I’m sure you’ve heard the whole thing about writers eavesdropping in on interesting conversations and mining such speech for tasty stuff to put in our work. I listen to people a lot for this reason although I’m woman enough to admit being a nosey article in any case, or as Andy puts it “you have an endless thirst for knowledge”.
Last night in a curry house with my friend Suzy who is a poet and so indulges in a bit of earwigging too, were enjoying a rather fine curry with all the trimmings. Trimmings are essential, I feel. You can’t have a nice Indian meal without poppadoms and onion bhajis, can you?
The door opened. We heard voices, loud ones. Two well built (that’s a euphemism by the way) men plonked themselves at the table next to Suzy and I.
Yay, lucky us, I thought.
The boorish pair’s voices boomed around the restaurant as they started a conversation both were determined everyone else would and should hear. One had recently been on holiday in Denmark “where they did The Killing, that tv show, have you heard of it?” The other revealed he only married his wife “only because she was up the duff”. What a lucky woman!
The men were served by the same waitress as us, a young woman great at her job. She made sure we were happy with our food but didn’t hassle us with endless queries and took our plates away quickly, quietly. She was pleasant, with lots of smiles.
The two men took a shine to her too but in a rather different way. It was like they’d read the A to Z of Rubbish Flirting and followed every piece of useless advice to the letter. They leered, stared at her breasts and basically treated her like crap, nodding at each other and winking.
When she came over to take away the remnants of their starters, they grinned wetly.
“Where’ve you been?”
“We missed you!”
In an effort to make the waitress stay they asked about her, wanted to know where she was from and did she come to the UK with her family, her parents?
“No,” she said. “With my husband. And I’m very happily married. Thank you all the same.”
That shut them up. It was so beautifully done, Suzy and I wanted to applaud.
Of course the exchange is going in my next book for sure, as is a conversation Andy and I listened to agog, just last week in a pub.
“My ex-wife wouldn’t put up with it. My sister wouldn’t put up with it. My daughter definitely wouldn’t put up with it, but Jill does. The doormat! HA HA HA HA!!!!”
I hope Jill pisses in his dinner.
Read the first chapter of Black Milk plus synopsis here