M Is for Magic by Neil Gaiman & Teddy Kristiansen

M Is for Magic by Neil Gaiman & Teddy Kristiansen

Author:Neil Gaiman & Teddy Kristiansen [Gaiman, Neil & Kristiansen, Teddy]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Magic, Science fiction; English, Juvenile Fiction, Fantasy & Magic, General, Fantasy, Children's stories; American, Fantasy fiction; American, Fiction, Short Stories, Fantasy fiction; English
ISBN: 9780061186479
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 2008-04-22T00:00:31+00:00


How to Talk to Girls at Parties

COME ON,” SAID VIC. “It’ll be great.”

“No, it won’t,” I said, although I’d lost this fight hours ago, and I knew it.

“It’ll be brilliant,” said Vic, for the hundredth time. “Girls! Girls! Girls!” He grinned with white teeth.

We both attended an all-boys’ school in south London. While it would be a lie to say that we had no experience with girls—Vic seemed to have had many girlfriends, while I had kissed three of my sister’s friends—it would, I think, be perfectly true to say that we both chiefly spoke to, interacted with, and only truly understood, other boys. Well, I did, anyway. It’s hard to speak for someone else, and I’ve not seen Vic for thirty years. I’m not sure that I would know what to say to him now if I did.

We were walking the backstreets that used to twine in a grimy maze behind East Croydon station—a friend had told Vic about a party, and Vic was determined to go whether I liked it or not, and I didn’t.

But my parents were away that week at a conference, and I was Vic’s guest at his house, so I was trailing along beside him.

“It’ll be the same as it always is,” I said. “After an hour you’ll be off somewhere snogging the prettiest girl at the party, and I’ll be in the kitchen listening to somebody’s mum going on about politics or poetry or something.”

“You just have to talk to them,” he said. “I think it’s probably that road at the end here.” He gestured cheerfully, swinging the bag with the bottle in it.

“Don’t you know?”

“Alison gave me directions and I wrote them on a bit of paper, but I left it on the hall table. S’okay. I can find it.”

“How?” Hope welled slowly up inside me.

“We walk down the road,” he said, as if speaking to an idiot child. “And we look for the party. Easy.”

I looked, but saw no party: just narrow houses with rusting cars or bikes in their concreted front gardens; and the dusty glass fronts of newsagents, which smelled of alien spices and sold everything from birthday cards and secondhand comics to the kind of magazines that were so pornographic that they were sold already sealed in plastic bags. I had been there when Vic had slipped one of those magazines beneath his sweater, but the owner caught him on the pavement outside and made him give it back.

We reached the end of the road and turned into a narrow street of terraced houses. Everything looked very still and empty in the summer’s evening. “It’s all right for you,” I said. “They fancy you. You don’t actually have to talk to them.” It was true: one urchin grin from Vic and he could have his pick of the room.

“Nah. S’not like that. You’ve just got to talk.”

The times I had kissed my sister’s friends I had not spoken to them. They had been around while my sister was off doing something elsewhere, and they had drifted into my orbit, and so I had kissed them.



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