to run away and hide. It was difficult to explain what had happened recently but somehow his fear had turned into something else.
‘Some of them didn’t seem very happy at the end of last year’ said Alfie, his eyes focusing on Tina.
‘They will be full of festive joy’ said Matt cheerfully. ‘I have a good feeling about tonight’.
Alfie gave him a nudge in the direction of Darcy, the Chicklit writer, sitting at the opposite end of the table from her close friend Tina, the thriller writer. Normally they were joined at the hip.
Matt shrugged it off and caught sight of Richard, the military history fiction writer, sat with watery red eyes.
Alfie smiled and walked away whistling, leaving Matt to take a deep breath and get the session started.
‘Welcome back everyone’ he said, with a cheerful tone. ‘Shall we do some writing updates?’
‘Darcy do you want to kick us off?’ he asked, looking at the young woman sat alone at the end of the table.
‘It didn’t work out’ she blurted, making every head in the coffee shop turn towards her.
‘No it didn’t!’ snapped Tina, who sat opposite. Her eyes darkened as she glared at Darcy.
‘This sounds interesting’ said Karl, the comedy writer, with a smile spreading across his face.
‘Tina and I started working on a collaborative book over Christmas and it didn’t work out’ said Darcy, looking glum.
‘I am sensing this has caused some tension’ said Matt, ‘shall we move on with the other updates?’
‘I don’t want to move on Matt!’ cried Tina. She turned to face Darcy. ‘I can’t believe you didn’t like the title I came up with for our book. I am shocked you didn’t like my cover design and I am still struggling with your name going first on the cover. Out of the two of us Darcy I am the bigger self-published literary name!’
‘Can we all be nice to each other?’ said Matt trying to be diplomatic, whilst receiving worried looks from the other writers.
‘It’s gone too far now for me to be nice Matt’ said Darcy glaring at Tina. ‘Your title was weak, I hated your design and your last book didn’t get as many five star reviews as mine did!’
‘I can’t wait to read your book ladies’ said Karl grinning at both their sulky faces.
Darcy sighed loudly before saying ‘we didn’t do any writing Karl’.
‘What? So you haven’t written anything?’ clarified Stacey, twirling a runaway lock of blonde hair around her finger, unaware of Matt gazing longingly at her.
‘No’ said Tina, ‘We came up with a plot but before we started work on it we thought it would be good idea to agree the title and design the book cover’.
‘Once these two important things were sorted we knew our book would write itself’ continued Darcy.
An awkward silence descended upon the Writing Club. Richard fidgeted in his seat, Moira stared at a crack on the ceiling and Stacey fumbled with something in her bag.
‘We made a big mistake by discussing the title and designing the book cover’ sniffed Darcy, reaching for her tissues. ‘I told Tina that book titles and covers are like literary mine fields but she wouldn’t listen.’
‘I didn’t think it would get this bad between us, I mean it’s only a title and some colours’ sobbed Tina.
Out of the corner of his eye Matt caught Alfie shaking his head from behind the counter.
‘Ok let’s move on’ said Matt. He looked at Richard who was staring into space.
Moira nudged Richard who looked at Matt.
‘My character fighter pilot Grimes is….dead’ croaked Richard, clasping his hands in front of him.
Everyone around the table gasped and Moira placed her hands over her ‘O’ shaped mouth.
‘I am sorry Richard’ said Matt, ‘what happened?’
‘He came under enemy fire and I……..’ Richard paused before taking a deep breath. ‘I lost him and his fighter plane’ he sniffed.
Moira, the romantic fiction writer, started to sob and dab her eyes with her tissue. ‘Did he get to meet a special lady friend before he died?’ she asked.
Richard nodded. ‘He met a lady called Barbara at a church dance the night before’.
‘Oh I am pleased for Grimes. Did they get close…on his last night?’ asked Moira, before taking some deep breaths.
‘They had a dance and at the end of the night he kissed her on the cheek. Grimes was a true gentleman’ croaked Richard.
Moira gasped as tears started to stream down her cheeks. ‘How is Barbara doing now?’ she asked, in between sobs.
‘Oh for goodness sake Moira!’ snapped Richard, ‘Barbara was just a minor character in chapter thirty-six. She was simply a page filler!.’
‘Its so sad for a lady to meet the man of her dreams at a church dance and then for him to be taken away from her in such a cruel manner’ said Moira, dabbing her eyes.
Richard rolled his eyes and looked away.
‘Sorry to hear about Grimes Richard’ said Karl. ‘Was Mission Control [Richard’s wife] sympathetic?’
‘No’ snapped Richard. ‘She was more interested in making a lamb hot-pot!’.
Another awkward descended upon the Writing Club. The only sounds from the table were from Darcy and Tina, snivelling into tissues.
‘Ok, Stacey do you have an update?’ asked Matt, smiling at the beautiful horror writer.
‘I met a guy over Christmas who also likes to write horror’ she said making Matt grimace. ‘We discussed my ideas on zombie cannibals’ she sighed, doodling on the front cover of her pad.
‘Sounds like fun’ said Karl.
‘He likes really gory stuff’ sighed Stacey with a dreamy expression on her face. ‘When I say really gory, I mean really gory’ she clarified.
Starting to feel deflated Matt turned to Karl. ‘Do you have an update?’ he asked.
‘I asked one my blog readers out on a date’ said Karl. ‘After the date she un-followed me. I am gutted as she was one of the few people who read my blog’.
‘Maybe you should avoid dating blog followers Karl?’ asked Stacey.
Matt exhaled loudly and turned to Moira who had dried her eyes after Richard’s news. She was now smiling whilst picking bits of fluff from her lavender woollen jumper.
‘Moira – do you have a writing update?’ he asked, his heart sinking at the sight of Stacey drawing love hearts on her notebook.
He hoped Moira would say something which would spark an intense writing debate, make all the writers around the table forget their troubles and make him feel that this Writing Club was worthwhile.
‘I had some thoughts about my next book over Christmas’ said Moira.
‘Great! Tell us more Moira!’ said Matt feeling uplifted. He leaned forward towards her. This was going to be the start of a productive writing discussion.
‘It felt like hard work turning them into something else, so I just sang Christmas songs, wore a silly hat and drank sherry instead’ giggled Moira.
Matt placed his head in his hands and groaned.
There will be more from the Writing Club next week.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/30410625@N02/6755526319″>Coffee Time</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>