I saw Mark walking towards the coffee house. Actually, I spotted him earlier as he was outside of the Faust House. Today the house is used as a faculty hospital for Prague’s, Charles University, but the legend of Edward Kelly still attracts the alchemist curiosity-seekers. He’s been calling me and texting me for several days. Finally, my flat-white-coffee is ready, and as I finish my first sip, Mark walks through the door. After a quick wave, he spots me sitting here at the table directly in front of a large window where I can see the park across the street, the traffic and the pedestrians, and of course, the Faust House.
Mark pulls the shoulder straps of his backpack off his shoulders and lets it fall to the floor. “Hello, Airodia. Thank you for meeting with me today,” he says while giving me a bare-knuckles fist bump.
“Prague is the best place for our meeting, Mark,” I reply. “Would you like a coffee?” He tells me he’s already ordered his cup and asks if he can record our conversation. “Of course,” I say.
“Before we start, Mark, and I hope you won’t mind. I’ve seen the interviews with Drrea and Vallena that you have published. It looks like you ask the same twelve questions of everyone. This is pretty cool because you can treat the readers of the books with some common thread to compare our different personalities. But it’s not going to be my thing. Look, see what I got here is a place inside me with what an alchemist might call, a different brew or elixir.” Mark nods and shrugs with an accepting; it’s all good type of shoulder and head dance. I continue.
“Your first book, Starzel was a cataclysm of too many good stories and too little storyline. Don’t take me wrong, you can narrate a story, and your work’s composition is nothing short of impressive. Early onward, you are exceptional and elegant. But what you did to Trump and his lover was definitely on but since the remainder of the story was all meat and no potatoes, the read was laborious. Tedious may be the better word. Fittingly, here we are sitting in a coffee shop in the middle of what is the center of the art for telling stories. Prague is full of great stories from the occult to fiction and the purest fantasy. Spellbinders and hypnotic, every one of them. This is your city, man. If there was ever a location with a history appropriate for you, Prague is it.”
Mark’s coffee arrives, and he listens to me berating his craftsmanship while he slowly sips the elixir produced at the coffee shop.
“There was some adorable you told us about in your next book, Love Reincarnate. Book 2 made me feel even more confident in your storytelling. So actually, I’m going to tell you something I’ve never said to any other author. After reading through Book 2, I was proud to be part of the story. Then Book 3, Aware Consciousness, begins to materialize. The invocation of thought transcends to words and spreads like rain across a fertile field. The previously hidden message included in previous books begins to reveal itself. Opaque but within reasonable sight of the reader. A hint of its presence, possibly the scent of it. Listen, it can almost be heard. Book 3 is the lightning strike. The sound of thunder is coming.”
Mark sips his coffee, his expression is that of a man at a high-stakes poker tournament; he’s unreadable. I watch him watching me as I wonder have I been too cold or does he understand the compliments I intend? Should I tell him further my advice? Risking my fate in his ability to never invoke my character again in his pros, perhaps I should find an excuse to leave our meeting. But, on the other hand, I do so very much want to tell him to add in first-party retrospective and thoughts of self-doubt and questioning motives. Reading a character’s innermost motives can add fascinating mischief to a story.
“I’m acting in a play later this evening. Would you and Kimberly like to come to watch? It’s a magic show with blacklights, and though it’s not cutting-edge, breakthrough science, you guys might enjoy a few hours of entertainment. So here, I’ll text you the particulars and leave two tickets at will-call should you find the time.”
Of course, we would love to see your show, Airodia,” he says with a smile. The first sign of expression he’s shown since sitting down at the table with me. Thank you for the tickets and for taking the time to speak with me today.” He fastens his coat and slips the backpack over his shoulder. I watch him as he makes his way through the tiny cafe, and out he goes through the door.
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