In Islington you can hardly hurl a brick without hitting three antique shops, an estate agent and a bookshop.
Mason gave him another grim look from a vast repertoire he had developed which ranged from very, very blackly grim indeed at the bottom of the scale, all the way up to tiredly resigned and only faintly grim, which he reserved for his children’s birthdays.
She tried to worry that something terrible had happened to him, but didn’t believe it for a moment. Nothing terrible ever happened to him, though she was beginning to think that it was time it damn well did. If nothing terrible happened to him soon maybe she’d do it herself. Now there was an idea.
Svlad Cjelli. Popularly known as Dirk, though, again, “popular” was hardly right. Notorious, certainly; sought after, endlessly speculated about, those too were true. But popular? Only in the sense that a serious accident on the motorway might be popular– everyone slows down to have a good look, but no one will get too close to the flames. Infamous was more like it. Svlad Cjelli, infamously known as Dirk.
So after a hectic week of believing that war was peace, that good was bad, that the moon was made of blue cheese, and that God needed a lot of money sent to a certain box number, the Monk started to believe that thirty-five percent of all tables were hermaphrodites, and then broke down.
Dirk, please, if you would. I prefer it. It has more of a sort of Scottish dagger feel to it.
It’s all right, it’s just a horse in the bathroom.
“Now, that I didn’t know,” said Reg. “Your past has murkier things in it than I dreamed possible. A quality, I might add, that it shares with this soup.”
Tall. Tall and absurdly thin. And good natured. A bit like a preying mantis that doesn’t prey – A non-preying mantis if you like. A sort of genial mantis that’s given up preying and taken up tennis instead.
Well, no, not married as such, but yes, there is a specific girl that I’m not married to.
“Yes it is,” said the Professor. “Wait—” he motioned to Richard, who was about to go out again and investigate— “let it be. It won’t be long.”
Richard stared in disbelief. “You say there’s a horse in your bathroom, and all you can do is stand there naming Beatles songs?”
“Gravity,” said Dirk with a slightly dismissive shrug, “yes, there was that as well, I suppose. Though that, of course, was merely a discovery. It was there to be discovered.”
He took a penny out of his pocket and tossed it casually on to the pebbles that ran alongside the paved pathway. “You see?” he said, “They even keep it on at weekends. Someone was bound to notice sooner or later.”
Nothing. Not a single droplet formed. That would satisfy a doctor, that’s what they always did on television – if no mist formed on the mirror, there was no breath. Perhaps, he thought anxiously to himself, perhaps it was something to do with having heated wing mirrors. Didn’t this car have heated wing mirrors? Hadn’t the salesman gone on and on about heated this, electric that, and servo-assisted the other? Maybe they were digital wing mirrors. That was it. Digital, heated, servo-assisted, computer controlled, breath-resistant wing mirrors…