Sunday 12 December 2010

Cannibal serial killers for lunch

‘Jane, you haven’t been out of the house for days,' said Adrian reprovingly. 'Or is it weeks? Actually, how long has it been?’ He peered into my study. I was sitting at my desk surrounded by piles of books. Marianne Faithfull was blaring out of the stereo and I had about four candles and six joss sticks going. He looked beadily at the bottle of wine and the bottle of sloe gin (both empty) by my PC.
‘I thought you’d stopped drinking wine.’
‘I have.’
‘Are you working?’
‘Sort of. Mainly I’m just getting myself in a tangle.’
‘You need to get out.’
He had a point. ‘Okay, I’ll go to London.’
‘Great idea. Will you stay with Jane or Liz?’
‘Nope. I’m too weird. I’ll go see Jake and Gerry.’

Sitting at the station with a coffee and my notebook, people kept smiling at me. I have no idea why. I looked up and saw a beautiful woman with long dark hair walking straight towards me, a wide smile on her lovely face. I hadn’t the foggiest idea who she was.
‘Hey stranger,’ she said. It was my friend Nicky. That was the point where I really did start to worry about myself.
Nicky had managed to book a seat in the one compartment with no lights. Instead there were weird little yellow go-sticks stuck on the end of each seat. She was going to London to quit her job and to hold the hand of a friend going through a complicated divorce.
‘How about you?’ she said.
‘I’m having lunch with a couple of writer friends.’
‘Nice. What do they write about?’
‘Serial killers,’ I replied. ‘Well, cannibal serial killers.’
Her eyebrows moved perceptibly upwards. ‘You do know interesting people.’

I nodded. ‘Well, to be fair, I haven’t actually met them in real life before. I met them online.’
‘Okaay,’ she said slowly. I could see images of kinky dating websites flitting over her eyes. Shit, she thought I was going to London to have some kind of transatlantic threesome.
‘A writing website,’ I added hastily.
‘Soooo. You’re meeting two strange men who write about cannibal serial killers?’
‘Only one of them. The other one writes about perfectly ordinary serial killers.’
‘Well, that’s okay then.’

She edged past me into the aisle. ‘I’ll go get drinks.’
I glanced at my watch. It was 9.30am. Ah, what the heck. We sipped Bloody Marys and laughed our heads off, in the penumbra of the cave carriage.

I knew Jake immediately. Well, it’s hard to miss an ex-rugby player in a baby blue ski hat and purple ski jacket. We sat and drank coffee (alcohol and caffeine meeting uneasily and unfortunately not quite cancelling one another out) and tried to find Gerry on Jake’s iPhone. Gerry was flying in from Canada on the red eye and had gone incommunicado somewhere over Newfoundland, unfortunately while I was still dithering about where to go for lunch.

‘He might just turn up at the last pub we mentioned,’ said Jake. And he did. Looking pretty much exactly as he does online (minus the hotdog). He was jet-lagged beyond redemption. I know that spacy feeling all too well (but I don’t need an eleven hour flight to get there).

Gerry is one of life’s naturally gifted writers which is why I loathe him. It’s all so bloody effortless for him. On the other hand, he is so petrified of getting rejected that he hasn’t even submitted his work anywhere. Which is why he drives me crazy. If you wanna get an idea of just how good he is, click here.  Not to everyone's taste but I think the guy is uber-talented.

‘You’re exactly how I imagined you’d be,’ he said. ‘Exactly so.’
What? Neurotic, verging on unhinged? I didn’t ask him to elucidate.
‘Your hair is redder than I expected,’ added Jake. 'And you're taller.' I could live with that.

It was good, it was really good. We laughed and talked and whined. Gerry manfully sipped proper British bitter and tried to pretend he liked it. Jake tasted my fruit beer and was perturbed at how much he liked it.

I got onto the train feeling more human than I have in a long long time. No Nicky for my return trip but that was okay. I read two books, did some meditation and stared into the darkness at my reflection, turned witchy. Let songs play in my head (I must get an iPod).

‘Was it good?’ asked Adrian as I finally walked through the door.

‘Yeah, it was really really good.’


btw, I'm still touting for clicks to Next..... though think I've rather lost momentum now.  But if you can spare a moment to click the link, that would be lovely....


Anonymous said...

Is this fame? This 'mentioned in dispatches' account? Certainly feels like it to me. One minor quibble, you failed to remark on how handsome both your lunch companions are (were?). Either you've become accustomed to sitting alongside such studs, such prime examples of masculinity or perhaps there's more to fruit beer, raspberry as I recall, than meets the eye.
It's strange, isn't it, meeting someone you've been writing to, virtually on a daily basis for a year or more. You were exactly as I expected, even more engaging to talk to in real life, the nervous tics were barely noticeable and even the Tourettes episodes passed off without too much comment. My only caveat - you march at a pace unsuited to the elderly, particularly those of the gammy leg variety.
Beautifully written, Jane, as always. Great title too.
Jake. The taller one. Even taller than you!

Rob-bear said...

Oh, my. Such an expedition you had, Jane. Nicky is perfectly right: you do know interesting people. Exceedingly interesting. And you tell about your adventures (and misadventures) in the most fascinating manner. Thanks for sharing the fun.

No surprise at the key point; most people go incommunicado somewhere over Newfoundland, especially on the red-eye. It's a thing with us who travel from the colony across the pond.

Ladybird World Mother said...

Oooh, I love the comments so far!!
Sounds a thoroughly good time... oh, and I clicked on the link, which is rather good as I need something from Next.
Word veri is Fongs. Fab. x

Wally B said...

Meeting, or in my case, talking to someone you have met through blogging is a real pleasure. I now get to hear her voice when I read her messages and blogs, and it makes things so much more, well, sane.
Glad to here you are getting out. Cabin fever can lead to unpleasant things, just ask Jake and Jerry:)

Exmoorjane said...

Hey Anonymous! Good to meet you too, and sorry about the furious pace!

Bear: my pleasure! Yup, I've taken that flight a fair few times (though from Logan) that Newfoundland sweep.

Ladybird: fongs??! Sounds a bit risque.... :)

Legend: you're so right...but you know, I really don't like to ask those two too much about their thought processes... :)