The men who wore suits, and talked too loudly

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These men came into the shop, friends, wearing rather beautiful suits, which is unusual around here for the middle of the day. They stayed in conversation, moving from shelf to shelf, discussing things far beyond the bookshop. They talked very loudly. There was an interruption with a phone call. They made plans for the evening.

One man said, what about Gayle?

The other said, no, don’t worry, we don’t want the kids there, she’ll stay home.

The friend said, sure?

And the first man said, yeah.

Then he said, is that Watership Down? Isn’t it about dogs or something?

Rabbits.

They bought it. At the counter, they said, how’re you going?

I said, I am at the height of my menopausal powers right now.

I saw their eyes flicker. There was a contraction in the muscles around the mouth. They breathed in, squared up, were polite. They said, no worries.

Then they said, thank you very much, and left the shop. As they passed through the door, their mouths still held the uncomfortable shape.

I forgot to tell them, well done, for Watership Down, a brilliant book.