Last week, I had the absolute privilege to be in great company, and also to read in the Gunmakers Arms, Birmingham. Organised by A.A.Abbott, this was an evening to sample some of the stories that are written by Birmingham authors.
This is only the second time that I have read from one of my books and in public. An exciting opportunity, but also rather nerve-racking. I read from Kangana, and it was interesting to hear the the characters jump out aloud in the room.
There is just something about hearing stories, experiencing the work of authors, that really is pure magic.
When Fictional Characters pay a visit to the Gunmakers Arms.
“For now, just play nice,” Hades blew across the top of his Guinness. He pulled a face having taken a mouthful. “Dionysus lied about this stuff. Muppet.”
“Can’t make me,” Devan pouted as he swirled a wheat-coloured IPA. He had two black eyes and a plaster across his nose.
“Can and will,” replied Hades. “Be civil or I turn you into a horse’s behind. But without the romance of a Mid-Summer’s night dream.”
“Of all the places in Birmingham,” Padmi arrived, clutching a glass of Merlot. She grimaced at Devan to sit next to Hades. “Never been here before. Didn’t realise this belonged to writers and such.
“It’s a nice place; they have two of the most adorable cats.” Hades kicked Devan to attention beneath the table. “If moody knickers here can make it. You and Gorbind will be fine. Gunmaker’s Arms. Looks good to me.”
“Moody knickers who?” Gorbind put another glass down before Devan. He himself had half a pint of lemonade.
“Don’t trust yourself?” Asked Devan, pulling the glass close. “Scared? Reading and all.”
“Just a bit,” he replied, exhaling deeply. “And so is she.” Gorbind looked at the Maroon 5 hoodie that hung on the back of an empty chair.
He knew what she was about to read. Thing is, he hadn’t told his wife. That was scared him. That, was what had him on the lemonade.
Later in the Gunmakers Arms
“Do I kiss you, kill you slowly?” Glaring at her husband, Padmi pressed the cool rim of the wine glass to her lips.
“Slowly, ever so slowly,” wiping tears, Hades laughed. He’d found gin now, and was picking out spiralised zest. “So we can watch.”
“You got laughs,” shaking his head, Devan winced as his nose throbbed. “You actually made people in a Birmingham boozer, laugh. Welcome to the club,” he slugged his IPA and landed a hand to Gorbind’s shoulder.
“Talking to me now, are you?” Slurping lemonade, Gorbind took his turn with not playing nice.
“You may have broken my nose,” replied Devan, “But you’ll need hell to freeze over before you break my spirit.”
“I can do that, hic!” Hades momentarily looked bashful. “God, Padmi ought to nail your bits to-“
“You scared her,” Padmi cut off the Lord of the Underworld to once more pin Gorbind to his seat. “She took a chance on you; read you aloud, tripped over almost every inch to keep going. The pair of us, she gave us a reason for being. Made you real. Remember that.”
A sudden hush had unfurled around the table. The lights crackled, a darkness descended.
Then they were gone.
Devan Coultrie is from Retreating to Peace: A peace series Novella. Earlier this year, he made his Birmingham debut at a Tippling Tales event. Hades, is a work in progress: more details on him in the future!
A special mention to A.A.Abbott and also the Gunmakers Arms, Birmingham.
Thanks also to JA Media for the images.