A Passion for Unearthly Slang
“Let’s go in here,” I said, though my mind was somewhere else.
“Okay,” said my friend, and we ascended the wide stairway to the cafe above the bargain store. I came to myself a little at the sight of red upholstery, dark polished wood and waiters in bowties. We took seats near the window, next to a table full of senior ladies sipping red wine. After ordering iced chocolate, we exchange pleasantries.
Then Ruth asks how my novel is doing. I feel my eyes light up and I begin to pour forth words to tell of my latest edits and the slang I’m inventing.
“Slang?” Her eyebrow goes up. I launch into a passionate explanation about my distant future world where my characters cannot possibly speak the Queen’s English. After that, I follow up by describing the exact chop-and-mingle process I use to create these words, complete with wild gesticulations.
At length I stop speaking, lower my hands, and tremble slightly while gripping my glass of chocolate. It’s now that I realise my heart rate is accelerated and something closely related to adrenaline is pumping through my veins. In the sudden silence I notice some of the grannies peering at me over their wine glasses. Did I talk that loud? Gulp.
“Fascinating.” Ruth shakes her head and grins, and I wonder whether she really wanted to hear so much about societal norms on the Planet Viva and all that linguistic detail about the deep structure of words. Too late now. Then I catch her eye and we share a giggle. She’s happy for me, knowing this story is my baby every bit as much as the child growing in her womb.
Her son Benjamin was born a week later, and Lord willing, I’ll be able to write The End under my last page before I leave the country next month...
(if you want to see Benjamin, he's here: