“For Christ’s sake,” said The Drunkard. “Will you stop this? I’m going to crush your skull beneath a double-decker, so help me God, if you don’t stop.
“As retiscent as I am to agree with The Drunkard on anything,” said The Writer, “I agree. This… thing is a travesty against all literature and story-telling.”
“Yeah,” said The Traveler. “What the fuck was that?”
I knew I’d gone horribly wrong when The Traveler, of all people, was attacking my story. I shifted in my seat, not entirely sure of how to get out of this horrible situation I’d stuck myself in. Granted, there was no real consequence for botching a story that badly, but I knew, deep in the back of my head, that there was no way I was going to win our competition now. (“The hell were you going to win anyway,” said the crotchety voice in my head.)
“Uhm,” I said.
Silence from the table, save for the soft sound of slurping from The Stalker.
The bartender cleared his throat and said, “Scuse me, gents. Don’t mean to pry into your conversation, but you,” he said, pointing at me, “if you tell another story like that, I’m going to have to bar you from coming into this pub.”
“You’re shitting me,” I said. “It was just a story.”
“Mate,” the bartender said, “that wasn’t a story; that was a hate crime against English literature.”
I threw my hands up in defeat as the other Thes laughed at my expense.
The Writer looked at his watch. “I should be heading back to campus. The busses aren’t running today, and if I want to make my appointment with my advisor, it’s hard going.”
The Drunkard shook his head and grunted. “Telling you, man. You just need to bone her and get it out of your system. Clear head.”
“What?” asked The Drunkard. “Oh, gotcha. Fist bump.”
We bumped fists.
“Yes, well,” said The Writer, flustered. “I… yes.” He left.
The Stalker watched him leave and said, “Would you like to hear about his pornography collection? It’s quite impressive. The man has many hang-ups. I suppose he nurtures them under some bizarre impression that the more neurotic he is, the more creative he’d be.”
I think you can imagine that none of us wanted to hear about The Writer’s porno.
“Dude,” said The Drunkard, “what, exactly, do you do for your degree?”
The Stalker grinned and slurped at his cider for a moment. He looked at our faces, one and all, for about ten seconds each, much as he had done in the past. When he had made the circuit around the table, he said, “That’s all very confidential. Let’s just say that I am in the middle of a serious and confidential study of very serious and confidential material.”
“Right,” said The Traveler. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to head off. Making a dash to the STA branch in town to see if they have any specials on.”
“Need to get out that badly, huh?” asked The Drunkard.
The Traveler nodded. “It’s getting bad. I look around Canterbury and Rorshach’s opening monologue from Watchmen starts playing in my head.”