Bareword
Mr. Tokyo

He met Greta when he was 28, on a plane from Munich to London. The drugs were keeping him calm but he needed a focus. Blonde, small and elegant, she amused him with her authoritative pronouncements on every subject, from the quality of the in-flight coffee to the latest developments in Palestine. She told Tokyo her sister studied martial arts and was a fool about boys. She said she worked in an architect's office and if it was not for her the business would collapse.

Only in the line for passport control did he realise what had been bothering him about her. She had no ghosts. It was very unusual. She stood in the queue with her chin held defiantly high, unfettered by her past, and he knew that even if she had an extra bottle in her duty-free, she would frown and imply that this was the fault of the customs officer.

Tokyo opened the conversation again, asking if she would be met at the airport, if family would be there to greet her. —No, she announced. —I will return to my flat in Bayswater with its thief of a landlord and see if he has been searching through my belongings again.

Tokyo was being met by an agency car at the airport. He tried to work out a way to see this woman again as they had their passports checked.

He emerged from the gate to find her scribbling on a card. It was the architect’s business card and she had put a phone number on the back in red ink.

—This is my telephone number. She stared into his eyes. —You will call me.

She marched away through a crowd of other people's memories.