Pink zip-up hoodie. Braces. Chemically burned strawberry blond hair pulled back in a hasty ponytail. A sprinkling of freckles and irritated pimples. And she's my bank teller. When did tellers get so young? Her nametag says Melba. I hand her a sheaf of cheques that I've been
too lazy to deposit hoarding in order to keep myself solvent.
— You're a writer? she asks, holding up one cheque from a magazine.
— Huh? What? A whatnow? Yes, I finish smoothly. I do a bit of writing, reviews and stuff. But it's not my day job.
Then I remember that my day job involves writing.
— I'm a speechwriter, so I guess that makes me a writer of some kind.
Melba stops inputting. She looks at me like I've told her I'm an archer at the parapets of Minas Tirith or something.
— A what?
— A speechwriter. I write speeches for politicians.
— You mean... they don't write their own?
Melba swings her head around and announces to the teller at the next wicket: &mdash Hey, did you know that politicians don't write their own speeches?
The other teller gets a look on her face like the escalator she's riding on has suddenly come to a halt. I wonder how often Melba sees that look.
— Yeaaah, says the teller. She searches my face for a moment with an imploring save me please flash in her eyes.
— You two have a great New Year! I say.