The story fell, plucked and fallen like an apple. Ripe and red with publicity – it was rotten on the inside, an autumn leaf curled in the crackle of the wind. A story wrung so tightly of its home it was dry and uninhabitable, empty of the richness from whence it came. But the tale swept around the book in newspapers and on radios was a rich and full blown erotica. Wide round eyes at the television interview, she, the author, listened to and observed the interviewer, intense like a sketch artist at a train station. Fat slug like words oozed from her mouth when she spoke. The tales she spun from her experiences as she sat on the plump cushions were elaborate and enthralling. Her voice was like a pungent wine flavoured with split vanilla.
The interviewer, a blonde tightly dressed woman, had never read the book. She probably never would. Not because she didn’t want to, because she did. It seemed to her like it would fit her romantic notions beautifully. It was the hype that pulled her, and she had two, now signed, copies that would live on her designer bookshelf. But that’s what books were for, highly decorated bricks. Books took time, and time was something this blonde claimed to have none of.
Prudence, a young woman with a small daughter was watching the interview on the breakfast show. She was feeling an overwhelming betrayal. She was one of the few who had read the book. She had read it over the past two weeks on the loo. That’s where her books lived, and though her daughter still followed her there, it was the only place she sat down for long enough to read it.
The author with shadowy eyes and full sensual lips was murmuring a titillating tale that she claimed was the feature within the pages of her book. Prudence sat with her hands clasped and her thighs pressed tightly together. She was flushed with fury. The story was attractive. It was aesthetic, and it seemed to be stirring hot between her thighs. And she was not happy about it. This was not the book she had read. The book she had read was hollow, and bore no resemblance to this.
By the end of the interview the credits rolled over the author and interviewer talking privately. The author had narrow eyes on the camera. Her nose twitched. She stared directly at Prudence. The young daughter had discovered the power button, and the television flicked dead alive. The author seemed closer and closer to the screen. Her eyes glowed beneath the black crow make up. Prudence felt chilled. The author sniffed again. She knew someone had read her book. And it was a problem.
(Published in ‘Pathways’, a collaboration project with Erin Gaffney as part of the Metonymy project ’08)