My local Writers’ Group has some odd bedfellows.
“Darlings,” said Florian Copperplate, our resident calligraphy Nazi, “we must uphold the standards of writing culture by using only the very finest materials. No wonder our masterworks languish unpublished while they offend so many reader sensibilities! Let us employ our collective buying power to purchase several reams of Imperial Fine Stationery with superior signature styling, tradition for excellence and contemporary spirit. I understand they’ll throw in a job-lot of De Luxia full-grain chrome-tanned dyed-through calfskin notebooks with hand-watermarked paper – surely predestined to become our everyday companions? And a little bird tells me we can obtain considerable cost reductions on Escritoire Smoothflow Fountain Pens with their reassuring guarantee of compositional ease and enablement.”
One wavering arm was raised.
“Do you think,” ventured Stan Still, “that exotic accoutrements such as these could help release my, er, log-jam of creative ideas?”
“Indeed,” Florian beamed, “and send them flowing freely all the way to the open sea! What say I sign us up, fellow-scribblers?”
Only I saw him tick the box labelled Agent Discount. Only I saw his smug little smile. Only I could reveal his tawdry treachery.
I thought of his Tame little tales: silly, sentimental encomiums to a golden age that was never more than tinsel and glister. One day, he dreamed, they’d earn him lucrative royalties – even film rights!
I said nothing.