I am so unbelievably unhung over. In fact, I think the medical term is ‘Hung the fuck over’.
Right, so I met Fife at Duke’s last night. It’s this burger and beer place with an outdoor patio. He got there a bit early and snagged a table in the corner, and had a Bulmers waiting for me with a glass of ice.
I was so nervous, you know, because he put me in his novel. I had no idea what I should say to him. And, in a completely unhelpful manner, the first thing he said was, ‘Did you get a chance to read the manuscript.’ I drank half the pint in a onner before answering.
I had taken a few notes, so I brought up the basic stuff. The fact I think he could have spread out the ‘in Fife’s last novel’ reminder bit at the beginning, and I thought there were a few scenes that needed a quicker pace. Oh, and there was this minor character I found a bit distracting, and I suggested he cut him out all together. We talked over it a bit, and I said I had more in depth notes recorded on the PDF, and I’d email those over to him tomorrow.
Then he said, ‘So there’s something I really want to ask you?’
Holy shit! I thought ‘This is it. He’s going to ask me what I thought about his representation of me in the novel.’ So, I downed the rest of my drink as fast as I could, I didn’t even pour the rest into the glass, I just drank it from the bottle, and then said, ‘All done. Need a drink. My round’, and I got up to go to the bar.
He shouted after me to bring him a Blue Moon, and I tottled off to get us a round. The place was filling up, and it took ages to get served, so I got a double round. I got another Bulmers and a G&T for me, and two Blue Moons for him.
Back at the table outside, I drank my G&T as soon as I sat down, and he asked his question, ‘Do you think I could write literary fiction?’
Not what I thought he was going to say.
He’s mentioned in the past that he’s feeling stifled by publishing in one genre, and he’s thinking about getting his agent to push a work of literary fiction under another name. I thought about it for a minute, and suddenly this question was no better than the one I thought he was going to ask.
He is an amazing writer, he really is. He plants the reader right into the middle of the situation without getting too bogged down in words. I know that sounds weird, but some people just try too hard. Whereas Fife’s writing is deeply descriptive without being messy; it’s effortless. However, his storylines are kind of trite and his character development can be superficial, and while you can get away with lackluster plots in literary fiction (look at One Fine Day), a writer has to be master of character development to pull it off. How do I tell Fife that I didn’t think he could do character development well enough to write literary fiction?
So what did I say? ‘Shots. I think today is the sort of day for shots.’
‘That means “no”, you don’t think I can write literary fiction. Doesn’t it?’ he said back.
I replied with a ‘Not really’, which is actually no better.
To this he said, ‘Okay. I want you to be honest, but I understand that might take some lubrication.’ And with the word ‘lubrication’ he snickered to himself like a kid, then went to the bar. He came back with four red shots.
I slammed the first one and said what I thought.
He slammed a shot and stated his rebuttal. That he used write into the story small nuances about each character, and develop side plots that helped the reader get into the character’s head, but his editor usually cut this stuff. Now he doesn’t even bother putting it in.
I slammed another shot – I was starting to feel the effect. ‘What about your narrative?’
He slammed a shot and argued that, he ‘likes simple plots. They’re more like real life.’
I told him it didn’t matter what I think, he should write his lit fic anyway, and see what happens.
The rest of the night was then a blur. One downed G&T, two Bulmers, and two shots in less than an hour, plus we kept going after that. Not good. Although, I remember eating the most delicious burger I’ve ever had in my entire life. Then again, I also stopped at the chippy on the way home and got a chips and cheese and curry. Yumm yumm.
Anyway, before stumbling home Fife and I laughed our selves silly. We played the ‘turn the people in the bar into characters’ game, where we had to make up back stories and narratives for couples, individuals and parties sitting around us. I think Fife just wanted to play this game to prove that he can do characterization, but it was hilarious all the same. And the more we drank the wilder the stories got, and the louder we got until we completely pissed someone off.
Fife and I took this as our cue to leave. The Globe was just across the street, and I begged Fife to come out for another drink. As we walked over it dawned on me that Pete and the gang could be there. This has been their usual haunt, and I hadn’t had a text from him yet. Would I walk into the bar to find Pete sitting there? Snogging PoshPhD? Or would he be the innocent and then accuse me of being on a date? (Was I on a date?)
