Now this is something I’ve wanted to do for a while…
A new take on the “Why You Should Never Live With…” series.
We know by now why we shouldn’t live with an Unreliable Narrator, Chick-Lit Heroine, Cop From A Crime Novel, Character From A Young Adult Novel, Literary Fiction Hero, Romantic Hero, Historical Fiction Hero, Husband From A Women’s Fiction Novel or Woman From A Historical Period TV Drama.
But what if some of them ended up living together? What happens to fictional stereotypes, dear readers, when genres collide?
It’s 5am. Crime Novel Cop is moodily sipping his 26th cup of coffee of the day. He is surrounded by photographs of bodies which are very, very dead; he is shrouded by the weight of human depravity. He grimaces. Whether this because of the coffee, the photographs, or the humanity, is a mystery only you can solve.
A rattling sounds at his front door, followed by banging, scraping, the clink of metal on metal, and various other suspicious noises. He reaches for his gun (which is lying on top of the toaster) and primes himself for aggressive defence. Or defensive aggression. Who cares?
More banging is followed by a giggle.
Chick-Lit Heroine is home.
Crime Novel Cop: For Chrissake, it’s open!
Chick-Lit Heroine: [falling in the door in a flurry of designer labels, shopping bags, high heels and long-decanted wine] Oops! Sorry!
Cop: Bloody hell. Third time this week.
Chick-Lit Heroine: I know, I’m a disaster – er, what day is it anyway?
Cop: [glowering] Wednesday.
Chick-Lit Heroine: [panicked] What? Nooo! What time is it? I have to get to my job in something vaguely related to media or marketing, in order to earn the pittance which somehow allows me to buy really expensive fashion things!
Cop: It’s only 5am. Keep your panties on.
Chick-Lit Heroine: [blushing furiously] How did you know?
Cop: Know what?
Chick-Lit Heroine: That I can’t find my… never mind. Why are you up so early, anyway?
Cop: Insomnia, remember? I haven’t been to bed since 2007.
Chick-Lit Heroine: Right… Um, did anyone call here for me?
Cop: Yes, there were several booty calls from implausibly handsome-sounding men. Why you insist on giving out my landline number I’ll never understand. What have you got against modern technology?
Chick-Lit Heroine: [giggling drunkenly] Says the guy who refuses to use a computer and only listens to old Macedonian folk music on a gramophone.
Cop: At least I stick to my passions, instead of changing them with every second magazine I read.
Chick-Lit Heroine: So you say.
Cop: Where the hell were you until now, anyway?
Chick-Lit Heroine: What’s it to you? You’re not my Dad. You don’t even wear cardigans.
Cop: Don’t do that. Don’t bring up the deaths of my wife, daughter, sister, and most recent girlfriend.
Chick-Lit Heroine: What? I didn’t! All I said was…
Cop: [darkly] Today is Abigail’s birthday. She would have been thirty-two.
Chick-Lit Heroine: [bending to root through the fridge, her bottom waving madly in the air, until she triumphantly produces a half-empty bottle of white wine] I’m thirty-two! You know, statistically, most fictional women find their life partner at the age of twenty-seven. To be honest, I’m not sure I even qualify for chick-lit any more.
Cop: When she died, a light went out. I’ve been living in darkness ever since.
Chick-Lit Heroine: Hey, that’s not fair! I pay my bills!
Cop: No, you don’t. You’re sixteen months behind on the rent, and I had to arrest the last two debt collectors who showed up here looking for you.
Chick-Lit Heroine: Not my fault they tried to repossess my entire Manolo Blahnik collection without realising they were forcing their way into the house of a homicidal detective.
Cop: [speaking directly to the horrific images of violence and death strewn across the ancient Formica scratched and battered by former, happier, housedwellers] Sometimes I think you only took the room here because I’m a cop.
Chick-Lit Heroine: What can I say? I like damaged, irredeemable men.
Cop: Speaking of which, I may as well admit now that I’m in love with you.
Chick-Lit Heroine: [Falling over adorably] Most men are. I just refuse to see it.
Cop: You’re probably better off. If we did get together, you’d be dead before long.
Chick-Lit Heroine: I’ll going to be dead before nine if I don’t cover up the last twelve hours of frankly hilarious slapstick partying, and get to work.
Cop: [Cynical and world-weary] Here. Have some vague pharmaceutical stimulants I always have lying around the house which are dangerously addictive yet somehow not completely illegal.
Chick-Lit Heroine: No thanks. That’s a bit too much for my readers to stomach. I’m actually a lot more conventional than you think. I’ll just have a shower and a quick nap.
Cop: I’ll be up in half an hour to watch you sleep, which is the best way I know of protecting you.
Chick-Lit Heroine: [surprising Crime Novel Cop with a soft kiss on the cheek] Of all the damaged, irredeemable, suffocatingly overprotective men I know, you’re my favourite.
Cop: [thoroughly charmed and temporarily light-hearted for the first time in years] What can I say? I’m a chick magnet.
Chick-Lit Heroine bounds up the stairs, tripping twice, and humming tunelessly. Crime Novel Cop chuckles and shakes his head as he tidies the blood-spattered photographs from the kitchen worktop and slips a GPS tracker into Chick-Lit Heroine’s handbag, failing to notice the six terrorist rapists congregating in the back garden.
Sometimes, he reflects, the things which drive you crazy keep you sane.