We are seated in Goldsmith's non-Quad, for once all of The Writers being together on account of us being on lunchbreak. Let the record show that in respect of things like lunchbreaks and actual classes and suchlike my MA has been much more like school than my BA ever was. I, however, am a late arrival to the group, what with being a busy and important person and having had a date by the river* a couple of hours earlier.
"Coreen?" My eyebrows are somewhere near my hairline.
"Yes, Coreen" Breakfast Club Boy says, the combination of his newly BRIGHT RED hair and the sun making his skin strikingly pink.
"You mean, Connie" Charming Canadian offers.
My name, it is clear, remains a source of ongoing entertainment. I cling to the assertions that this is due to affection rather than outright malicious bullying.
"What do you think of Augusto Boal?" Breakfast Club Boy asks.
I shrug my shoulders. "I don't know his work that well". It is moments like this when my literary rather than dramary background becomes obvious. I can take this on the chin. I've read the complete works of Shakespeare, Beowulf and Harry Potter after all. It is a small price to pay.
There is a sharp intake of breath from Arsenal Fan.
"She did it! She killed Boal!" Arsenal Fan exclaims.
"He's dead?" It is a piece of information that I was unaware of.
Charming Canadian and Breakfast Club Boy nod.
"And you killed him" Breakfast Club Boy asserts.
"First Pinter, then J G Ballard, now Boal...where will it end?"
This is possibly the point when I should make a few things clear. When The Homecoming was one of our set texts my
"You're killing anyone who is better than Tom Stoppard!" Breakfast Club Boy proclaims. I can see the lightbulb above his head.
It would seem there is never a missed opportunity for some Tom Stoppard bashing.
Charming Canadian shakes his head. "Who's next?"
"I haven't decided". I should, after all, keep my options open. Even given the fact that the people whose deaths I am charged with were old, ill men who died of natural causes.
"You're going to kill HipBo!" Charming Canadian asserts.
HipBo is neither old nor male. Plus, if I could vaguely imagine someone having enough of the Arsenal-ness from Arsenal Fan, or the extended rants about theatre-ropes gone wrong from Charming Canadian or the tie dye from Breakfast Club Boy, or, even, in the sake of fairness, my own ridiculousness and murdering us all then the same cannot be said of HipBo. And, more than that, she is sitting to my left.
"All the greats - Pinter, Ballard, Boal and now HipBo".
It is safe to say this wasn't quite what I imagined when I signed up to going back to school.
*Not an actual date. A work date. Or interview as some might call it. And, yes, should you be wondering, there shall be a second date. So I've got another company I've got to make up a fake name for.