Wrote a story once. Or at least the beginning of one. A café. A twentysomething protagonist. Sketching oh-so-conspicuously in an all but named as such Moleskine notebook. Pausing only for occasional jolts of coffee and to tuck strands of hair, ‘artfully tousled’, behind his ears. Strands which, ‘inevitably’, escaped moments later to jitterbug lavishly across the stage of his forehead. Whirlpool eyes lifting intermittently from page to steal ‘fleet’ glances at the red-headed girl, studying a chemistry textbook on the other side of the room. ‘Sinoper cynosure’ of his hackneyed scribbling. Whom the reader is invited to at least begin to recognise, following a gloriously soupy and sesquipedalian opening paragraph, as the wronged party, or at least one of them, in some sort of bohemian ménage-to-be. So that when the protagonist concludes his business behind the screen of the notebook’s cover, turns it on its side and savagely tears a page out, attracting the attention of red-headed girl, before gliding over, soundtracked suavely by the chatter of laptops and hiss of coffee machines, the reader is invited to feel a sense of ‘ominous foreboding’ at the disclosure of the opening scene’s undeniable coup; the ‘insouciant’ handing of the ‘mercurially dashed off’ portrait to the, ‘at this stage still quite bemused’, red-headed girl. The few words spoken between them and the sudden, almost media res, exit. The phone number scrawled almost carelessly on the reverse of the, presumably competent, drawing.