I was getting really paranoid, so I quickly made my excuses. ‘I have to be at work in the morning early.’ ‘I’ve changed my mind.’ ‘I’ve already had too much too drink.’ (Actually, very sensible excuses, but in all honesty, my frame of mind wasn’t being sensible, it was being paranoid.) He asked if he could walk me home, but I insisted that I could make it on my own. I didn’t live up five minutes up the road. Plus, if he was taking a taxi back to his house, it’s a closer walk to a taxi rank from the Globe, as opposed to walking all the way to mine and back again. To this he said, ‘I could just call a taxi from your flat.’
My head started spinning and all I could think was, ‘God no! Come up to my flat to find that I live like a squatter with a boyfriend who looks like a hobo with an ironic mustache? Don’t think so.’ I insisted that he’d be better getting a taxi from town, and after a lot of argument he finally agreed. (It’s just dawned on me that a taxi from Dundee to his house would be massively expensive. Shit. How much did he spend to come out with me, and I completely refuted him? Was there even something to refute? Or was he just being nice and walking a drunk girl home? He did have a well dressed woman leaving his house the other day? Was she a high class prozzy? What the fuck am I thinking? Of course she wasn’t. His car wasn’t even there. Oh shit, his car. How much money did he spend to hang out with me, and I wouldn’t even let him walk me home. Not that spending money on a woman gives a man access to her bedroom, but including a taxi, food, and drinks he must have dropped over £150 to meet me for beers and a burger. Wow. And why didn’t he take the bus or the train home? Were we out so late it was too late for the train? Wow, time flies when you’re shitfaced. For fucksake, I’m rambling. Anyway.)
He went to give me a hug good-bye, and he wrapped his arms around me and for a moment I nustled my head into his chest. It was so warm and lovely. I could have fallen asleep right there. Then again, I was three sheets to the wind. He didn’t even try to kiss me, so – once again – he’s either a total gentleman, or he’s not interested.
Once I got home (as I said, after a stop off at the chippy), I found a fucking huge arse house party going on in my flat. Doors open, people everywhere, most of whom I
didn’t don’t know, music blaring, everyone smoking and drink cups everywhere. And it wasn’t even that late. Now, you’d think in my inebriated state that I’d be up for a party. Well, you’d be wrong to think that.
I lost my shit.
I went through and kicked out every single person there. Even CoolTrous and PoshPhD. Then I laid into Pete and S. And what really fucks me off, is that S tried to argue with me. Pete pretty much kept his mouth shut, but S tried to argue that it wasn’t a big deal. Even the downstairs neighbors where at the party, so no one in the building minded. And what was my problem, why was I acting the way I was.
I was so angry I couldn’t say a word. I should have said something. I should have said, ‘You live here for free, don’t you fucking dare take advantage of my hospitality.’ I was drunk, mad, and wanted to vomit. I ran into the bathroom, heaved in the toilet. Went into my room and started sobbing.
Pete came into the bedroom and sat down on the bedtress. He apologised and said that they never meant for the party to get so big. He just invited some people, who invited some people. It was the last Thursday before Uni breaks for spring holidays, and he didn’t mean for it to get out of control.
I told him ‘You’re not in Uni!’, and I asked him to get out of the bedroom. I added that he could sleep in the other room, I wanted to be alone.
As soon as he left, I texted Fife: ‘You mentioned that I could use your cottage? Is it free this weekend? I need time away from house guests.’
He texted me immediately with ‘Of course you can stay there. It’s yours for the weekend.’
I texted back ‘Thanks’, and he called immediately. I tried to stifle my sniffles, but he could tell I’d been crying and he asked what’s wrong. I played the drunk card. I didn’t want to go into it all. So, I just said that I was being over emotional because I’m drunk, and I just need somewhere to get away. No big deal.
He said it’s a bus or train toPerth, then another bus to the village. But he could give me a ride if I wanted. He had to come back to Dundee to get his car tomorrow anyway. I tried to protest that he didn’t need to go to the trouble, but he argued that he’d need to meet me to give me the keys anyway. He may as well drive me, ‘It’s no trouble.’
He’s meeting me outside my work today at 6pm, and he’s taking me to the cottage. When I got up this morning I told Pete and S that I was going away for the weekend for work. They didn’t even ask for the details. I’m all packed and I’m not going home after work. I’m really angry, and I need to do something about Pete being in the house. It’s just not working out, but he’s got no where to go. I just need to have a talk with him.
But I don’t need to deal with that right now. I’ve got a raging headache, and I’ve got a whole weekend to look forward to. I can’t wait to stretch out, on my own, no one to bother me. God, I never thought I’d say this, but I miss being alone.