Good to hear you are back in circulation; concerned citizens were, well, concerned.  We have missed you.  The three of us who turned up last week even discussed wistfully how much more fun the event would be if only The Moo were there.


Actually, as close as I can recall it, the conversation went like this (quotes may be assigned to George, Alex or Katherine):


"Where is everyone?"


"Everyone who?"


"You know.  Everyone."


"Haven't seen them."


"Seen who?"


"Wait a sec; is it 'seen who' or 'seen whom'?"


long pause...


"So, has anyone tried the new latte at Starbuck's?"


"Not yet.  Have you?"


"Yeah.  Too sweet."








much longer pause...


"Um, so what were we talking about?"


"Starbucks.  I think."


"Is anyone going to read?"




"This is a reading group.  For writers."






"It's not a knitting group?"








"That explains the wool."


"Don't you mean 'woolgathering?"


very long pause...


"That was a joke!"


"Did you ever notice that the people sitting behind us reading the books they haven't bought yet from Chapters and probably don't intend to buy, are looking at us in annoyance?"


"Say again?"


"Those people!  The cheapskates robbing poor writers of royalties!  Just like that jerk in that soft lounge chair, wearing the red and black striped sweater and the glasses with the ugly black plastic rims, yeah, I'm talkin' about you, buddy!  Didn't pay for that novel, did you!  I'm reporting you to the Defrauded Writers' Emergency Enforcement Directorate Section (D.W.E.E.B.S.) for immediate action!


short pause...


"Hey, great, he left his coffee and half a slice of banana bread.  I call dibs."


"These lounge chairs are much more comfortable than the metal chairs, don't you think?"


"And he left his book, too!  We should do this every week."


"Wouldn't Chapters get annoyed?"


"What for?  We're driving away non-paying characters, aren't we?  Besides, they forgot our red tablecloth three weeks in a row."


"Oh, OK.  Fair's fair, then.  Well, who's going to read?"






"Marilyn?  Is she here?"




"Don't think so."




long pause, broken by sounds of coffee being sipped and banana bread being munched...


"So, what were we talking about?"


"The tablecloth."


"What tablecloth?"


"The tablecloth we don't have."


"Where is it, then?"


"I bet Mariliyn knows."


"Yeah.  Isn't she the coordontr-- coordinit-- codonneratrix-- the one who organizes it all?"


"I think so."


"I heard a rumour to that effect."


"Well, we can't have a meeting without a tablecloth."


"And we're all out of banana bread."


"Say, doesn't that guy coming this way with the two big security guards look familiar?"


"Yes; there is something I recognize about the way the fluorescent lighting twinkles on his ugly black plastic glasses."


very, very short pause...


"So we're agreed; if anyone asks, we're all named 'Marilyn'."


"One of those coincidence things."


"Exactly.  Happens all the time.  Whose car is fastest?"




"Yours, in other words."


"Or yours."


"Or mine!" 


sound of feet rapidly running away, a motor catching and wheels screeching and a voice fading into the distance, shouting "Try the banana bread...."



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