Grey Area

"Terrified Gerard, looking from face to face. Old, young, black, white. Their uniform lapels poking out from their overcoat collars: their aprons dangling from beneath the hems of their macs. They sized him up, assessed him. Would he make good copy?

One of them, young and lean, grabbed him by the arm, detaining him. 'Think we're of no account, eh? Just a bunch of waiters—is that what you think?' Gerard tried to speak but couldn't. His lips were tightly compressed, a red line canceling out his expression. 'Perhaps you think we should be proud of our work. Well we are matey, we fucking are. We've been watching your kind, noting it all down, putting it on our order pads while you snort in our trough. It may be fragmentary, it may not be prettified, it may not be in the Grand Tradition, but let me tell you,' and with this the young man hit Gerard, quite lightly but in the face, 'it's ours, and we're about ready to publish!'

Then they all waded in."

from Grey Area,
by Will Self