Car rides in and out of hissing sunlight would stink like baked leather and cigar ash, and none of the trio whose thigh-backs stuck to the back seat really ever wanted to know about the archives swelling like corpses in the trunk.

They consisted of one thing, immediately troubling: small pink fields of numbers censored out in sixes.

The second thing, which was less immediately troubling but now forms something more uncertain, was the fact that he liked to take photographs of supermarket checkout girls. With disposable cameras. He favoured one particular supermarket where they wore mint green vests and pink neckties, hovered behind checkouts and deli counters trading goods. All were smiling, smiling at the old man.

It didn’t particularly seem to matter what age, what ethnicity they were, whether they were attractive by any magazine standard, but there was always the same type of building, the same binding system of smiles: humorous, uncertain, pleading, calm.

Other collections included broken pens and thousands of unused condoms yellowing in the pockets of cheap suits. It was certain that at the very least seriality was in, and so was optimism.

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