She had just shovelled another spoon into her mouth and coughed it in a projectile ball back out and into the bowl.
‘You did what?’ she narrowed her eyes and pulled her mouth shut in a tight line.
‘These papers describe you,’ he answered pulling himself up straight. He placed his hands face down on the table and tapped the papers with his left hand. ‘This is your character profile, you’re fictional, I’ve created you for this story, you’re the main character. You’re the protagonist.’
She put her spoon down next to her bowl and rested her elbows on the table in front of her. ‘Let’s assume that you’re telling the truth,’ she paused and looked around the restaurant. ‘You know everything about me if you’ve just created me. Right?’
‘Yes of course.’
‘All right then, what’s my name?’
‘Your name’s Sherry.’
‘Don’t be pathetic. Do I look like a Sherry to you? Do I look like a woman who would be sipped down in the evening by ladies entertaining their twilight years? My name’s Rebecca.’
The author’s face dropped and he felt as if he had been hit in the stomach by a heavy saucepan. Physically she was his most beautiful work but he had not expected this. He had created a character so well developed that she had just determined her own name. A knot formed in his stomach forcing a wave of nausea up and into his mouth. He looked back down at the sheets of papers that lay on the table next to him. He suddenly realised that he had focussed almost entirely on her physical aspects while creating her and had left a lot of her personality to chance.
‘Who are you?’ she asked as she resumed eating.
‘I’ve already told you. I’m an author. I’m writing this book and I’ve created you to be part of it.’
‘Well then tell me what happens. What do I do? Where are the other characters?’
‘Let’s not jump ahead of ourselves. I think that events are about to unfold and we’ll find out together. As for the other characters, I have no idea. Yours is the only profile I’ve written for this story. I don’t know where the others are going to come from.’
Rebecca finished eating her starter and wiped the back of her hand across her mouth. Her red lipstick smeared onto her cheek. The author handed her his serviette and tapped on his cheek. He took the lid off his pen and scribbled at the bottom of the notes: Forget the make up on this one.