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Tom Eaton

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Overheard at the Cape Town Book Fair

Malcontents among the fruit flies, two English visitors sat ruminating about the slabs of Book Fair Meat on their plates. I had asked to share the corner of their table, for there was no room at the inn, and she had waved a blinged finger and redistributed her collagen into what, in her girlhood, had been a smile.

As far as I could tell through one disdainfully turned ear, the Book Fair Meat was an immense disappointment, although he seemed to be enjoying being disappointed.

“I suppose it’s what you get,” he said, secretly relishing being stiffed by natives.

“Stringy,” she said. “From there?”

“Over…don’t look, yes, that enormous Afrikaans fellow. Behind him.”

“The Afrikaans one gave it to you?”

“Behind him. He was literally putting books down on all the chairs, like you do with towels on the deck chairs.”

Presumably one can put down books on deck chairs in a figurative sense.

“Dear me,” he said.

“Is it stringy?” she asked. Apparently stringiness was on her mind. God knows it was all over her neck and wrists.

“No,” he said. “Quite, eh, sort of needs something.”

“Do you want another?” she asked helpfully.

Remarkably, he said, “Perhaps.”

End of coffee, end of scene.

 

Recent comments:

  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    June 19th, 2008 @18:15 #
     
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    I do believe you're writing flash fiction, Tom Eaton. Or flash creative non-fiction.

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    June 19th, 2008 @20:32 #
     
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    Only real conversation could be that odd. Although I suspect the exchange has been fine-tuned here and there.

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  • <a href="http://tomeaton.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Tom</a>
    Tom
    June 20th, 2008 @23:13 #
     
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    Flash creative non-fiction, eh?

    Sounds bit like Genesis as read by the devout.

    And yes, Richard, it was a real conversation, in that neither party listened to the other, and all words were merely substitutes for "I hate you so much but murder is illegal and if we divorce I lose the timeshare in Ibiza".

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  • <a href="http://richarddenooy.book.co.za" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    June 21st, 2008 @00:18 #
     
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    Magnify and focus to see the monsters.

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  • <a href="http://liesljobson.bookslive.co.za" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    Liesl
    June 21st, 2008 @03:52 #
     
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    Check out Brevity, Tom. They have some great CNF flash: http://www.creativenonfiction.org/brevity/

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