December 05 2015

 L. F. Roth

 

Aristotelian, Is It?

Shandy

 

This is what happened: there were Leonard and Sheila and Brenda and Stuart, and me, naturally, or else I wouldn’t know what transpired, would I, the fifth wheel, that’s me, but that’s not what this is about, I’m used to it, and we were drinking and enjoying each other’s company as per usual, chatting about this and that—a deli that had opened recently off King’s Road, on the expensive side, a restaurant somebody’s friend had tried and wouldn’t set foot in ever again. But then, I don’t know how, but in all likelihood it was Sheila’s doing, they got onto a different subject altogether and started talking about some interview they’d seen, the four of them, with Jonathan Franzen, on a channel I don’t have access to, and really went for him. You should have heard them. ‘In Freedom,’ one of them said, ‘the parents are straight out of Dickens, if not worse, and their kids end up misfits because of how they’ve treated them.’ ‘It’s not true to life,’ Sheila chimed in, and Stuart who most likely hadn’t read the book, he’s not much of a reader, Stuart isn’t, well, he nodded, as I knew he would, he just can’t help himself the way Sheila’s been leading him on of late, while Leonard, bless his socks, missing the point, blurted out: ‘And far too long.’ He put down his glass for emphasis, which luckily was empty or it would have made a right mess, and it was Brenda’s turn to nod. I can play your game too, was what she meant, siding with Leonard, but didn’t have to say in so many words: Stuart would know regardless, even though rumour has it that they no longer sleep in the same bed. And they went on, the three of them, with Stuart backing them, tearing the book apart, all five hundred pages of it--I have seen it if I haven’t read it and it must be that or more. A lot of words, I tell you. ‘It’s the kids’ own doing,’ said Sheila, as if she was one of the parents who’d been blamed for the effect that they’d had on their brats and Stuart, getting bold, joined in: ‘Yeah.’ ‘So you’re saying,’ I cut in, opening my mouth for the first time, unable to contain myself, ‘that parents don’t? That they don’t have an influence?’ They looked at me as if to say, Where did you come from? But I didn’t care. ‘Mine certainly did,’ I told them. ‘If they hadn’t had children, I’m bloody sure I wouldn’t.’ That shut them up.

 

About the Author

Stories by L. F. Roth have appeared in competition anthologies published by Biscuit Publishing (2011), Earlyworks Press (2012, 2012-13, 2014), and Bridge House Publishing (2014), as well as on the web (Segora, 2012). They focus on relationships, gender issues and trauma--at times all three.

Published December 05 2015