the time. One time I overheard him saying to Bruno that he quite liked being ordered around by me. It reminded him of the old days with Anthea, before she left him – little bitch! – so I order him around quite a lot now. He’s so polite that it makes me feel really important). “So what’s all this about you dumping Ann?” I asked. “Hasn’t she done enough for you not to treat her this way?”

“I love Ann,” he replied.

“That’s not the issue. If you love her, then you wouldn’t leave her.”

“I have to go.”

“Why? You’ve got all mod cons here. Hot and cold running pussy, no job, friends to talk to – what else could a man want?”

“I have a job to do.”

“What job?”

“I do not know. I do not know if I can explain it. It is to do with pibroch.”

“That’s what Ann told me, but I thought she must have misheard. I mean, nobody could be crazy enough to leave a girl like that because of some kind of music.”

I could see that Joseph was kind of pricking his ears up at all this, and working his fingers up and down the stops of his chanter the way he does when he gets really interested in something. He broke in then, and started questioning Bruno himself:

“What about pibroch? Really, young man, I think you might have discussed this matter with me before it went so far. I am certainly not one to deny the sovereign importance of music, but love and devotion such as these two young ladies have shown is not to be misprized lightly.”

I went over and gave him a kiss, and then sat down on his knee. He went on:

“Explain to me your reasoning, and I will tell you what I think, but I must say that I agree with Julie so far, and that is not simply because she is sitting on my knee.”

I didn’t really understand what Bruno said, but Joseph seemed to. It was something about how his life wasn’t going in a straight line anymore, like ours, but that it was part of some other kind of pattern. They talked about the patterns for quite a while, but all I could really get was that he thought he was part of some kind of group who were going to meet after they had experienced a certain number of things, but he didn’t really know what was going to happen to them all then. Perhaps they’d all fuse into one, or perhaps

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