I ordered a cappuccino for my Mum on a recent visit to England, and she was presented with this baby’s potty of suds. It wasn’t unlike the coffee that Francis ordered in the following extract from An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity. The narrator is Thea.
I pointed to a coffee shop and we went in. He ordered what looked to be a litre of coffee foam, a supermegaccino I think it was called. I had Earl Grey. I waited for him to speak.
“I never forgot you Thea.”
“Why did you pick on me all those years ago? You did target me, didn’t you? It wasn’t just random?”
“I did. I picked on you on purpose. I wanted what Jack had. What they owed me.”
“You wanted me as part of his chattels?”
“No, it wasn’t like that. First of all I just wanted a life like his, wife, children, some kind of future. But when I saw you I …” He faltered. “I fancied you.”
“Fancied me? What, fancied me like a greyhound? Fancied me like a set of golf clubs? Anyway, there was no money in those days. Jack’s parents were still alive. You couldn’t have had his life or his future. You couldn’t just bundle his life up and put it in a van.”
“There wasn’t any money, sure, but there was you, but you’re not getting my meaning. I really fancied you.”
“I see,” I said. “I think we might be talking about lurv, like in the pop songs … you wanted me to be your lurv. You lurv me. I fall in lurv with you. It’s all lurvely. Stop messing me around.”
Francis sucked on the huge coffee cup. He wiped a foam moustache away with a napkin and looked at me balefully. “Don’t take the piss. I mean it. It’s you I wanted all the time. I do love you.”
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