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A Man of Yet a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison

The Novel

Robert Smith turned the key in his front door. It had been a long day at work, but he had much to do this evening. His new novel was nearing completion, and his publisher had rung him twice during the day, anxious to read the completed work.

As he entered the hallway he met his wife, standing with arms folded and looking angry.

‘What’s up, Jenny?’ he asked.

‘I used your laptop, today,’ she replied curtly.

‘That’s fine,’ Robert responded.

‘I know about you and Elena,’ Jenny stated coolly.

‘That’s fine too,’ said Robert, ‘but keep it to yourself. I don’t want other people to know just yet.’

‘I’m sure you don’t. You certainly didn’t let me know about the affair.’

Robert looked puzzled. ‘What affair?’

‘The affair with Elena.’

‘Does it matter?’ Robert replied.

‘How can you be so cool about it?’ Jenny screamed. ‘I’m your wife. I’ve every right to know!’

‘Elena is only a character in my novel,’ said a confused Robert.

‘But you kept having sex with her.’

I didn’t,’ Robert defended himself. ‘The novel just happens to be written in the first person. It’s fiction, for heaven’s sake. It’s not as if it’s a biography. I mean, it’s set in the year 2098 in the Andromeda galaxy.’

‘Which I suppose is your excuse for your even more depraved behaviour. No wonder Elena left you for that space pilot from Epsilon Vega.’

‘What more depraved behaviour?’

Jenny picked up a book from the hall table and threw it at Robert. ‘Nioula from Alpha Sirius!’ she screamed.

‘What about her?’

‘You kept having sex with her too, and she’s not even human for God’s sake. Have you got no morals?’

‘Look, Jenny, I think you’re getting this out of perspective. The protagonist in that book, Jet Spacewalker, isn’t real.’

Jenny ignored Robert’s feeble excuse. ‘And where am I in all this?’

‘You’re not in the book… I mean Jet’s not married.’

‘So you pretend I don’t exist. Elena and Nioula didn’t even know about me.’


That evening when Robert sat down at his word processor, he thought about Jenny’s reaction. It was true that he was not Jet Spacewalker, Intergalactic Commando, but when he wrote in the first person, he did find that he related more closely to the character than when he wrote from other points of view. There was certainly some part of him in such characters. Perhaps he should write Jenny into the story.

He returned to the part of the novel that developed Jet’s backstory and added a new paragraph:

One of the reasons Jet had joined the Intergalactic Commandos was to try to forget about his ex-wife, Jenny. He had no doubt that she was the most beautiful and intelligent woman in the Universe and had been devastated when she had left him for the richest, handsomest and most virile man in the Alpha quadrant.

He called Jenny to the computer. ‘Will that do?’ Robert asked, pointing to the new text.

‘OK,’ said Jenny, ‘I’ll let you off.’ She left Robert’s office and returned to the lounge.

Robert quickly completed the new biography:

Many people thought she deserved it, however, when she was subsequently trampled to death by a herd of Veralian Metabison on Beta Centauri.