Canto is a very short novel set in a pub on a Friday night. It is an attempt to portray some of the conversations which take place; and also to exorcise out of my mind all of the little things which annoy me about myself and my own character. Thus people in this novella (or long short story) don’t have names, but titles. A lot of them represent some of the bad sides of my own character.
Nothing really happens, apart from people sitting around and drinking and talking. The talking, really, is the point of the exercise, that sort of crap which people spout when they have a few drinks in them. It allows me, occasionally, to go off at a tangent, and briefly dwell on some subject which matters to me.
Before anybody gets offended at the characters in Canto, I should say that none of them are based upon anybody I know, other than myself.
A canto, according to the dictionary, is a major division of a long poem. this novella is a division of that long poem called life.
Extract from Canto
Somebody dropped a glass. It smashed on the floor. But it was behind the bar, so that’s alright, then. No beer was wasted.
“Oops!” some would-be Comedian shouted out from a table, thinking that he was the zenith of humour. The Comedian was the sort of idiot who sees somebody with a long beard and shouts out “Gandalf” at them, thinking that it is the greatest witticism of all time. If he had not seen the Lord of the Rings movies then he would have shouted out “Jesus” at a person with a beard, and wondered why they didn’t laugh.
Actually, the Comedian did not wonder at that. He was too stupid to realise that some of his asides are nothing but childish puke. He was the sort of twat who shouts out of car windows as he goes past them, just to see them jump. He was not Noel Coward. He was not Oscar Wilde.
The barmaid, meanwhile, had got out a dustpan and brush and was cleaning up the broken glass before somebody stepped on it, crushing the fragments into glittering dust. She cursed mildly under her breath. But it was only a glass. And it dif not have to come out of her minimum wages.
The fragments went into a bin and are instantly forgotten. It was only a glass, after all.
“I wish that she would drop her knickers, and not a glass.” the Comedian quipped, to his three friends at the table. There was Football, and Student, and Lonely. The three of them laughed; they had already been in the pub for some time, although they were not yet in their cups. The Comedian did not notice how forced it was. Had they not been drinking, then they would not have laughed at all.
“She’s okay, I ‘spose.” Lonely said, casting a glance in her direction. But he could not really see her, at the moment, not with all of the people hanging around the bar, getting in the way. He and the others had not arrived until around half past nine, and they were perhaps lucky to have got a seat without having had to wait for half an hour or so.
“Okay? I bet that you wouldn’t throw her out of bed. When was the last time you had a girlfriend? It was a couple of years ago. Karen, wasn’t it? Whatever happened between you two to get her to ditch you? Did you keep farting in bed, or something?”
Lonely did not reply. It was not the Comedian’s business. If he told the reason why, then he knew that his friend would only mock him. It wasn’t funny, anyway. Breaking up with somebody is never a barrel of laughs.
Lonely took a sip of his pint of cider. It was sweet.
“I heard a rumour that they are going to move the World Cup in Qatar to the winter.” Football said. He was only ever happy when talking about football. It was all that he cared about it. And he really could not understand it when people did not share his passion. He could not understand why somebody might be into cricket instead of football; or why somebody might not be into sport at all.
“Yeah, I heard that, as well.” said Student, trying to fit in. He did not go out all that often. It was not that he did not like alcohol. He liked alcohol. It was that he could not afford it. Not at the prices charged in a pub, anyway.
His dad had gone to university for free. It had all been paid for him. And what had his dad become? A bloody used car salesman. And yet Daddy Student still said that his son had to go away and study, even if it would leave him with a debt which he did not think that he would ever pay off.
He was doing English and Media Studies. He wanted to be a journalist. He felt that he was good with the English language (so he wouldn’t be working at the Sun, then).
If you want to read all of Canto, it is available as an e-book on the Amazon Kindle store.