‘How’s it going then?’
‘Your ‘New Book’,’ says the book.
‘Fine, thanks,’ I say.
‘No early difficulties with point of view or using flashbacks? No blocks?’
‘No blocks, no, nothing like that,’ I say. ‘It’s going fine,’ I say again.
‘Well, that’s great,’ the book says. ‘I’m happy for you.’ The book gets up and strides to the window. ‘I’m happy for you,’ it says, with its back to me.
‘Somehow I don’t believe you.’
‘And you’d be right,’ the book says. ‘I hope your New Book is a disaster. I hope it dies. I hope you never write another word.’
‘Let me get this right,’ I say. ‘Effectively you are saying you want to be my last book. You love yourself that much? You’re weirder than I thought.’
‘That is what I am saying, yes.’ The book gives a little sniff. It stays at the window, pretending to take an interest in the street outside.
‘In that case there isn’t anything more for us to say to each other.’
There is a long silence. From outside there is birdsong, a lone robin, then a great tit. A neighbour slams a car door, then revs its engine.
‘No blocks at all?’ the book says finally.
‘If I told you there were some, would you care?’ I say.
‘Not much,’ the book says.
‘Enough to help?’ I say.
‘Not enough to help, no.’
Art by Kath Hadden