Monday 10 March

Time to go home, the mind boggles at how Manchester has survived without us (presuming it has) but only three of us will discover how little has changed (or how quickly they’ve swapped it all back). This is not due to the weather conditions of which Lina’s frozen carrier has pre-warned, having been resuscitated mouth-to-beak following its embittering journey from London (thanks for taking over Sanchez, I owe you); instead it is apparently innocent paperwork that reduces Larry Pekalowski, a man of some repute, to prowling Berlin’s mean streets destitute tonight.

All starts well, I breakfast al fresco under blue Berlin skies while Bateman corrals the last of his hair product. DH and Larry then meet us for a last view of the city atop the rétro stylings of the telegraphic tower. An unusually staccato Larry immediately dots and dashes our hopes for a breezy ride home, explaining how both wallet and passport were carefully lifted from his room last night. With barely a flicker of his legendary anger, Larry is next telling the police, only yards from our Easyballoon, the same story. Despite my textbook German (‘I like chocolate, as does my sister, my grandfather less so’) it is of no use - without a reasonable likeness, preferably by a Parisian street artist, they refuse to let Larry board our escape basket in resplendent orange.

It is not until long after lending the pilot my lighter to start us up, a full half-hour after we’ve lost sight of Larry being unsurprisingly restrained, that I fully comprehend the situation. Looking back at me from my passport is not the moody charcoal likeness I commissioned in Seville, but a dreamy watercolour of Larry on his old front porch, smoking a pipe shortly after the second battle of Manassas. During free-flowing fluidity on Saturday, I’m reminded, the chaps had thought it amusing to swap identities (DH has Bateman smouldering amidst a fiery Bosch vision; Bateman DH mid-chorus amongst beach-bound Calypso dancers). Too late now to drop the thing in search of Larry’s air-bound fists, yet the fact remains that whoever took his documents was intent on taking mine. But for what reason? And why?

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