Uncle Petrovic came home from the foundry today waving a scrap of paper that the District Administrator had handed him with a grave look on half his face. A childhood accident involving strong glue had left the Administrator’s face with nerve damage in the left side; he couldn’t move the muscles there at all, and every expression seemed to betray an underlying apathy. His mother blamed herself for the accident, and each day she spent over the kitchen sink, making beet soup and rethreading used twine, was a day of atonement for an accident she could never have hoped to prevent. Her husband, the old cobblesmith, used to joke that by her ceaseless domestic labour she was mortifying her flesh in the style of Dominican monks. He himself lived a life of relative comfort having retired early with painful insteps, the inevitable lot of the cobblesmith, and was pursuing an interest in chess. He played regular games against the postman who was generally recognised to be the finest chess player in the village- apart from the village chess-smith, who cared little for the game since the death of his only son. The son, though a fine man and an outstanding tooth-grinder, had been a poor chess player, and had died in battle during the most recent war, struck down by a relatively minor soldier. His secret sweetheart was consequently engaged in a frantic search for a husband before her bump became too obvious and her unborn child was branded by the other villagers. Her front-runner was a pragmatic bank manager who understood the situation and who was still weighing the problematic ignominy of raising another man’s child against the acquisition of the beautiful young pregnant woman. Having known affection only once before, and briefly, in the arms of the dowager of the house upon the hill, he craved a woman as surely as the dowager herself craved the young gardener’s apprentice who worked her lesser shrubs with such fumbling care. The apprentice had not reached such an age to have had many thoughts on the subject, and the head gardener, with a cultivator’s instinct for husbandry, was keeping the boy as far away from the old spinster as seemed necessary. It was among his principal concerns, the foremost being the health of his ailing wife, a woman who, for forty-five years had formed the better half of his nature, and who was now visibly diminishing. Every evening he returned to her bedside, the dirt of the day crusted deep down in the lines of his hands, and fed her thin broths and milk. She was lucid a great deal of the time, and when she was not, he would hold her hand and quietly repeat her name until she returned. She shivered in any heat and told him, her voice cracked, that he led her back to the light. It took a little longer each time.


Whenever I book an overseas trip these days there are more services thrown in with the flight. This time they included the plane, the hotel and the taxi, as well as some restaurant and activity discounts that basically mean I’m allowing an airline to plan my entire vacation. Then they sold me a phrasebook, through their partnership with Amazon, and once Amazon saw I was buying a foreign language phrasebook it started to offer me ‘poolside novels’, which I bought, and inflatable lilo’s, which I didn’t. I once met a woman on vacation with whom I had a brief holiday romance. We didn’t stay in touch but I saw her again the following year in a different hotel. We laughed when we eventually realised that we’re subscribed to the same frequent flyer scheme, but it made me realise that, on top of everything else, the airline has some say in who I sleep with.

I scanned the arrival gate for a driver standing about with my name on a card but there was nobody there, and I eventually found him waiting outside, parked illegally and smoking a thin cigar.  He watched blankly as I lumbered my case in the boot of his car.

He already knew my destination so I didn’t need to get out my phrase book, and we drove in silence, him tapping his hands against the wheel in time to the radio, me looking out of the window at the flat, heat-pressed haze beyond. There was a prevailing earthy quality to the colour palette of the scenery which I recognised from television, but fewer crooked old men leading goats than I would have liked.

We pulled up after a half hour of repetitive scenery and I glanced about. There was a grey, low-slung building to our left and nothing else around in any direction.

‘Why are we stopping?’ I asked.

He frowned, shaking his head and pointing to his ear.

‘Right.’ I dug out the hard rectangle from my back pocket and opened at the first page, sweat prickling my scalp. I opened my mouth to bluster through whatever useful phrase I might come across, and stopped. There were no useful phrases in the book. Instead I was looking down at a page that said  Personal Notes: name. address. private phone. carphone. fax number. driving licence. passport. In case of accident please inform_________.

I blinked and, as is often the case, understood my mistake instantly, though I refused to accept it. The front cover of the book said ‘Pocket Diary, 1994’, and I could clearly picture, as though it were a still from a famous movie, the image of my phrase book on the corner of the dresser hundreds of miles away.

The driver watched me dispassionately and relit his cigar as I ransacked my travel case, laying out every item in my lap, refusing the sure knowledge that it wasn’t in there. When I started to turn out my pockets he began clucking his tongue irritably.

‘Carangua,’ he said, pointing out the window.

I pressed my face against the glass and squinted to see if there was something beyond the ugly little building beside us.

