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‘Five grand!’ Mower said. ‘Five grand!’ It was as if repeating it would make more sense of the incomprehensible. ‘Your magazine will pay me one thousand quid for publishing details of my strange phenomenon but five thousand if they don’t? There’s some weird bollox going on here, but more likely you’re just talking it!’

‘Could I trouble you for a glass of water, mate?’ Kai replied matter of factly. ‘I’ve been traipsing fruitlessly around Maidstone for half an hour in this heat searching for a rear indicator bulb to kill time before meeting you.’

Glen was about to offer directions to the motor spares shop about a mile away but his cheeky grin signposted that he had no intention of paying for the blinking thing.

‘Yes, but you stay there,’ he instructed, pointing steadfastly at the doorstep.

‘You’re treating me like a thief,’ he called after Mower as he ascended the stairs in search of the H20.

‘Preferable to treating you to more of my possessions,’ he fired back. However, he was aware he shouldn’t be too scathing in his discourse reliant, as he was, upon the demon on his doorstep for the payout for his phenomenon. A minute or so later he returned from the upstairs bathroom with the glass. Kai took it, provided a cursory nod of appreciation that managed to set his fringe loose again and took a sip, though hardly enough to justify his apparent dire need for it.

‘Glad you didn’t throw it over me, old bean,’ Kai announced, ‘I took my life in my hands there.’ The wind was suddenly taken out of Glen’s sails and he went as white as any canvas attached to a mast.

‘What do you know about that?’ he demanded, but his fussilade failed to penetrate its target and Kai simply returned an enigmatic smile. Mower’s confidence had taken a bash. His brain felt like it was doing somersaults between his ears. He was sure that very few people would have seen the short paragraph in The Kent Courier tucked near the foot of page seven ten months earlier informing its readers that he had been given a two year suspended sentence for his misdemeanour, but evidently it hadn’t escaped the notice of his erstwhile fellow student or the proprietors and staff of Strange Phenomena UK. Surely, everyone who had ever made his acquaintance was aware, including Kai, that the offence was so out of character for him and still treat him with the respect he deserved.

‘What’s that?’ Mower said in reaction to a noise emanating from the lounge before heading there to investigate.

‘I didn’t hear a bean, matey,’ Kai replied as he followed him as unrequested back-up.

‘Look,’ Glen gasped, ‘the clock, the clock on the mantelpiece has moved!’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Of course I’m bloody sure. It’s always been central there,’ he explained in exasperated fashion before replacing it on the spot it had always occupied previously. ‘It’s never been to the right. Who keeps a clock on the edge of a bloody mantelpiece?’

‘Maybe someone is trying to tell you that time is being played with,’ Diamonde declared with a calm assurance that Glen couldn’t help but feel had been scripted maybe as a ruse to gain admittance to his abode. ‘You seem alarmed, matey,’ his undesirable guest continued, placing his hand upon his shoulder. ‘You’ve had a day of weird occurrences. How about we have a beer,’ he said producing a can from the supermarket bag he carried,’ and I will gladly explain things?’

On an afternoon filled with strange phenomena the strangest phenomenon of all had just manifested: Kai Diamonde had bought Glen Mower something!

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