Around three hundred something years ago, in a small Islington flat, three popes and a Volkswa-- Sorry, wrong bit. Around three hundred something years ago, in a small Islington flat, three completely naked hot gi-- Sorry, wrong bit again. This time I've got it, though. Around three hundred something years ago, in a small Islington flat, four friends, two girls, two guys, were sitting around a perfectly normal coffee table, with four perfectly normal and perfectly empty coffee cups in front of their perfectly normal people-bodies. They were talking about a date one of them had that night. "So," said Mark, "there we are. And what does she do?" "What?" asked the other three in one of the lower forms of enthusiasm. "She stands there, on the pavement, in the middle of it, and she lowthers. She actually lowthers. The concept, of lowthering, is this. Standing aimlessly on the pavement, in the middle of it, and argue about what to do next. Go eat Chinese nearby? Go eat Indian at some place someone said is very good but isn't certain where it is? Have a drink somewhere to think about? Just go home, perhaps? Go eat Chinese nearby? We could not figure it out. At one point we all agreed to just go home, since every single place to go had shut down for the night." He had made some movements with his hands which none of his friends ever understood what they meant. "That," said Rose, "is awful." "I know," exploded Mark, "she's killing us all in the freezing cold out there and--" "No, I mean it's awful that you take this really nice girl out and decide to go with an entire group," Rose continued. "Imagine what she's thinking when you show up on her doorstep with half the rugby team and most of your school's science fiction club." "Seriously," he spouted, "she lowthered! So, I did what any reasonable person would've done." "Enlighten us, Mark," said Jamie. "Go on." He lowered his lower half a bit lower into the sofa he was sitting on so that his feet would be able to reach the table. "I broke up with her! What else am I supposed to do? Let her lowther every time we go to see a movie? Let her drive my other friends insane?" "Yes," said Kate, "your girlfriend is supposed to be your world. Your everything." "Not," shouted Mark, "my girlfriend. It was a first date!" There was more arm and hand movement. "You can't break up with someone who you are not in a relationship with. Unless she's made of carboard, then you can break her," said Jamie. Jamie was the intellectual one who made the wisecracks. Kate picked up her newspaper and walked to the kitchen, holding her coffee mug which she had just decided to pick up and threw into the sink with just enough care not to shatter it. She filled the metal filter-basket of her espresso machine with one spoon of ground coffee, and let the machine do it's thing for a while. After 25 seconds she stopped it, and pulled the shot directly into one of those small little glasses, which resemble the things young children grow little seeds into. She picked up the glass, walked back to the table and put it down. She sat down as well, put down the newspaper, downed the shot and opened her eyes for the first time that morning. "How the bloody hell did you do that with your eyes closed?" asked Jamie. "That's impossible." "I am a professionally trained barista," she said. Jamie stood up, waved one of his arms in front of him and shouted, not yelling, "The More You Know!" "Seriously," she shouted, "that's the kind of thing that happens when you're in Italy for a week and need some quick cash!" "Yes," Jamie reiterated, "you become a barista. Obviously." "Mark," asked Rose, "was that the only thing you called us out of bed for? Three in the morning?" "Yes!" Rose grabbed Mark by his shirt. "Go. To. BED!" she shouted. "Shoutin' makes me head hurt," said Jamie. "Shut up." From below the room came a loud banging on what was their floor. Rose shouted and jumped at the floor, "Damn you, Mrs. Jenkins! Damn you and your stupid oversensitive ears! Damn you and your broomstick! AAAAAH!" "Rose is going insane, again, isn't she?" asked Kate. "Yup," mumbled Jamie, who lowered his head a bit. "I'm going to bed, guys," said Mark. "That reminds me," said Kate. "We were in our fucking beds before you came home!"
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