Some more practice runs have appeared in my inbox. Here are two, one for each passage.
‘You don’t mind that we’ve matched you up with Nicholas Beck, do you?’ Jasper says to Helen. She looks up at him, as if surprised. Jasper sniggers. ‘Only in the table-planning sense, of course. He’s a celibate homosexual.’
‘Oh really,’ says Helen lightly.
‘I think you’ll like speaking with him. He teaches Fine Art. That’s him there.’ Jasper gestures towards a grey-haired man standing beside Carrie Messenger. He is talking with some of the other guests, all of whom have complacent smiles on their faces.
‘When I lived in Cambridge last year,’ Nicholas Beck is saying, lifting his glass of wine conversationally. ‘I used to visit that shop sometimes.’
Helen and Jasper shuffle towards the group. Jasper glances at Nicholas’ glass, as if waiting for him to take a sip. When he does, Jasper interrupts. ‘Nicholas!’ he exclaims. ‘You must meet Helen Reed.’
‘Hallo,’ Helen says.
‘What do you think of the wine?’ Jasper asks.
Nicholas and Helen shake hands. ‘I used to buy the wine for my college,’ says Nicholas to Helen.
‘Is that so?’ says Helen.
‘Yes,’ interjects Jasper. He looks expectant.
Nicholas smirks. ‘Australian reds really have improved out of all recognition,’ he replies.
Another version, from another student:
Nicholas Beck, the silver-haired Professor of Fine Art, had been invited to make a
pair for dinner with Helen, but only in the table-planning sense, as Jasper informed
Helen, although she questioned on what authority, that Nicholas was a celibate
homosexual. Nicholas told Helen that he had recently moved from Cambridge.
Helen amusingly observed that he had a high-table trick of being able to make
urbane conversation about any topic whatsoever without saying anything
memorable or profound. Jasper repeatedly and anxiously asked Nicholas what he
thought of the wine, Nicholas used to buy wine for his college. Beck responded
politely but with implicit criticism of Jasper’s offerings and stated “Australian reds
really have improved out of all recognition”.
Here’s the other, the first go at Ralph’s style:
One, two, buckle my shoe… Now that’s strange, isn’t it? A person’s capacity to remember a rhyming phrase is an altogether different thing from remembering something less cliché… Reciting chunks of classic novels from memory, now that’s a party trick if I’ve ever seen one… That Helen Reed just gets more and more interesting. There’s something about a woman who’s smart, quick on the uptake, not afraid to argue. I tried to rustle her up a little, liken her Kate Whatshername quote about armchairs and qualia to subjective experience and folk psychology… She flushes when she’s anger… Although it really is just fiction… I wonder how far down that flush would go…
Thanks again for all the contributors, whose efforts will certainly help everyone. Keep ’em coming.
Remember that Report #2 is now due July 15th instead of July 10th.