The old man came in and took off his hat, would you believe it. Bruno asked if his friend could have a wash, and Ann went into her mother-hen routine. I think she was kind of relieved actually (so was I – I don’t really fancy fucking any friends he picks up down by the docks). She was thinking that this must be his contact, or whoever it is he’s waiting for (she still believes all that b.s. he keeps spouting). Anyway, Ann got the old guy some new clothes, and threw his old ones out, and he was so grateful you wouldn’t believe. Sat there with a big grin in his face, in a bathrobe, drinking coffee, while Bruno and Ann fussed around him. I guess she was wondering if he’s picked up some kind of cult infection or something. Free goods for space derelicts.

Finally, to be polite, I asked the old man what he did, and he said that he was a teacher, and that he’d been moving out to the belt to set up a new school when his bank got hit. And that was how he’d got stuck on Space Wheel Three. He had a funny way of talking – very polite and measured, but he really started opening up after a bit. I could tell he liked the way I looked, but he wasn’t crude about it. I was kind of going on about how I would have put on some more clothes if I’d known we were gonna have guests, and he said that I could not look more exquisite, and that I was a feenix of beauty. So I asked him what that was, and he went off into some poem about it, and told me it was a bird which burnt itself to ashes and then came back to life.

Bruno got interested then, and asked him to repeat the poem, and tell him all about it. It was in some foreign language, and he had to explain what every part meant before that geek would calm down. To tell you the truth, I was a bit jealous, because before that the old man only had eyes for me, and normally people pay lots of attention to Ann not me ’cos she looks so hot, so I told him I’d write it down in my diary. Both of them got interested then, and they asked me about the diary, and how often I wrote in it, and what I wrote, and all that sort of thing. Ann was listening pretty hard, too, even though she must have known about it for ages. I mean, it takes me hours, and I got no idea why I do it, really. I said I couldn’t show it to them, because it was too private, but that I could read them some bits if they really wanted. God, I wanted to cry, they were so polite and sweet about it. The old man looked as if he wanted to marry me, and kept on going on about how unfair it was that “such talent should coexist with such beauty” – and he wasn’t shitting me, either, ’cos he listened to every word.

I mean, that’s how we spent the whole evening. Me reading out stuff, and them commenting on it (especially the old man), ’cos Ann was sitting on

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