The novelist stared at the Press.
The Press returned the stare. ‘You can’t phase me, you know. You’re allegedly fictional.’
‘Ah,’ said the novelist. ‘We were getting to that, weren’t we? We were going to discuss whatever it is that it going on. Weren’t we?’
‘What of it?’
‘Well,’ said the novelist, unsure of where to begin, ‘to begin with, you—that is—you’re sitting—’
‘On me,’ said the poet wearily.
‘What?’ exclaimed the Press. ‘Rubbish! We journalistic types—we always foster and support the arts, we do!’
‘For once, though I defile my reputation in so doing,’ said the poet, ‘I will speak without metaphor. Will you for the love of fudge just gerroff?’
The Press sprang to his feet as if he’d been struck. Which, metaphorically, he had. ‘Why on earth didn’t you say so before? Certainly, certainly. Anything to support those of the arts, you know.’
‘I refrain from commenting on that.’ The poet crawled his way upright, grappling unsuccessfully to massage himself between the shoulder blades. ‘Being, as you put it, of the arts, and thus of a highly sensitive and easily bruised nature, I will compose abstract verse about it.’
He closed his eyes, murmured. ‘falderal! / seven and it’s monstrosity /like cold waves over my feet / days without night /endless /upon the seven thousand elemental attributes of the velocity of light according to the Hegelian measure of physics written upon the arteries of the world /in very large capitals and /in crayon, probably. / Fools! /to abandon the cold water at my feet for—’
‘I think,’ said the novelist not too loudly, but just loudly enough to get echoes bellowing off of every crag and crevice, ‘you were about to tell us what’s going on?’
The poet opened his eyes irritably. ‘That’s not exactly something we say around here. You have no respect for us of the arts, you know.’
‘That’s probably,’ said the novelist, ‘because I am. Of the arts. Ish. In other words, I know how it’s done. Now what is going on, please?’
‘I was getting to that,’ said the poet.
‘Really?’ The Press flipped open his notebook, began scribbling bewildered sheep. ‘About how long would you say you’ve been getting to that?’
The poet proved beyond any reasonable doubt that those of the arts are capable of withering glares. ‘As the sole surviving and embodied member of the Committee for the Preservation of the Liberation Of, and that one of the arts who wrote their Assertion of Meaningful Existence, I must say—’ He waved his hands. ‘Happy Pillsday! And—oh. Nothing is going on whatever.’
‘Excuse me,’ said the novelist sweetly. ‘Ten thousand screaming baboons just chased through a maze of towering rocks under the light of three feeble stars. A few moments before, we were in a committee meeting in an abandoned cigar shop, and within the past few hours I’ve fallen through an inexplicable portal through time and space. So, let’s none of us panic, but don’t try and tell me nothing is going on whatever!’
The Press and the poet gawped at the novelist.
‘You may have a point there,’ said the poet.
‘Rather!’ The Press scrawled another bewildered sheep.
‘I have, have I?’ said the novelist. ‘Then what is going on, dare I ask?’
The Press flipped a page. A bewildered sheep bounded away into the gloom, bleating. ‘It is Pillsday, you know. It’s not like you can’t take a holiday from asking questions.’
‘Half a moment and I shall get philosophical.’ The poet clasped his hands behind his head. ‘For instance, can anything be said to happen if everyone pretends it didn’t ? Does it matter if something happens or something does not if what seems to happen doesn’t seem to mind not happening?’
The novelist stared after the the bewildered sheep. ‘Excuse me, but did anyone just see that?’
To read more, try starting here. More to come, of course, presumably.