It was a warm and sunny day at Library Towers when a caller arrived for a visit. Hen & Twiny – the owners of Library Towers – were always delighted to welcome callers at their abode, especially if the caller could offer something in the way of intelligent, book-related conversation. On this occasion, they were showing The Caller around the house in case she wanted to use it for a Promoting Vegetarianism party. She was impressed by the vegetable patch and with the large framed photograph hanging over the front door in the hall.
“Who are those stern looking women?” the caller was nosy.
“Those, Caller, are our forebears. The original Book Club of Library Towers.” Hen was not amused that this caller did not already know this.
“Oh? how interesting!” Caller was clearly a fool and had not noted the warning tone in Hen’s voice. “And what does the Latin motto mean? It’s curious: ‘libro clava potest liber verberatus clava’. Not one you see very often!”
“It means ‘my book club can beat up your book club’.”
“Oh.” The caller had finally caught onto the undercurrent of menance in Hen’s voice. Twiny stood silently by, resting her hand on a die-cast bust of Thomas Hardy. She eyed the caller with distaste.
“Exactly.” Hen moved to open the front door. “So if you feel uncomfortable about that, or if you own any books with the Richard and Judy sticker on them, I suggest you leave now as probably Library Towers isn’t for you.”
“But I quite enjoyed the Twilight Saga!” the caller protested.
This seemed to rouse Twiny from her contemplative stance. “Would you come this way please?” she asked the caller politely, gesturing towards a small room off the porch. The caller was confused, but followed Twiny into the room. “What a lovely room!” the caller could be heard saying. “What is it called?”
Twiny’s reply was brief and just three words. “The Beating Room.”
There was a long moment of silence and then…
“Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!”
There was silence from within the Beating Room. Hen opened the door and stepped into the room. She put an arm around Twiny’s shoulders. “We’ve done the world a kindness.”
Twiny nodded. “I know we have.”
Hen had just one more question. “Twiny?”
“Was it necessary to hit her quite that hard with all thirty-two volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica?”
“Twilight, Hen. Twilight.”
Hen looked down at their errant caller. “Well,” she sighed. “I still have that shovel in the boot of my car. The Dan Brown pit is full but I think I can squeeze one more into the Katie Price one.”
“No, no. Let’s pop her in with the Fifty Shades lot. They’ve all got unhealthy relationships and a poor grasp of grammar in common.”
“You are quite right, Twin, as ever. Oh and if you pop down to the crypt later you will notice a new Historical Fiction section. I started it last week with that woman who called by wanting more information about joining the club. It was going well until she said she didn’t mind that Hilary Mantel had “had a go” at historical fiction, but she would rather stick to Philippa Gregory. And she said this in front of that portrait I have of Hil over the fire place. I just… I couldn’t help it Twin. You know how I feel about Hil….”
Twiny shuddered. “Philippa Gregory! Historical novelist my arse! Thank God you discovered that before it was too late. I did send the butler to have a polish of the bronze statue of Hilary. But he was still working on polishing the silver one, so he might not get to it today.”
The two ladies turned to leave the Beating Room. Twiny paused and held up a hand. “Oh, before I forget, Hen. I wouldn’t use the downstairs bathroom if I were you. That visitor last week suggested that 18th century fiction was boring and outdated. The quicklime has just finished dissolving the body, but the bath needs a good scrub. I’ll get to it tomorrow, when I’ve taken my Victor Hugo first editions off the shelves, given them a loving stroke and carefully rearranged them.”
“Very well,” Hen replied, closing the door behind them. “Do let me know when you get to Les Miserables.”
Apologies for this utter nonsense, it was what my brain felt like doing after a conversation with my bestie. She is Hen, and deserves credit for the better lines in this! Credit must also go to Cath Tate Cards for the inspiration, which was a notecard bearing the inscription “My book club can beat up your book club” and this picture:
Do let me know in the comments if you’d like to see more from Library Towers…..