‘Hotel Carangua?’

He nodded. ‘Hotel Carangua.’ He pointed again and I realised that there was no other building.

I looked at the pocket diary.

‘When was the last time I used a fax machine?’ I thought idly. ‘Did I ever use a carphone? I think they passed me by.’

He opened the boot for me to get my case and then puttered steadily away into the distance, my belongings scattered in the dirt, me clutching the diary. Beneath Personal Notes it said Donor Form: I_________request that after my death my kidneys, corneas, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas be used for transplantation. I have informed my next of kin of my wishes. Signed_________.

I put the diary back in my pocket, wondering where I had got it. Presumably it hadn’t been in my trousers since 1994. It occurred to me that, just like the obsolete fax and carphone information, the next generation’s science might give us lab-grown organs that would make the process of transplantation redundant.

‘You used to keep the organs?’ My future-grandkids will say, wide-eyed with horror at future-Christmas. ‘To put them in other people?’

‘Oh sure,’ I’ll say, leaning further back in my future-chair, ‘sometimes a good item would be handed down through the family. Why, your kneecaps are seventh generation.’

At the desk I exchanged a combative series of gestures with the clerk who took my passport and examined it closely while I glanced slyly around the foyer. There was an overhead fan barely stirring the air and a dehydrated ficus withering in its pot. A coin operated drinks fridge with a shocked motor rocked gently back and forwards. Two young, hollow eyed boys sat on the ground, their backs against the wall, jaws slack. I opened the pocket diary, flicking past the directory, the London tube map, and the list of international holidays. The desk clerk was holding a clipboard and shaking her head slowly as she turned page after page. I found the organ donor form again, and signed it.

Waiting for the man

I used to buy my pot from an enterprising teenager called Ian. I suppose any self-employed teenager is enterprising really, but Ian was different to the other teenaged dope-slingers I patronised, in that he cleverly tried to franchise me. After a few months of meeting him in a parking lot between the nice side of town and his side of town he came to understand that, unless I was a particularly high-functioning drug addict, I must be supplying a small group of friends and acquaintances. I’m sure this is the norm everywhere; every group of pot smoking friends includes at least one person who knows what number to call, what password to use, which parking lot to wait in. For my group of friends that person was me, and so once or twice a week I’d receive a few of calls, I’d make a few of calls, and I’d head across town to meet some guy, usually Ian, and buy everyone’s pot. I would often arrive home after one of these jaunts to find my extended friendship group in my living room, waiting for me to distribute wrapped presents like an unseasonal Santa Claus.

‘Ho ho ho. For you Jasper, an effective sedative for your chronic back pain. For Nathan, a temporary escape from a life you didn’t choose. For Sarah, the only means by which you can sleep! Ho ho ho, merry Wednesday!’

Over three years of concentrated activity I estimate that I walked back and forth from that parking lot two hundred times- about one hundred and fifty miles- carrying a kilo and a half of Cannabis. When another dealer I used, a guy from school called Tom, ditched his moped for a used Fiat Punto, my flatmate and I did the maths and realised that between us we’d paid for the upgrade.

None of this made me any money of course. Aside from the occasional courtesy joint it scored me, my wanderings were strictly pro bono and it was this fact that Ian picked up on when he attempted to make me an outlet for his brand.

‘All you’d have to do is what you’re doing already,’ he’d tell me, seemingly reasonable, ‘only, you’d be making money out of it.’

When I asked him how this was possible I felt like the wide eyed patsy you see in infomercials on late night TV.

“Gee sir,” some hopeless schlub says to a pastel suited presenter with shockingly white teeth, “I’ve heard of people earning good money, working from home while they sleep, but I don’t know how it works”.

“Well,” says the presenter, adjusting his mask which slipped momentarily to reveal the poisonous lizard beneath, “all you need is a cellphone and a pragmatic attitude to your colon”.

I wasn’t earning great money in my legitimate job back then, so the idea of becoming a freelance drug dealer on the side held some appeal. I was working at a local supermarket, where I held the illustrious title of ‘Chief Dressing Agent’. This mostly involved putting toys and sweets at child-eye height so they’d bug their parents to buy them, or hiding the toilet paper at the back of the store so you have to walk past every other product before you can buy it. We put smaller tiles on the floor in the meat section so the clacking of the wheels of your trolley seems faster and you slow down. That fresh bread smell near the bakery? Are they baking bread all day or did some clever person bottle the smell so we could pump it out? I was sent on biannual training days where, after the name tags and the ice-breaker questions, we had to declare how often we completely changed the layout of our store.

