For those who’re interested, the concept came from a night out with philosophers – the night of this conversation, actually – after Zach posited the idea of a nihilist ice cream vendor. Everyone, naturally, thought it was hilarious, and I vowed on the spot to write a short story about it. Zach agreed, but not before making me promise to give him joint credit. I accepted. On we went.
A few days later, I found myself with a free half hour at work. I thought about nihilist ice cream, grinned, and wrote the first version (850 words long – the published iteration, due to submission guidelines, is 700) in about twenty minutes. I printed it out, and, as it was a Friday, proceeded to the Melbourne Uni postgradute philosophy room to join my Long-Suffering Husband. Zach was also there. With a triumphant flourish, I dropped the finished article on his lap. He read it. I waited.
After about a minute, he looked up.
‘Foz?’ he asked. ‘I don’t get it. I mean, I get it, I just don’t get why.’
Turns out, he’d forgotten the entire conversation, as had almost everyone else. So in a way, the story is my reward for not ending up utterly drunk that night.
It’s like an After School Special come true.