1.45 p.m. There are 12,700 words left to write on my new novel ‘Beautiful & Kidnapped’.
The end of my book is proving a struggle for my new assistant, Beryl who, once again, is staring out of the window, as opposed to hammering out the final scenes of my book.
As I furiously post arty images on Instagram of an empty wooden chair with some rope on it (a cunning plan of mine to wet reader’s appetites for ‘Beautiful & Kidnapped’) I can’t help but cast some angry looks across the room at Beryl.
My phone bleeps. It is a text from Pamela, my partner Keith’s mother. She wants to remind me that I am due to attend her Book Club evening tonight.
‘Thx but I may have to take a rain check as I am busy finishing my book’ I text back. I like to keep Pamela on her toes.
‘You mean Beryl is finishing your book!’ texts back Pamela, making me prickle with agitation.
‘I didn’t enjoy this month’s book ‘Ghost Romance’ I text back. It is a lie, as I thoroughly enjoyed it and even gave some thought to writing something from the paranormal literary genre next. Pamela may stop pestering me if she knows the book did not appeal to me.
‘Keith told me you thought it was a quality piece of literature and plan to write the next ‘Sixth Sense’ when Beryl has finished writing your book! texts Pamela, making me groan.
‘Yes – I will see how things go with my writing tonight!’ I text back, refusing to be controlled by Pamela.
My phone bleeps. ‘It would be good to have a proper author at my Book Club, you can show off your literary skills!’
‘Will be there at 7.20! Thx’ I reply with a huge smile on my face.
4.01 p.m. Beryl has gone home and left me with 12,000 words still to do. I am questioning her commitment to the role of assistant and I am worried ‘Beatiful & Kidnapped’ may not end up the quality piece of literature that I wanted.
7.23 p.m. I have entered Pamela’s lounge to join her Book Club.
7.30 p.m. Pamela is smiling at all the Book Club attendees. I survey the room.
In the corner arm chair sits Hilary, an anxious looking woman with a bizarre perm. Perched on a chair is Ivy, a large woman with a penchant for interesting knitwear. Today’s jumper has a huge book emblem on the front of it. On the sofa there is Jacky, a small shrew like woman married to a man called Rick who doesn’t talk much and Margo, the long suffering wife of a philandering fishmonger.
“Right then Book Club ladies, have you all read the book Ghost Romance?” Pamela asks, smiling sweetly at all of us.
We all nod at her like obedient dogs.
“Ok, lets begin our book review!” announces Pamela, gesturing for everyone to take a wine glass from the tray.
“Tina, as our real life author do you want to say anything before we kick off the literary debate?” asks Pamela.
I am about to urge the members of the Book Club for intellectual literary observations on Ghost Romance when Hilary interrupts me. “You still writing Tina after your unsuccessful political thriller?” she asks with a look of concern.
“Yes I am just finishing my new book” I say proudly.
“At least you have that fancy office job in town” says Hilary, placing a reassuring hand on my shoulder.
“I jacked in my fancy office job months ago. I am now a full-time writer” I say, ignoring her jaw dropping expression.
Sensing trouble Pamela leaps into action. “Right then, what did we all think of Ghost Romance?” she asks, scanning the room.
“I liked the book!” exclaims Ivy, kicking the session off. Pamela rewards her by topping up her glass with wine.
“I wish my husband was a ghost” mutters Margo, shaking her head with a gloomy expression.
“Oh Margo you can’t mean that!” exclaims Hilary with a look of concern and turning towards Margo.
“Has he been cheating again?” asks Pamela, leaning over to pour Margo a glass of wine.
Margo nods and everyone casts her a sympathetic look. “She’s in her twenties!” says Margo, making everyone gasp.
Margo’s husband is in his fifties so this nugget of info has just made the Book Club a lot more interesting.
“Is it someone he works with?” Jacky asks, before thanking Pamela for filling her wine glass.
Margo grimaces and then nods. “She works in the Fish & Chip shop next door where he works. Apparently she made a pass at him during his lunch hour, whilst waiting for his chips to cook”.
“I can see why you wish he was a ghost!” murmurs Pamela.
An awkward silence descends upon the Book Club Ladies.
“In the book I thought the ghost was quite attractive” explains Ivy, bringing focus back to the Book Club.
“Oh I agree!” I say, recalling the handsome ghost that the lead female character fell for.
“I don’t know why the author kept mentioning his cold lips” says Hilary, shaking her head of tiny tight curls.
“He’s dead Hilary. His lips are not going to be warm!” argues Ivy, smoothing out her book jumper.
“My husband’s lips are cold and he’s sadly still alive” says Margo, hanging her head.
We all give Margo a sympathetic look and secretly wonder whether her husband’s Fish & Chip shop girl finds his lips cold.
8.33 p.m. The wine is flowing and the book has sparked a lively debate.
Ivy started it by asking “how do you all feel about the idea of falling in love with a ghost?”
“Oh yes! The ghost would have more to say than my husband Rick!” squeals Jacky with a flushed face and sparkling eyes.
“Can you imagine if the ghost looked as good as the one in the book?” cackles Pamela.
Margo opens another bottle of wine.
10.05 p.m. We are all slumped in our chairs with huge grins on our faces. Margo keeps hiccuping and Jacky is snoring gently.
10.34 p.m. Keith arrives to give me a lift home. He looks bewildered at the state of all of us staggering out of Pamela’s house.
“What have you all been doing?” he asks with a look of horror.
“Debating quality literature” I say, with a slurred voice. “Now get me home I need to finish my novel!”
photo credit: Stocksnap