We were in the middle of a meeting having decided to continue with our protest against the greedy developers of central London. It was time to stand up for the memories that still exist in this beautiful city. It was time to show this insensitive, unimaginative, short sighted tribe that there are some things more important than money. This was a protest that didn't need tents, so no one could say we were causing a fire risk.
This was a protest with a difference.
It was one that was straight from the heart.
Four out of six of us were present and Gaby insisted on feeding us. Two of us were on permanent diets but Gaby wasn't taking any notice.
'Have some falafels,' he said and then brought out a dazzling array of fresh, mouth-watering dishes.
Tabouleh with parsley.
Hummus with a delicious smear of olive oil.
Chopped gherkins with red peppers and tahini.
The famous falafels, of course.
Warm pitta, naturally.
And tucked in.
'You see,' he said, smiling, happy to see us eat. 'I said you would be hungry!'
Well this was what we were trying to save after all....
It made me angry to see this gentle man being pushed out of his beloved deli in this way. But the list of people signing the petition was growing longer by the day. Today's batch contained more than 400 names. Even though developers aren't interested in people, the public cares.
'Good, good,' said our Chair. 'Now lets get on with the meeting, please.'
'Hmmugh,' I said, my mouth full of hummus
In order to bring this distressing business of Gaby's closure to everyones attention we had decided to perform a series of plays actually taking place in the deli itself. This was, after all an eatery in the heart of theatre land. Streams of actors, many now famous, had passed through Gaby's doors over the last 45 years.
Each of our plays would be about twenty minutes long and the first one would have to be written by November 15th. That was the Plan. I should know, I had proposed it.
'OK?' asked the Chair, looking at me, expectantly.
I'd never written a play before, of course, but where was the problem? Two weeks? Oh plenty of time.
'How much of it have you written, already?' asked the Producer, briskly, writing furiously in her notebook.
I decided to stick to the truth.
'Erh...not much actually. I've...I've got the title,' I said enunciating the last word in a High Resolution Tone, or HRT as they call it at the local mental hospital.
'Good!' she said encouragingly, continuing to scribble, not looking at me. 'I'll try and get you some really famous names. How many actors do you need?'
I swallowed. I didn't much like the way she emphasised the words 'really famous'.
But I kept my thoughts to myself.
'Three,' I said, hazarding a guess. 'A mother and a daughter. And a grandfather. Oh, and I might need a sound system.'
Stop it! I told myself. Stop digging an even bigger hole.
'Why aren't you eating?' Gaby asked, coming over. 'Don't you like the food, today?'
'My daughter read your book, by the way,' he added. 'She loved it.'
Fat lot of good that's going to do me, with this play, I thought, darkly.
'Right then,' said the Chair. 'I'll circulate the minutes of the meeting to you all and copy in those who are absent.'
'Great,' said the Producer. 'I must go but I'll start thinking of the actors and the sound system. So see you all on the 15th,' she beamed. 'Don't worry Gaby, we're all behind you.'
'With the play.'
'Of course, course...the play's the thing, wherein...'
Oh shut-up, I told myself, changing trains at Piccadilly and heading towards Paddington.
Just get on with it. Of course you'll do it in time.
Stop fussing, you've got a brilliant idea haven't you? So what's the problem?
Nothing will come of nothing.
'Pardon?' asked the woman standing next to me as we swayed our way from Edgware Road to Paddington.
Nothing, absolutely nothing …
Watch this space … or not …
Roma Tearne is away for the next few days. Writing her play.