‘Disorient them,’ we were told, ‘spin them round until the only thing they can remember is the word “buy”.’

 The deceptions were manifold.

All of which is to say, there was no moral component to my descision making process at the time. I figured that if it was permissable for me to double the price of selected items and then half them the following week in order to honestly advertise them as ‘half price’, then selling pot to those that wanted it was, at worst, morally grey.

I don’t know what Ian does these days. If this was a dramatic story, he’d have worked to the top of a cocaine empire by now, and if there was going to be a moral he’d be dead or in jail. Probably it’s neither. Probably he quit when the clientele in that small town got too much younger than him. At least one dealer I knew went to University, leaving the business in the hands of his younger brother. Another put her profits towards a little coffee place where you can get a free latte if you intimate darkly what you know about her past.

I didn’t start selling pot on Ian’s behalf, because I didn’t like the hours or the idea of having a quota. It was a hobby that I didn’t particularly want to monetise, and I’m glad I kept it that way. I was strictly pro bono.

We’re not done.

…………………b..t……can’t………………………………………….to……………………………..tell………………..literally……..all..we..have…………………………………………………suspect..thrill…is…………….wh..t………to……..raging…round………….in..what..we..see…………’re………………..mouth……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Hel..o? He….o? ……lo?

I thought I saw you move for a moment there. Like your cheek twitched or something. Maybe. The doctor’s said not to rule it out. Well, one of them did, the nice one I told you about, the young lady doctor. That other one you had, the older gent, he said- well, he didn’t mind pissing on our parade let’s say.

Are you in there John? Did you twitch or not? Can you feel my hand on yours now? I so want you to. I so want you to feel it. I bet if you can hear me then you can feel my hand as well. I choose to believe that you can. But if you can feel my hand then you can feel the restraints too and I need to apologise for that; I wish they weren’t necessary John, but there might be some involuntary movement. It can be dangerous, according to my research. There are all kinds of online forums for coma carers, people looking after catatonics or persistent vegetative states. I’m learning all the lingo. It helps.  You’re not done John. We’re not done.

Who knows what you’ll think when you open your eyes one day, try to sit, and find yourself tied to a hospital bed in your own basement. Sorry about that too, but this is the only place I could fit your equipment. You’ve got all kinds of machines keeping you going John, pumping stuff in, pumping stuff out. Wouldn’t want to get those two the wrong way round. If you can hear my voice then you can hear the little whirrings and beeps they make. Delicate things they are, but bulky. I have your room now. I must say, from the way you spoke about the house I imagined it bigger than this. I hardly had space for all my things when your stuff was still here.

Let’s not sugarcoat the situation John; I’m having to do everything for you, stuff a person’s own mother would shrink from doing. I don’t mind it though John, I don’t mind it at all. I’ve learnt all about the machines and how to maintain them, how to repair them if I need to. What would help you, what would hurt. When I checked you out from the hospital I told them we were going private from now on- my little white lie. I just didn’t want them intruding John, didn’t want doctor’s crawling all about the place, telling me how to care for you, telling me what’s in your best interests. They weren’t sorry to see the back of you John; caring for someone in your situation isn’t glamorous work, but when they didn’t find any living relatives, I think they assumed you’d be there forever. When I went in to, to ‘claim’ you as it were, they were overjoyed. They asked how we were related of course. I decided to say cousins in the end, which made the documents less trouble to produce. Another little white lie John, but I couldn’t leave you languishing there could I? Because we’re not done, are we John? No. Not for you to see out your days in a hospital bed when we could just as easily be here together.

And after all you’ve been through, well. Left for dead, but here you are. I had to come and find you after that. They talked me through your injuries John, as kindly as they could. That ugly word, torture. They had their own guesses as to what was used on you John, soldering irons, needles, hammers, knotted rope. Knotted rope? They didn’t need to tell me of course, I don’t think they even wanted to. It just spilled out of them, excrementally. I think it was a bit overwhelming for them, poor sensitive little dears. They even told the interns that you’d been in a car accident, to spare them. Can you imagine it?

Knotted rope though, now, I can’t imagine where they got that idea. I suppose the bull whip leaves a similar mark, but the lines aren’t as clear with rope. Are you in there John? Can you feel my hand on yours? I so want you to. I so want you to feel it.

(I would love comments on whether this piece works as a short horror story, if you think it is original, or any thoughts you have on the form- J Patrick Barton)

Java Island: a True Story of (idiot) Tourists

If this was an exodus, then Tim Hayden was our Moses. In the manner of exodus the journey was turning out longer than expected, but although the promised land was not yet in sight, we held the faith and put our collars up against the wind.

