Book Club

Fiction, Pulpit

He walks into the room. The windows are open and the curtains are murmuring slightly. Food is spread out on the one, round table. Dry sandwiches, fresh meze, grapes. It’s like the Temple of Apollo with TV. The house of a classical god finally turned into apartments.

Two chairs in the middle of the room, by the table. There’s a bag on one. Around the walls are sofas of various colours. The bag is her bag.

He sits next to her bag. Drops his satchel in front of him. Looks at the food.

She walks in.

“Where’s everyone else?” he says.

“No-one else is coming.”

“Oh, but I saw -”

“Oh, she’s leaving. She left these books.”

She hands him a thin white tome with one spot of Roman writing on the front.


“I’ve got some stuff too.”

He pulls out a laptop and starts doing something. She sits down next to him, where her bag was, and starts reading a paperback, thoughtfully.

They do this for a while. Sometimes they take nibbles.

Suddenly, he stops typing. He goes to his bag, he pulls out a slab of chocolate and slams it down on the table. Goes back to what he’s doing.

“What’s that?” she says.

“Food. Calories. Fat. Sugar. Food.”

“It’s not food if it doesn’t have calories.”

“Water doesn’t have calories.”


“We still need it though.”

They go back to their stuff for a minute. Typing, reading. Then he starts shuffling. Eventually turns to her.

“Do you want to read it?” He gestures to the computer.


He hands over the laptop. Crosses the room to one of the sofas and lays out. He waits for her to read. He picks at the red grapes, avoids the green ones.


She reads.

“Jeez, I bought all this stuff and no-one turns up.”

“It’ll get eaten.”

“Probably. If we tell them. Some of it’s from earlier. Old and drying.”

“I’ll eat it if no-one else does.”

Waits. Reads.

“You’re a real romantic, you know that.”

He considers.


“Yeah. And there’s something about this that makes me sad, I’m not quite sure what it is but it’s there.”


“Yeah, maybe that’s it. Maybe it feels wistful.”

He walks back across the room, receives the laptop. She picks up her book again, the writing says “Arcadia”.

They perform their tasks.

They stop.

Someone asks.

“Why are we here? There’s only two of us.”

Curtains murmur, seeds from Rivita lie languid on the carpet.

“You know, I think I know why.”


“There’s only the two of us.”

They look at eachother.

“Why don’t you act like you write?”

“Maybe I do. Maybe you just don’t see me.”


“Or maybe my romances are about people who are already together. And I don’t have anyone. And, I don’t know…”

She looks at him. Waits. “Yeah. Just read them stories.”

“Sure, Hannah. Always works a charm.”

“There’s a character in this book called Hannah, you know.”

“Yeah, I read it. Et in Arcadia Ego. You get around, girl.”

“Fuck you, romantic. This is why we can’t have nice things.”


“You ruin them.”

“Et in Arcadia Ego. You don’t have to care.”

“Stop quoting Latin at me. You sound like a suicidal accountant. Oh, Carpe Diem!”


“I think we should have nibbles.” he says.

He crafts a Ryvita canapé, the bed of homous with the topping of goat’s cheese and tomato. He crafts it carefully. Crafts it with flavours in mind. She’s eating grapes.


She takes it. Looks at him and bites.

“Hey, what about the chocolate?” she says, muffled.

He looks between them.

“Let’s tear it open and ravish it. No-one else is coming.”

They go to the chocolate. He opens it sheepishly, offers it to her. She takes two squares, then he takes two.

They bite.

“Mmm. Good chocolate.”

“I bought it special.”

“To make me fat?”

“To make all of us fat. I’m egalitarian like that.”

“And there was me feeling all special.”

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