“Same Time, Same Place”

This subject of this week’s weird fiction over at LibraryThing.

Review: “Same Time, Same Place”, Mervyn Peake, 1963.The Weird

This is a rather sleight weird tale.

One night, the narrator, a 23 year old man, is particularly disgusted by his father’s appearance (his moustache with ashes in it) and that of his mother (the worn outside edge of her shoe). He goes out to a restaurant in Piccadilly Square and, by chance, meets a woman at a table, just abandoned by her companion.

He finds his true love instantly. He is particularly struck by her large, beautiful head and blonde hair.

After their first meeting, they agree to meet at the same place and the same time next day. And so they do for eight days.

The ending of the story is foreshadowed by the narrator being unable to find the woman’s feet underneath the table.

Finally, after eight days, the narrator and woman agree to marry, to meet at a registrar’s office at Cambridge Circus.

Taking a double-decker bus and sitting at the top level, he goes to his wedding. However, traffic is delayed and, by chance, he can see directly into the window of the room where he is to be married.

He sees a collection of odd people preparing for the wedding: a man with a freakishly long neck, a bearded lady, a tattooed man, and a man of feral appearance with a cloven hoof for a hand. He also learns the truth about his intended bride. She’s a dwarf, hence the large head. He is horrified and doesn’t go to the wedding and returns home with a new found love of his parents appearance.

The story concludes with, “Since then I have never left the house. I know what is best for me.” The house, incidentally, is the same one he was born in.

 

More reviews of fantastic fiction are indexed by title and author/editor.

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