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 By six o'clock that afternoon, Guy Bishop had got to the Home on time. His mind was still full of the strange graffiti on Caroline Rickard's porch. The drive had dislodged a memory of a childhood spent in a bookshop, and he fished his BlackBerry out of his pocket to send her a text. 

                   Folktales of the South Americas for Boys, E. P. Stringer.

That was the name of the book. He couldn't remember the year of publication - fifties or sixties, most likely, with a title like that. He could remember the faded paper jacket and distinctive, rounded cartoon style of illustration. Maybe she could find it online for free or something. Then he remembered that she didn't have a smartphone, or the internet. He was torn between buzzing in at the reception and turning around and going back. 

             A nurse made up his mind for him. "Mr Bishop?"

He jumped. "Oh! Yes. Sorry, I was miles away."

"Didn't mean to make you jump." She smiled at him, and he smiled back. "Your father's waiting for you in his room. He's been lookng forward to your visit all day."

Guy grinned, a little sheepish, and looked down. "Great. Yeah, great, I'll just sign in."

            Once his name was in the log book, the nurse took him down the familiar stretches of fresh blue carpet and peach blush walls, towards the lifts. There were residents heading towards the dining room, some requiring more assitance than others, and apart from the odd whiff of something not too pleasant, the Home was a very welcoming place. 

"Would you like a cup of tea?" The nurse asked, leaving him by his father's open door. 

Guy nodded. "Oh, yes. Please. Milk, two sugars. That would be lovely. Thanks." She disappeared, and he looked in to see his dad in his usual chair by the window, staring down at a solitaire chess game. He had once had a fine thick head of glossy dark hair, but that was thinned and soft and white now. His eyes were rheumy and tired from years of straining in the dim light to read small print. Plagued by athritis, his swollen fingers no longer cooperated when it came to turning pages. 

"Hi, dad." 

His dad looked up at Guy's approach, and a thin smile spread over his face. "Hello, son. Pull up a chair."

Guy dragged one up to the table, also looking down at the board. "Who's winning?"

The old man snorted, and ignored the quip. "What's the latest?"

"Nothing much. Shop's doing fine. John's doing ok. We've got a new member at the LHS, though. That's news."

"A new member?" Harry Bishop blinked at his son. "Not that dreadful woman from the planning department."

"Mrs Rumbold? Oh, no." Guy shuddered at the idea. "No, no. Her name's Caroline. She's really nice."

His dad jerked his head, the corner of his lips twitching up. "Caroline, is it?"

Guy pulled the cushion out from behind his back and put it on the floor. "Yes. Alright, dad. Yes, she's a she. And yes, she's around my age. And yes, she's single." He looked out at the landscaped gardens beyond the window, framed with chintz curtains and stained wood. "And... yeah, she's... not bad looking." He lifted an eyebrow as his father deliberately extended the silence. "I've invited her for coffee."

"That's my boy."

Guy grinned. "Well - there's something else, as well, actually."

Harry Bishop scratched at his chest through his plaid shirt. "What's that?"

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