They Were Actors

by Peter Wild

They were actors, the two of them, the man and the woman, they were actors and they were engaged in a relationship, apparently, one with the other, as they lay - he on his perfectly toned tummy, her, upright on her much-discussed bottom - upon a patchwork blanket on Clapham Common, this brightly lit summer Sunday afternoon, books, newspapers, fruit and smoothies all within reaching distance. Not that either of them was reading or eating. They were hardly even talking. The reason for this was simple: they were (the both of them) hyper-aware of the fact that the two of them (the actor and the actress, the - can we say it? yes we can - famous actor and the famous actress) were together on Clapham Common for all the world to see, for all of the other no doubt lovely people who had chosen to spend their summer Sunday afternoon lounging in the sun but also for the inevitable snapping papster who was (no doubt) currently click-click-clicking their likeness into shot after trivial digital shot, thereby immortalising the two of them together in the pages of tomorrow's newspaper or next week's supplemental style mag or next month's Hello or Heat or whatever. This was publicity and publicity these days was as easy as ordering a pizza. Much later, the actress would say that that afternoon they shared together on Clapham Common was the most fun the two of them ever had together ("outside of the bedroom"), but it wasn't true, the two of them never had any actual fun at all, it was all part of the game, from the self-conscious way she lay her hand upon his back to the smile he chose to adopt in response, everything was calculated and empty but that - the calculation, the emptiness - was all they knew.

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Peter Wild, author of The Black Francis Flirtation Device, is the editor of The Flash & Perverted by Language: Fiction inspired by The Fall. You can read more here.