By Annie Warren



Do you want to start?

Me!? You called this meeting.

Yes, I called it because I feel like you have something to say to me.

Well, I don’t.

You’ve been practically ignoring me for weeks.

Yeah, because I don’t have anything to say to you.

Look, I can see that see you’re upset –

I am not upset.

– but you need to talk to me about it, otherwise how can I fix it?

You’re not listening to me.

If we’re going to have this conversation, I think we should use ‘I’ rather than ‘you’ statements.


‘I’ statements. So instead of ‘you’re not listening to me’, which could come across a bit accusatory, you could say ‘I feel like you’re not listening to me’, which puts you at the centre of your own statement.

You’ve had too much therapy.

I feel like you’ve had too much

I feel like I’m gonna punch you in the tits.

Hey, leave the tits out of this!

It’s hard to leave them out of anything, they’re so fucking –

– Sensuous? Enticing? Botticellian?

– ginormous.


… I found the list she wrote about me.

What list?

The one on the back of the receipt for the Himalayan Salt Lamp.

Ah. That list.


That fucking lamp…

That fucking lamp…


What did the list say?

Oh, I dunno. Liar. Hypocrite. Fearful. I didn’t read all of it.

That’s horrible. I’m sorry.

Did you tell her to write those things?

What? No, of course not!

Because I’m just trying to protect her, you know? And I feel like she used to understand that, but she’s not been listening to me much recently and I noticed she’s been hanging out with you a lot. And it’s not that I mind or anything, I just wish she’d tell me why, you know?

It’s… it’s probably because I’m nice to her.

Nice to her!? You mean all that You deserved to be listened to and You have a right to exist bollocks?

It’s not just that. I also tell her she’s a stunningly beautiful, highly intelligent queen of unparalleled talent –

But that’s not true! How is it nice to lie to someone?

I think it is true.

You’re delusional.

You see! This is exactly why she’s stopped hanging out with you! Because you keep raining on her parade, telling her she’s an idiot and stopping her from doing anything fun!

Well, good! She’s terrible at doing fun things! Do you remember the monstrosity she produced during that life drawing class?

That was ten years ago. She was learning.

Did you try those banana muffins she made?

Baking in a gas oven is very tricky!

What about when she performed that stand-up routine about bees?

Oh God. That was really bad.

There was no excuse for that.

None at all.


I’m just looking out for her, that’s all. If she keeps spending loads of time with you, you’ll keep telling her she’s brilliant and capable and who knows what she’ll do then? I just don’t want her to make an arse of herself.

Oh, she’ll absolutely do that.


There is absolutely no doubt that she’s going to make a complete and utter arse of herself.

I thought you said she had ‘unparalleled talent’?

…I might be guilty of exaggerating a little bit on that.


But she needs me to exaggerate. She’s a delicate little thing. If I don’t tell her she’s a perfect angel capable of anything she puts her mind to, and if I don’t tell her at least seven times a day, she won’t do anything. Ever.


I’m serious. You’ve done an amazing job at protecting her.

I have?

Yeah. If anything, too good. She’s too protected.


Nothing’s impossible! The word itself says I’m-

Jesus Christ! The judge wouldn’t even bother to charge me at this point!


…What happens when she makes an arse of herself then?

What? Oh. Well. Nothing.

What do you mean, nothing?

Nothing, nothing happens. She makes an arse of herself, she feels embarrassed for half an hour, she realises nobody cares, and she tries again.

And she succeeds?

Probably not, no. She’s got to be the arse at least seventy-three times before she can succeed.

That’s a lot of arses.

It is.

And then?

And then, maybe.

Just maybe?

Just maybe.

But if she eventually does succeed…


…Will she… will she leave me?

What? You? Of course not! Where did you get that idea? No, even if she succeeds, and even if her success is more ostentatious and extravagant than anyone else’s success has ever been – that’s when you’ll be at your most powerful! With your You don’t deserve thiss and You just scammed your way heres and They’re all gonna find out you’re a fraud soon enoughs. Real imposter syndrome shit. She’ll be spending more time with you than ever.


Really! This is how you get her back. I just have to coax her out of her shell enough for her to try first.


Otherwise you’ll never have anything to talk to her about and she’ll have no reason to spend time with you at all.





I’m really glad we came to an understanding. I’ve missed working with you.

I’ve missed you too. Working with you, I mean.




Do you really think my tits are gigantic?

The size of a small country.

[Smiling, to herself] Fucking Botticellian.

[Smiling, to herself] Fucking Botticellian.

Annie Warren

Annie is a writer, editor, translator and stand-up comic living in Nottingham. Her short story Phosphenes won the UCL Publishers’ Prize and her short story Champagne was shortlisted for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award. Her hobbies include breakfast, lunch and dinner and her website is

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