Late night affair


5:13 PM: A couple enters the Libertine. I greet them and bring over a menu. The man gives me a polite nod. The woman, Janet, tries to look the other way.

Did you forget I work here on Thursdays.

5:23 PM: I let them chitchat for a bit before going over and taking their order. He’s the one that orders. A Death In The Afternoon and a Virgin Mary.

Little does he know.

5:26 PM: She fidgets with her hands. He’s talking and doesn’t seem to notice. I let my colleague serve the other people that just came in.

You dare sit in our spot where we used to share drinks and laugh about the life that I helped you forget.

5:33 PM: She glances at me when I serve them their drinks. I follow the question in his eyes until his glance crosses mine.

Do you recognise me, Matt?

5:50 PM: I leave them alone for a while and talk to my manager. He agrees it is best if I go home. We don’t want to spread any germs around.

Or do we?

6:01 PM: I pause at their table on my way out. Instantly, she lets go of her drink and I take it, bring it to my mouth and spit in it. ‘Hey!’ he shouts at me but I walk away. She had only taken the smallest sip of her drink.

I hope you enjoyed it.

Written for one of my modules this semester. The task was to write a story or a poem in the form of a list. When thinking about lists, a shopping list or a to-do list is probably what jumps to mind. However, writers have cleverly used lists to their advantage in prose and so I gave it a little go myself. It’s not really a complete story, of course, but it was a fun exercise. To give you a little idea, two small extracts from work of authors that used a list:

The Book of Questions by Pablo Neruda:

‘Why do leaves commit suicide
when they feel yellow?’

Pablo Neruda, The Book of Questions (1974), trans. by William O. Daly (Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press, 1991), p. 5.

‘Interior’ by Sophie Robinson:

Did you feel trapped.’

Sophie Robinson, ‘Interior’, a (Berkeley, CA: Les Figues Press, 2009), unpag.

I’m working on a bigger 6000-word version of an actual story set in the Libertine in which the drink of the woman will be poisonous. The story will take the perspective of the detective that has to solve the crime. It will be unlike this little piece, although this piece helped me get in the head of the murderer ~

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