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Thursday, May 18, 2006


Da Vinci code gossip

Mess room this lunchtime; one of the guys (I’ll call him Charlie) has been ploughing through Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci code’. Trouble is, he’s treating a declared work of fiction as gospel truth.
“Hey Bill, according to this Jesus got married and raised a family.” He’s sitting there, absorbing this paperback and blurting out his revelations at a rate of knots. I’m trying to concentrate on ‘The Welfare State We’re In’ by James Bartholomew and I’m thinking – ‘Dear Lord spare me’. Charlie is one of our newer brethren and bright enough to want to read, but a little too, well, enthusiastic if you catch my drift.

Being an avid reader myself; I am happy to encourage the art, but Charlie is at the stage where although his reading is catholic, it is not yet broad or deep enough to base intelligent discussion upon. At this precise moment he’s becoming rather tedious. To be honest, if it wasn’t periodically chucking it down with rain I’d be outside just to get out of his way. Trouble is he’d follow me and keep on twittering. Hmm, time to nip this one in the bud I think.

“Look Charlie it’s a work of fiction.” I respond to the latest astonished outpouring.
“Yeah, but Bill, it’s based on all these facts, right?” Oh shit, here we go.
“Charlie, that’s what some authors do. It’s called ‘faction’ or a dramatised version of events, but it is not true.” I’m sinking fast – help!
“Yeah, but what if it is true?” This boy’s a fool.
“Charlie, it’s a work of fiction. Very well written, but it is still a work of fiction. I envy Mr Brown’s royalties, but I’m really not interested in it myself.”
“Bloody good book. What if it were true?” Right, that’s it. I’m going to hit him if the stupid bastard won’t shut up.
At this point I snap. “Look Charlie. The Da Vinci code is fiction. Yes there was a historical figure, a religious zealot who matches the profile so to speak, who was executed by crucifixion. His name was Joshua ben Joseph and he died in the reign of the Emperor Tiberius. That is recorded fact. All else is hearsay and I want to read my book – thank you!” Sometimes you have to drive it home with a sledgehammer.
“Yeah but.”
“Charlie!” My voice has sunk to a warning growl.
“Bill, just….”
“Charlie, shut the fuck up. I don’t want to discourage your reading, but I want to read too.”
“Well I only..”
“Charlie, give it a rest.”
“Have you read it?”
“Not until I’ve read this.” I brandish my own reading material. “Which I’m not likely to finish if I keep on getting interrupted.”
“Sorry mate.”
“Yeah, well I’m sorry too Charlie, but just let me read in peace will you?”

Charlie shuts up. Thank you Lord. The only problem is, his oppo Andy, who has an opinion for every flaming day of the bloody week has taken an interest. There’s only one way to deal with him and that is to do the old ‘rope-a-dope’ and let him blather on without listening to a word he says. Some of the older guys I can see grinning quietly. ‘Oh good. It’s Bills turn in the barrel’ I can literally see the relief on their faces, smug bastards.
“You know it’s really quite interesting.” Andy opens.
“Andy, it may be interesting, but I want to read this.” I indicate my book.
“What’s that about?”
“Politics, and the failure of the welfare state.” I reply.
“I think that’s a bit strong, the welfare state isn’t really a failure.”
“Andy, that is something I will make my own mind up about, once I have finished reading this book, and perhaps am enlightened enough to have an opinion.” Shit, all I wanted was a quiet read. He peers at the cover.
“Oh it’s that one.” He says dismissively, as if he’s read it.
“Yes.” I say tersely. “If I am going to be allowed to read.”
“Ooh, get her.” He indicates that I am being a bit of a drama queen by flapping his wrist limply at me.
“Now fuck off.” I snarl.
“No need to be like that.”
“Yes there is. Fuck off or I’ll stick your hand held computer where the sun don’t shine.” Sometimes threats and violence are the only answer.
“Got out the wrong side of bed did we?”
“Yes, now fuck off and nick someone.” That was it, my reading pleasure was ruined and I gave up, put my book away and went back out on patrol, despite the bloody rain. You can’t win ‘em all. Or win at all sometimes. Grr.


Anonymous ArthurII said...

It's a pity he's suppressing Charlie's enthusiasm here.

Monday, December 18, 2006 10:51:00 pm  

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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