Conversation at The Crippled Bee

‘Clothes thrown over an old chair. Not an Arab riding a dragon to work. Bedside lamps – the imagination’s worst enemy’. (Johannes Speyer, Repeated Scrawlings)


Sertin has been drinking – exactly what I do not know. A dark red beer with a heavy head. I think it may be called ‘Goblin’s Delight’ or ‘Bloodmancer’. In either case, it causes hiccups: shameless and continuous hiccups.

‘I read your piece – hup! – the fabric of – hup! – things’

The falling of fabric?’

‘The – hup! – fabric of falling – hup! – things, yes. I passed my – hup! – eyes over the substance of it – hup! – the other night.’

‘I’m glad to hear you read my blog.’

‘Well, you read myhup! –  rubbish.’

‘Compliment taken. Go on.’

He pauses to sip another centilitre.

‘News – hup! – papers,’ he begins again: ‘Newspapers are – hup!my fabric, I think. My – hup! – drapery. My – hup! – tumbling cloth.’

‘Oh yes?’

‘Oh yes indeed. I live off the chaos of the humble – hup! – newspaper. The mad and random stories flung hap – hup! – hapzardly together. Nonsense united – hup! – by the day on which it – hup! – happened. The crazy paving of the modern – hup! – magazine provides me with endless – hup! – inspiration. This next to – hup! – that and that next to – hup! – this. Whenever I’m lost I turn to the newspaper. I seek it’s – hup! – godawful realities and godblessem fantasies. I fall into its jerky journalistic rhythms, trapped in its ever – hup! – whirling cogs.’

‘Oh yes?’

‘Indeed oh yes. The careless tick-tock of the – hup! – daily paper keeps my own pen pressed to the precious paper. Cannot live without my newspapers and my magazines, my journals and my flyers, my supplements and my annuals. Endless cheap stimulation. Thrown all over my floors. Need them. Really need them’.

He pauses.

‘Glad to see the hiccups have gone,’ I venture.

‘Th – hup! – nks,’ he says.

I order myself a whisky.

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