I would hazard a guess that you, Dear Reader, have some idea of what our reaction was to this story. The Traveler sat back in his chair, eyebrows arched and arms folded over his chest. The Writer scratched his head and said a bemused, “Huh.” The Stalker, as per usual, slurped at his cider, which never seemed to run out. The Drunkard had passed out halfway through The Student’s tale. I sat, open-mouthed, gawking at the story.
Judging by the blush on The Student’s face, and the way he stared at the tabletop, this was not the reaction he had been hoping for. “I, uh,” he said, “get really tired of literary criticism.” He drummed his fingers on the top.
“Well,” said The Writer, “ten out of ten for style. It’s very… you.” I must admit, I was a bit surprised to hear The Writer give out praise—but then again, it wasn’t such a big shock; after all, the two shared some common ground when it came to writing. The Writer was all for the literary methods and narrative style of some of the more serious writers, and The Student spent a good amount of time reading the same people The Writer probably did. “Not a fan of giving Stephen King any praise,” he continued, “so I’d suggest leaving that out in the second draft—after all, you don’t want to give best-sellers any credit, do you?”
The Traveler grunted, but beyond that, kept his opinion to himself. “Student,” he said, “I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting from you, but that was really quite well done.”
“Indeed,” I said. “It’s certainly easy to tell that you have a low opinion of academia.”
The Stalker murmured something into his glass. We chuckled, again, not knowing exactly what he said.
“Well then,” said The Traveler, “let’s digest that vignette and I’ll see you all on Wednesday. Shall we say half-past nine in the morning at the West station?”
We all agreed, and I said that I would tell The Drunkard when he woke up.
I made it a mental note to never ask The Student’s opinion on a novel of note—mainly out of fear that he would forget how to speak and find that his only recourse was to chuck feces at the library.