‘Are we close?’

Tim didn’t look at the map but angled his face towards the sky, as if he might be checking our location against the position of the sun in a display of rugged outdoorsmanship, or receiving data from satellite navigation or possibly awaiting a message from god.

Tim’s a well-built guy, with the kind of thoughtful air and level tone that inspires confidence; it had been pure chance that the woman behind the counter of the hostel had passed the map to him rather than to me or Sam but, of the three of us, he was probably the one most likely to fall into the leadership role.

‘We’re getting closer,’ he said.

We stopped to roll cigarettes and stood together on a bridge, Sam and I looking down into the sluggish water below, Tim glancing around like someone sizing up the place’s potential for encampment. This far from the centre, Amsterdam had lost much of its charm, modern utilitarian suburbs replacing the ancient town houses that lean friendly towards the street, average, workaday Dutch citizens replacing the freaks and thieves and hookers.

We had been walking for about an hour since leaving our hostel that morning and hadn’t yet got anywhere worth being, but Tim’s confidence seemed firm and, in the absence of any better suggestions, Sam and I were resigned to follow him away from familiar ground and into uncharted territory.

It had occurred to us the night before, as we shared two microwave meals between the three of us, that we had not budgeted well for the trip. I was largely to blame for this, having assured the others, on the basis of my one previous trip to Amsterdam, that I would be able to track down a cheap place to stay by booking last-minute. I had once been able to upgrade to the first class compartment of a TGV Europe train by booking on the day, and it had become my habit of thought, against all subsequent evidence, to assume that anything booked last-minute would end up cheaper. On this basis I waited until the three of us were already in Amsterdam to find a hostel, my friends too much taken in by my brazen assurance to challenge the idea. But now that the ‘Flying Pig Uptown’ had most of our money we were having to adapt to a fiscal limitation, discreetly refilling our glasses from shop-bought beer cans and hopping on the back of moving trams to avoid the fare. Our biggest concern was recreation; we might be able to do the week on minimal food, and survive the odd miscalculated lunge towards the number 26 to Schipstikplatz, but if we weren’t going to have any fun, then we might as well have stayed in England.

Tim pinched his cigarette between thumb and middle finger and flicked, sending the butt spiralling over our heads and into the water below. Turning his back on us he unfolded the map, tapping it and nodding. Sam and I looked at each other and, dropping our cigarettes over the wall, joined him.

‘We’re about here,’ he said, indicating roughly three square miles of terrain, ‘so we need to head north-east for maybe another half hour, an hour at most. Definitely no more than an hour and a half.’ He pushed his fringe out of his eyes. ‘It’s going to be great.’

He set off and we followed after, both wondering if it was time for us to take a closer look at the map. Even the Israelites had their occasional doubts.

Our destination, far out from the usual tourist hotspots and enigmatically labelled ‘Java Island’ did not feature prominently on the map, edging off into the far right corner, half the island hanging off like depictions of America in medieval maps of the world. Unlike the cramped city centre, which was adorned with symbols representing restaurants, nightclubs and museums, the visible section of Java island had only one icon, a red trident over a green circle, repeated on every street.

The day remained cool, the broad Dutch sky scowling grey, but it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm so much as it increased our investment in the absurd promise that Java Island held. Over the previous few days we had entered several famous “coffee shops” and brought ourselves to various degrees of stupefaction with the controversial product they sold there. It was these exotic locations that had brought us to Amsterdam rather than any of the other famous European cities we might have visited. Like many twenty year old boys we were fans of cannabis and semi-regular users back in the UK, so the novelty of being able to smoke it openly was not lost on us, and we had a great many conversations, or possibly the same conversation a great many times, about the taboo that existed in our own country. It didn’t occur to us immediately that after the novelty wore off, smoking dope in The Netherlands would not differ widely from smoking it in our parent’s garages, so getting high was destined to be the touchstone for the trip, not just a single aspect of the time spent there but the logical accompaniment to every other activity. We got high to go to museums, to visit places of historical interest, to walk around the canals; naturally enough, when our financial situation became apparent to us, our chief concern was the continued consumption of world standard dope in comfortable, interesting surroundings, and our prerogative, expounded in the time-honoured vocabulary of the tourist  was to visit only the most ‘genuine’ and ‘traditional’ locations, experiencing the ‘real Amsterdam coffee shops’. There is a kind of tourist who identifies themself as a ‘traveller’, and who is forever engaged in a sort of existential quest for realness in the places they visit, anticipating a location which, though necesarily predicated on perfect continuity is nonetheless welcoming to the tourist, but crucially, not to tourism in general. It’s a big ask, and the search has driven more than a few backpackers to cynicism. Worse is the dilemma of those who do find what they are looking for, because it is too often torn away from them by some unforseen factor, an incongruous Irish Pub, a keen expatriate community, or heaven forbid, a McDonald’s.

