"I hope we're not interrupting you."
"Your work, I mean."
It wasn't worth a reply, but he said,
"My work's finished."
He took out his tobacco pouch and began to fill a pipe. The boy looked beyond him, over his shoulder, out into the ruined garden. Katie came back with three mugs on a tray. He put a match to the pipe.
"Sit down, Johnny," she said. "You're making us nervous. You don't seem to have got very far."
"I don't know how to begin."
"You're useless," she said. "All right then. Johnny's at uni with me. He wants to interview you. He edits an online magazine."
"I've been interviewed too often. The questions were always stupid. I've nothing left to say."
"I can't believe that," the boy said, and added "Sir", as if once again he belonged to a time that was long buried.
"Drink your tea," Katie said. "If you've got nothing to do you might as well give Johnny his interview. It means a lot to him and can't hurt you."
"You speak like your grandmother too," he said. "She was always critical of my manners."
He drew on his pipe.
"They didn't allow me to smoke where they put me," he said. "Are you lovers? Or what do they call it now? Partners, isn't it?"
"Whatever," she said. "Now it's your turn, Johnny."
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