‘Wake up!’

The book is shaking me by the shoulder. It is very dark, no sign of light at the blinds.

‘Quick, come on, get up!’

‘What’s going on, has someone died?’

‘You’ve got to get up now. There’s work to do.’

‘But it’s 4.30 in the morning!’

‘Doesn’t matter. I’ve been thinking. That idea you had, we need to scrap it.’

‘What idea? And who is ‘we’?’

‘You know the one I mean.’

‘Can’t this wait?’ I say. ‘It’s 4.30 in the morning!’ But the book ignores me, chattering excitedly as though I am not there. ‘Have you been drinking coffee?’ I say.

But the book ignores this, too. ‘It’s that third section. The one about ‘The Environment’. You need to scrap it. It needs to be about death instead.’


‘Death, yes. I decided.’


‘I am always serious,’ the book says.

‘I’m going back to sleep,’ I say.

‘You won’t, you know.’

I roll over in the bed, only to discover that my wife is no longer there. ‘See what you’ve done?’ I say.

‘I’d give in now, if I were you,’ the book says. ‘And anyway, you might get run over by a bus tomorrow. You may as well fix it now. Then you can sleep.’

I begin groping for my slippers, only to find the book is already wearing them. ‘Coffee?’ the book says.