Hi there, I’ve been watching you a while. I can see you’re trying, but you’re still getting it all wrong. Your hesitant gait, the nervous smile that’s more of a twitch, the eyes darting around the room desperately looking for someone to talk to; it isn’t working for you.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Theodore Robespierre Walsh. Quite a mouthful, isn’t it? But now I have your attention, that’s the first lesson right there. That one is for free. Oh don’t worry, I can see your unease. You’re thinking, That one’s for free? Then how much do the others cost? It’s wise thinking, astute thinking. You’re an astute person I can sense that, but don’t let your sharp mind get in the way of your future success.

Yes, I said success! And again, I can see your thoughts, Me? Success? Because you’ve spent a lifetime battered down by Lady Luck. But not anymore. Take a walk with me, away from these dull saps who would drain your life away. I can give you life, I can give you your dreams. Take a walk with me and I will give you the world, or my name’s not Theodore Robespierre Walsh, genie made flesh.


With Henry she didn’t need to be polite or keep up a veneer of niceness. She could share her secret hobbies: her collection of card games and her love of medical complaints with bizarre names. At work she kept her legs crossed, her lipstick from her teeth and her facial expressions neutral. Her personality toned down to shades of beige. At home with Henry she slouched into sarcasm and stink. She curled up around her laptop and burrowed through the Internet like a rabbit, her nose twitching as she searched for another obscur illness to add to her collection.

“Rotator cuff impingement syndrome!” she shouted with glee, scanning the webpage for symptoms and cures, picking through personal accounts, while Henry fiddled with the workings of a Furby.

“Haemochromotosis!” she called out, as he got up to make them a coffee, she rolled the word around her mouth like a boiled sweet.

“I love how you get such joy from the suffering of others,” he had replied, kissing the top of her head as he passed and she smiled, knowing it was true.