I told the bastard that if it takes two weeks I'm not interested.' He had seated her on the settee. She perched on the edge of it, rather than sitting back in comfort. He thought she was expressing an interest in him, but she was actually attempting to remain in contact with as little of the furnishing as possible. The cleaner had walked out three weeks ago and Sol was unlikely to notice for a few more weeks. Alice bent down to retrieve the customised brochure she had had the creative department prepare.
She had had to sit in the office tapping her nails on the desk to get the job done in just three hours. She could never understand why it took so long. After all, she had done all the research, chosen the album cover, given them the wording. Still it was done now. She handed the ageing guitarist the brochure.
'We can survey, install and customise this for you by the weekend. And all for a very competitive price.'
Sol fished around in the rubble that surrounded his chair and discovered his reading glasses dangling precariously from the tuning keys of his Fender Stratocaster guitar. He perused the leaflet, carefully checking out the artwork and laughing the kind of laugh that only sixty years of smoking forty a day can produce.
'You're a clever bitch. That's the cover to 'District Zero', yeah?' She nodded, pursing her lips at the 'bitch' and reminding herself that the sixties were another world - one that existed thirty years before she was born. When dinosaurs still ruled the Earth.
'Well, with buy-back insurance, maintenance, electrical failsafe...' Sol held up his hand. 'How much?'
'Three grand and five hundred a year.'
'Where do I sign?'
She bent to pull out the contract from her briefcase as Sol peered over his reading specs at her, liking very much what he saw. She brought the contract over, together with a company pen, and he discarded the brochure onto a heap of detritus that consisted mostly of complimentary guitar magazines and takeaway menus.
There it lay with a picture of a stairlift decked out in writhing scarlet bodies, knives, guns and drug paraphernalia. Where the words 'District Zero' had graced the album, it now read 'Stairlift to Heaven'.