I wrote a true story the other day, heavily disguised, so the actual people involved remain private; it was about a person who I know very well who I called Blaine, and in a fictitious location, The Easthope and Area Local History Museum, I transposed another real person as a fictional curator who I called Darius. I’ve changed everything about the people in my true story – I might even have changed genders! You won’t recognise these people, even if you knew them, but the facts of the story are absolutely true. My friend was telling me about another episode.
Georgie, an old friend of Blaine’s who didn’t visit Easthope very often called to say she was in town, looking at an exhibition at the museum on rope and rope-making, and could they meet for coffee… and maybe some cake!
It seemed an excellent idea, and with a little quiver of anticipation, in case Darius was working, Blaine agreed to meet her. Blaine thought she was a little early, as she strolled in; she had walked as it was a pleasant day and she thought she needed the exercise. However Georgie was already there, and to Blaine’s surprise and delight another friend was with her, Paddy, who she hadn’t seen for a very long time.
Paddy and Georgie were sitting at a table in the main café part of the museum – it was all open plan so visitors were walking all around; they had got a chair for her and it was facing them, and facing the window looking out into the little courtyard. In a way, Blaine was glad she had her back to the counter, and to the museum desk and little shop.
Blaine was so pleased to be with her two old friends and they chatted and laughed, and caught up with each other’s news, and with the latest on families and other friends. There were tables on either side of them, rather close in fact, but it didn’t matter, there was nothing private or confidential in what they were saying.
“I say young man,” said a rather sever looking woman on the ext table, her glasses perched on the end of her nose.
Someone came and stood beside Blaine to talk to the woman who was complaining about her coffee being too strong, and it was Darius.
He talked about the coffee, served from the café and took her cup away to get her tea instead.
“let’s go and look at the rope-making exhibition!” exclaimed Blaine and jumped up and got he coat and bag.
Her friends had finished their drinks and were ready to move to the upstairs gallery where ropes, rope makers and rope making were on display, and feeling embarrassed herself, Blaine hurried across the stairs before Darius could return with the tea.
I have used The Easthope and Area Local History Museum as a setting for my truly fictional story about Malcolm the curator – he really is an invention!