Fragments from books that don’t exist: The Conversation Killer


They stood there, staring at me. I had been perfectly happy with my biscuit and tea, but it was always a risk to go to the Coffee Place on a weekday afternoon, because you never knew when they might show up. They were ruthless and apparently never had anything better to do than track you down, walk right up to the table where you’re sitting (perfectly happy with your biscuit and tea) and just stand there, staring at you. They never had anything to say. You were supposed to fill in the blank, their blank, their utter and total blankness. Everything was always fine with them. Nothing was ever new. He was looking for a job again. She was looking forward to some gardening project, some shrub that needed digging up, again. They lived a tightly closed loop, but always wanted to know about you. Your life. Your job. Your shrub. And they would stand there for as long as it took. They would not leave. You would have to be the one to leave, no matter how perfectly happy you had been, no matter how much you’d been enjoying your biscuit and your tea. You would have to suddenly remember an appointment.

When you walked past their house, you hid in the shade on the other side of the street.


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