It is Monday midnight, and I have just become aware of Wednesday’s deadline. It is quiet in the club with everyone having gone home or to their rooms and I am sat in the Morning Room: club cant for ‘reading room’. It’s pretty, the Morning Room. But I’m not looking. I’m in a little room of my own, gilded with self-doubt and oppressively aware of your invigilating attention, a room between the wind-blowing free-shouting meadow of unwatched not-writing and the glorious carnival of assured writing, where you know all the people you will meet and the only surprises are joyous additions to what is already a good time. Here I am. In-between... Cigarette.

Just got back from talking to the Night Porter. He was stood on the mezzanine above the foyer and shouting down to me about the immorality of eating meat from an animal that a person has fucked. I said that I thought that the immoral act was fucking the animal, or perhaps killing the animal, but not eating its flesh. He disagreed. He said that, as an educated man, if I don’t want to play Kazakh music then that is my choice. If I want to drink gin and tonic and my fellow man wishes to drink shandy then different folks, different strokes, he says. Some people don’t want to eat an animal that has been fucked by someone.

I said I still didn’t see what difference it made if the animal has been fucked by a person or not as fucking an animal wouldn’t spoil the meat. In fact, it seems a greater waste if this poor animal has not only been fucked but then killed and no-one even gets to eat him or her.

He still disagreed: Eating an animal that has been fucked by someone makes the meat impure. In Christianity and Islam if a person fucks an animal that person and the animal must be killed. He wondered aloud what kind of person is so desperate to fuck that they fuck an animal.

I said it seemed very unfair to condemn the animal to death unless it had seduced the person by putting on sexy lingerie and probably would much rather not have been fucked. I said that it wasn’t a case of people being so desperate but of having a fetish or curiosity that their morality did not impede and I primed myself to launch into a small lecture about paraphilias.

He said that people who fuck animals are evil and some people don’t want to eat evil, but that others would eat human beings, he supposed. I filed away my lecture about paraphilias.

I was bored. I wanted to get back to reading up on Louis ‘Loulou’ Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt, original owner of the building in which the club now resides.

But the Night Porter kept me talking and, as I was looking up at him on the mezzanine from the foyer, gave me quite a sore neck. So I’m back in the Morning Room.

Anyway, Louis Harcourt was a serial seducer of teenagers male and female and ultimately, when a boy at Eton threatened to expose him, he accidentally overdosed on his bromidia in the London townhouse in which I am currently placed.


Now it occurs to me: I should be writing about the exchange with the Night Porter. And I cut him off because I was interested in some 18th century nonce. Bollocks.

Just went out for a cigarette. Night Porter and I chatted again according to the convention: he chats I listen. Whenever I do interrupt he says ‘hold it!’ but I find this amusing to save myself the bother of being irritated.

He was complaining about members leaving their glasses on the foyer mantelpiece as he has a weak immune system and catches things by touching too many things that other people have touched. Not as dramatic as the people fucking animals thing so I imagine how that might have continued while he tells me at length about the glasses and the mantelpiece until I have completely disfigured him with my imagination.

They are evil. A person who fucks an animal should be turned into an animal and fucked. This is what will happen to them in hell. Because only God can do this we just kill the person so God can start doing this ASAP.

Why do you kill the animal? I ask as he knocks on the mantelpiece and points to the leather cover on the desk at reception.

He doesn't say: So the animal can be turned into a person by God and watch the person who fucked them get turned into an animal and get fucked.

Maybe they even get fucked by them, I say.

What? Says the Night Porter, genuinely alarmed, halfway through showing me up-close the leather cover on the desk at reception.

The animal who gets turned into a person. Maybe they get to fuck the person who gets turned into an animal.

He looks at me like I'm completely nuts. He doesn’t understand that he’s been turned into a narrative device, that I am in an adjacent foyer of my own creation. He is confused and no longer interested in talking to me.

It is 3am by now. I'm now sitting not-writing but writing nevertheless, occasionally looking up at the tasteful gilded blobs on the ceiling, wondering if I should plonk my arse in a big leather armchair and sleep some or go back out and try again to harvest copy from the Night Porter. I snap closed the chapter about Loulou and pace around a bit to convince myself I'm occupied before leaving with a brisk adieu to the Porter.

On the walk home I consider whether I should publish this private exchange or whether that would be disloyal. I decide when I get home to change the details.

Now it is Wednesday, I'm late for submission. I wish I'd been able to tie together the animal-fucking conversation and the life of Loulou. And I wonder what sort of occupation writing is that it makes one regret that an ephebophile aristocrat never fucked an animal and served it up for dinner.

By Robert Hainault