'Hello, Toady. How're you today?'
'What are you doing?'
'I was just telling people about the LBF . . .'
'That's my job.'
'Really? Were you there as well?'
'I'm meant to be interviewing you for the Toady Times.'
'Who said so?'
'Me? Are you sure?'
'You said, and I quote: "Come and interview me after the LBF and I'll tell you all the gory details and who was sleeping with whom."'
'They say that forgetfulness is the first sign.'
'No, that's talking to yourself.'
'Well, I never.'
'So, what was the LBF like?'
'Ah! Now you're asking.'
'Yes I am.'
'Oh, okay then. Well, the days were long.'
'More or less.'
'What about the people?'
'There were two types.'
'Those who liked your book, and those who didn't?'
'No - Amazon people and other people.'
'Are Amazon people different from other people?'
'Very much so.'
'In what way?'
'Some of them liked to speak American.'
'Is that because they were American?'
'Could be, but one guy - who thought he was an American - went to see Chelsea beat PSG.'
'Maybe he had British genes?'
'Do we still make British jeans?'
'Were these Amazon people all American?'
'You would think so, but no - some of them live in this country.'
'As illegal immigrants, you mean?'
'I shouldn't say this . . .'
'But you will?'
'There were two . . .'
'Yeah. They even had English names. One was called Amy - Amazon seem to employ a lot of Amy's - Amy Tipper, and a guy who had a permanent smile called Darren Hardy . . .'
'I suppose you'll report them to the Illegal Immigration Board?'
'You know, I don't think we've got one those anymore.'
'Oh well. What about the other people?'
'Readers and writers.'
'At a book fair?'
'I was astounded as well.'
'I bet you were. So, what did they want?'
'That's a good question.'
'Did you give them the benefit of your experience?'
'You know me, Toady.'
'Always happy to talk about myself.'
'That's true. And did they listen to what you had to say?'
'Yeah, I saw a few people nodding, pulling faces, grimacing - you know, that type of thing.'
'You're certainly a good talker.'
'You would say that, Toady.'
'You've trained me well.'
'And afterwards . . . ?'
'You went down the pub?'
'Ah! If only, Toady my friend. No, people came up for a chat.'
'That must have been nice?'
'Oh yes. I gave some of my books away, and even signed a few.'
'That's not like you.'
'I know. It must have been the occasion. I was feeling impetuous, carefree, full of wild abandonment . . .'
'Is that because you had too many the night before?'
'More than likely, but you know what?'
'I kind of enjoyed talking to people.'
'You don't normally.'
'I know, I know! But they say that a change is as good as a rest.'
'Oh, okay. Is that it then?'
'Nearly. There were two other people there.'
'You sound vague.'
'Well, one was the famous Mel Sherratt . . .'
'Taunting the Dead?'
'The very same.'
'I love her books.'
'As much as you love my books?'
'That's not a question a friend asks another friend.'
'Of course not! So, what was Mel like?'
'I thought you said she was there.'
'Mmmm! But she was like a wraith - flitting here and there to talk, and network, and have meetings, and jabber, and . . .'
'That's what women normally do, isn't it?'
'You can't say things like that here, Toady - this is a family-friendly blog.'
'So, you didn't see much of her?'
'What about the other person?'
'What, with green skin and bug eyes?'
'The very same - masquerading as someone called Steven McKay.'
'And what was he like?'
'No idea. He'd written a book on Robin Hood called Wolf's Head.'
'Maybe it's you.'
'Me? I don't know how you can say that, Toady. He spoke in an alien language, and you know I'm no good at things like that.'
'The name sounds Scottish.'
'Yeah, that's it - a country called Glasgow.'
'Never heard of it.'
'Me neither. I saw a lot of him, but I couldn't understand a word he was saying.'
'So, overall how did you find the experience?'
'Would you go back and do it all again?'
'Steady on, Toady. I've got books to write.'
'But you would, wouldn't you?'
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