I’d written something. That was why he came into the Club. A friend of mine, he wanted to check something in the content of what I’d written.

There were a few things he might have picked up on. It was a speech. And like all conversation, it relied on digression to maintain its momentum. It flowed, I’d say rather well, from subject to subject, year to year, with momentary mention of brothels. There were things my pal could have asked me about.

Instead, this was his question:

“The way you’ve got this written out, you open with speech marks…”

“Yes. It’s a speech,” I replied.

“And then, when the subject changes, or something new comes in, you change the paragraph, but you don’t close the speech marks…” He frowned for a while.

“Well, no,” I said. “Because he’s still talking.”

“Is that right?”

“You only close the speech marks at the end of the speech. While he’s still talking, you can change paragraph, and reopen the speech marks, but you don’t close them until he stops. In this case, it’s when I ask him a question, or he’s finished talking.”

“Is that right?” he asked.

“Yeah. You might have noticed, I only asked him one question. Right before that, I closed his speech marks.”

“How do you know all this?” he asked.

“It’s what I do.”

He turned down the corners of his mouth and nodded. Success.