“Welcome,” he said. “Although…just to be clear, I didn’t vote for you. No, I wanted a different tenant. Nothing against you,” he added. “It was only that this other guy had a cute girlfriend and I was hoping she might come to stay from time to time. Then there’d be this scene outside the bathroom. It would involve a towel….Anyway, looking at you, I’m guessing you don’t have a cute girlfriend?”
“You are aware you don’t need to say this stuff,” I said.
He pretended to look shocked. “Really? I had no idea. Keep quiet and you end up with a blockage. I did biology once. I know about these things.”
We sized each other up.
“So”, I said eventually, “you always this funny?”
“Usually funnier. I’m loads better when I have someone interesting to work off. And what about you? You pretending you’ve read all those?” he asked, gesturing towards my disheveled books.
“Not even close. I’m going to cut out the drink altogether, work hard during the days, then sit tight each evening and just read for the next two years. Read my way out of debt and acquire a brain and then write a great novel – that’s the plan.”
“Some plan,” he said.
“I’m deadly serious.”
“Well that’s good,” he said. “I respect that.”
We both looked at the books again. There were a lot of words there.
“Beer?” he enquired.
“Finally,” I said.