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.
Matt, the Writing Club Leader, arrived early to plan out the session. He sat himself down at the Writing Club’s usual wooden table by the window and started to make some notes.
Alfie, the coffee shop owner, brought him over his usual order of black coffee.
‘How are you doing Matt?’ he asked.
‘Ok, just trying to plan out tonight’s meeting, give it some structure and not let it….’ he stopped as Alfie interrupted him.
‘Get out of control?’ offered Alfie.
‘I was going to say overrun’ said Matt. ‘Do you think these sessions get out of control?’ he asked looking worried.
‘Sorry Matt’ said the coffee shop owner sensing he’d hit a raw nerve. In view of the money these writers spent on his coffee and the entertainment value they gave him he decided it was best he kept Matt sweet.
‘My mistake Matt, just a slip of the tongue, no….no…they don’t get out of control’ reassured Alfie.
‘Thanks’ said Matt with a sigh of relief. ‘They’re just very…..’
‘Highly strung?’ offered Alfie.
‘I was going to say these writers are very creative’ sighed Matt.
‘I am sorry Matt I don’t know what has come over me’ said Alfie, shaking his head.
Matt smiled. ‘It’s ok, tonight will be a bit special, I can feel it Alfie!’
The door opened and in trooped all the writers.
Once they’d settled and ordered their drinks, Matt started the meeting.
‘Hello everyone!’ he said brightly. ‘Nice to see you all! Now then, did you all get my email?’ he asked, looking around the table.
There were a few groans and the sounds of writers delving deep into their bags to rummage through folders.
‘Ok, so I asked you all to bring in a short story. Tonight we are going to listen to a few of them and give some constructive feedback ‘ he said, hoping that this was going to turn into a productive session.
‘Are we not doing our usual writing updates?’ asked Karl, the comedy writer, opening his notepad.
‘No’ said Matt. ‘Tonight we are going to be solely focused on our writing’.
A few groans could be heard from around the table. No writer wanted to hear that a session was going to be solely focused on writing.
‘Moira, you said on your email that you wanted to go first?’ asked Matt, looking across at the romantic fiction writer.
Moira giggled. ‘It’s a little something I put together a couple of mornings ago, whilst my husband Bob was at work!’ she gushed, causing Richard to fidget nervously in his seat.
She took out her sheet of paper, sighed and began to read her story titled ‘The Window Cleaner’.
Once she’d read the last line she sighed loudly before putting her sheet down on the table. She then looked at all the shocked faces staring back at her.
Richard, the military history fiction writer, was shaking his head disapprovingly.
‘Mission Control would never hire such a man!' he snapped.
'Wow Moira!' said Karl. 'To think he only charged her £7 for a set of gleaming windows and a big smile that probably didn't leave her face for weeks!'
'Wish he would come round and clean my windows' sighed Darcy twirling loops of hair around her finger.
'I liked how he didn't say much' said Tina. 'Looking the way he did in those overalls and in view of his special post window cleaning service you wouldn't need him to talk would you? Good work Moira!'
'Thank you!' said Moira, a blush spreading across her cheeks.
'OK' said Matt. 'That's not the sort of feedback I was looking for but let's move on. Thank you Moira. Right then Karl, you're next'
'If you say so' sighed Karl. 'I have written this comedy piece and I thought I would read you out a bit. My best mate Pete thought it was hilarious' he said.
They all listened to him read out his story titled 'My Best Mate's Girl'.
When he finished he looked around the table and was met with blank stares.
'It wasn't funny' said Stacey, shaking her head.
'Just out of interest Karl' said Darcy. 'Is Pete not aware that you fancy his girlfriend?'
Am awkward silence descended upon the Writing Club.
Karl stared at Darcy. 'I don't fancy Pete's girlfriend' he said quietly.
'I can't believe Pete hasn't cottoned onto this' said Darcy shaking her head. 'You're mad for her aren't you?'
'Ok let's leave that there' said Matt, keen to hear other short stories and frustrated at the quality of the writing feedback being given.
'Karl tell us the truth' encouraged Tina giving him a playful nudge.
All eyes turned to Karl who squirmed in his seat. Alfie crept up to the table to listen.
'How did you guess Darcy?' Karl asked, his voice thick with emotion and his face reddening by the second.
'It's written from the heart my dear' said Moira, staring at Karl.
Karl nodded and Moira opened up her arms to offer him a hug.
Everyone watched Moira hug Karl and then start to gently rock him from side to side.
Another awkward silence descended upon the Writing Club as Moira started to make 'shhhh' sounds as she rocked the emotional comedy writer.
Karl wept into the shoulder of Moira's fluffy lemon cardigan.
'I don't know what to do' he sobbed.
'Writing my story brought all my feelings about Pete's girl to the surface' he wept.
'I write comedy but I am not funny anymore' he cried.
'This thing with Pete's girl has got too much for me' he sobbed.
It had also got too much for Richard who edged his chair away, muttering to himself and it was too much for Alfie who returned to his counter shaking his head.
'Right then' said Matt briskly, 'let's hear Tina's story!'
Karl broke free from Moira's hug and wiped his eyes.
Tina smiled and whipped out a pile of papers.
'OK everyone, I have a treat for you all. I am going to read you a chapter of my latest novel. It's out on Amazon, I can send you the link. It's being sold at £2.99 and...' she paused, noticing that all the writers were stifling yawns and rustling their papers.
After she finished reading another awkward silence descended upon the Writing Club. Richard stirred his tea vigorously, Darcy looked out of the window and Karl picked a stone out of his shoe.
'It's....erm....different' said Matt trying desperately to think of something constructive to say.
'I don't know why it's not selling on Amazon' gushed Tina. 'I think it's the book cover, I might change it'.
'Right let's move on' said Matt, starting to feel deflated. 'Richard do you want to go next?'
They all watched Richard stand and salute whilst he read a moving and heartfelt tribute to his dead character WW2 fighter pilot Grimes.
Words failed the writers. They all sat and stared at Richard as he sat back down.
'If anyone needs a hug, Aunty Moira is ready!' said Moira.
Matt placed his head in his hands and groaned.
Karl leant over and whispered 'accept the cuddle offer from Moira, it makes you feel a lot better mate!'
There will be more from the Writing Club next week.
For more info on previous episodes and characters please click here.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57058668@N00/32077107">pausa invernale</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(license)</a>