"The last time I ever saw him was just over a week later. Sleep walking down the rainy haze of the high street I heard my name sharply shouted by a familiar voice but staring at the ground for a moment, one short but very perceptible beat, I didn't turn around. I stood there. Frozen while time stopped as I stared away far out to Infinity half hoping someone else would join in the call but only hearing the murmur of disgruntled Saturday shoppers as they pushed past me laden with children and other baggage.

He called again, faster and closer this time and sinews screaming at my own intransigence I still did not move knowing it was by now far too late to dissolve into the safety of the crowd. Instead I just stood still; staring out into the space of brightly coloured consumer dreams and savoured my final moment of solitude as a familiar and unwelcome frame entered my private world once more.

If you looked ever so closely you could have seen behind this ubiquitous smile that he looked far, far, too tired. If you didn't know him however you'd never spot that though and still fall under his easy trance. He was on his way to meet someone about some deal or other, no further details offered or wanted. Dressed in an old grey trenchcoat and trousers with faded silver stripes he gestured me away from the street. He always had time for a friend, he insisted despite my laboured protests, his appointment could wait."

Excerpt from "Complex Systems"

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