(Warning: May contain traces of NaNoWriMo.)

I didn’t mean to go to the all-nighter, honest. Mainly because I thought it was on the 1st, which was a school night and hence not a goer, or at least not for me.
So, I rocked up at the first Write In. New coffee shop this year due to our previous haunt having closed down. Managed to find the place without too much fuss, which always helps, and was the first one there, so got to baggsie a non-wobbly table near the power sockets.

First impressions of our new home: Gloomy due to being a bit deficient in lightbulbs, toilets about a four on the FurrySquid Scale of Lavatorial Grimness*. Tea made using actual boiling water from an actual kettle, so reasonably drinkable once I’d got them to stop drowning it in milk. (This is important: quite apart from me being the sort of person who runs on copious tea, the coffee shop are letting us take over their upstairs because they’re expecting us to put a reasonable amount of money over the counter. So, lots of cups of tea get bought, and it really does help if it’s tea that can be drunk without making faces.) Cheese panini for lunch was nice enough. I was being good and avoiding the cakes, but various other nano-ers ate them and didn’t die. So, looks like a win, mostly.

And then we had the usual start-of-the-month announcements from the MLs, including “still got space on the Write Over, money to Cassie if interested”. Do I, don’t I, do I? Don’t really want to, need sleep, but am also very behind on wordcount … oh, sod it, you can always use your keyboard as a pillow for a bit.

Which was how I found myself handing over eleven quid to spend fourteen hours in a room containing:
– Seventeen writers
– One writer’s new boyfriend, who may now have been infected with the curse of nano himself.
– At least eighteen laptops
– One desktop
– Samples of every caffeinated energy drink known to man
– Some sweets pretending to be sushi
– Some more sweets pretending to be pizza
– Some actual pizzas (ordered at 2am by way of “lunch”)
– …. and an ear in a bag.

I kicked off with the horrible murder of some kittens. (And a whole family of humans, but this is the internet, so the kittens are the important bit.) I tried to sell my main character into slavery, but he got away, and I drank far too much brightly coloured caffeinated fizz, admired the ear-in-a-bag, and assessed the loos as being about a seven-going-on-eight on the Scale of Lavatorial Grimness.

I got caught up as regards wordcount at around ten to midnight, and managed to chug through the following day’s wordcount as well in the hours that followed, so by the time we all packed it in and went in search of breakfast (in another, completely different venue – Ok food, but loos only a two, which is well into “hold it in and go somewhere else” territory**), I was actually slightly ahead. So, job done, I think?

And the ear in a bag?

No, it wasn’t some sort of gruesome prop. It was still attached to a human head, which was still attached to the rest of the human. Who was asleep in the gigantic wheeled holdall she’d brought her desktop in (laptop bust, apparently), and only visible as one ear sticking out. Or, as we all ended up referring to her, an ear in a bag.

(*Which I will explain another time, but only if I’m really bored.)
(**Have since googled, and apparently the whole establishment only got one out of five for hygiene at the last inspection. Oh, well, I’m writing this on Tuesday, so if I was going to catch anything I’d probably have started spewing by now. I hope.)

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