Ours was not so lofty an ambition, but as we walked a grand theory of Java Island was being formed.

‘If there’s a coffee shop on every street,’ Sam asked, ‘how do they do enough business to stay open?’

Tim frowned. ‘They must be small,’ he said, ‘so their costs will be low. The rent will be next to nothing this far out. And maybe the other half of the island- the half that’s not on the map- is full of people, so there’s lots of business nearby.’

We all agreed with this obvious wisdom.

After another half hour of walking I had a sudden inspiration. ‘Doesn’t the word “Java”,’ I asked, ‘have something to do with coffee?’

‘I think so,’ said Sam. ‘What’s your point?’

‘Well, Java Island, has lots of coffee shops. Could this be where that name came from?’

We arrived at the bank of the river Amstel and began to cross the bridge, walking in profile along a narrow pedestrian footpath.

‘I don’t think so,’ said Sam eventually, raising his voice over the traffic noise, ‘I’m pretty sure the Java Island you’re thinking of is in Indonesia or someplace.’

‘Then perhaps it’s the other way around,’ I said looking back over my shoulder. ‘Perhaps they named this island that because of the number of coffee shops they have.’

We thought this was almost certainly the case and exited the bridge footpath, Tim spreading the map over a bin.

‘I thought,’ he began ponderously, ‘that we were crossing Dijkbracht.’ He pointed it out. ‘But the bridge we crossed was too long for that.’

‘So where are we?’ I asked.

He peered at he map, glancing occasionally at the small area of apartment buildings into which we had emerged.

‘Well, I guess that must have been… Jan Schaeferburg then.’ He stood and folded the map away, looking this way and that.

‘So, what does it mean?’ I asked, ‘Are we close?’

He raised a speculative eyebrow. ‘We’re here’

The three of us looked around. If this was a hub of urban cannabis culture it was hiding it remarkably well. At first glance the various apartment buildings that seemed to constitute the majority of the island were individual and quirky, but, looking further down the length of the island it became obvious that there was a repeated pattern of the same five or six designs.

‘Well,’ ventured Sam, ‘if this is the place let’s have a look around. Maybe there’s something further in.’

Walking a few paces it became clear that there was nothing further in the direction we were headed; the island, it transpired, was only about 100 feet across, apartment buildings shore to shore.

‘The map said there was a coffee shop on every street,’ said Tim. ‘You both saw it.’

We stood for a moment, each of us silently reaching for our tobacco pouches. The journey had at this point taken somewhere around three hours and it was dawning on me what it might mean to have to turn back now, without having achieved anything, and walk back another three hours.

‘Well maybe we need to head that way.’ I pointed down the length of the island. ‘It’s not deep but it’s quite long. Could be that what we’re looking for is that way.’

They turned and followed my finger. The same five or six apartment buildings repeated as far as we could see, without a single person in sight. They frowned over their cigarettes. Sam looked out towards the river, while Tim crumpled the map unconsciouly in his spare hand.

I binned my cigarette and left them both where they were standing. The skinny island was crossed by regular canals with apartment buildings on either side and I walked until I got to the middle, where there was a grassy area with some neat benches and a single lonely swing. I turned back and met the others walking my way.

‘No use,’ I said, ‘It’s the same that side as well.’

Tim hissed though his teeth.

‘I don’t get it,’ he muttered, brandishing the map. ‘There should be a coffee shop right there, right bloody there.’

Sam and I looked at the forlorn little bridge he was pointing towards.

Sam looked at us. ‘You don’t suppose that maybe there is one there? That it’s in one of the apartment buildings or something?’

‘I don’t see anything,’ I said, craning my neck. ‘Do you want to go and knock?’

He looked away.

I asked Tim if I could see the map. He narrowed his eyes suspiciously but held it out to me, standing away as I unfolded it.

I followed our path from the south, our hostel on Vondelpark, and along the circuitous route we had wound through the city. I only had a hazy idea of where we had been for most of the afternoon but I could track our recent progress from a nearby museum shaped like an old wooden ship and the very long bridge that had finally brought us here. There was no question that we were on Java Island; it was the end of the line and there was nowhere after here. I tried to pinpoint exactly where we were standing, just this side of the grassy area, the last possible place on the map, the very uppermost right-hand corner. I looked in the key for the symbol we had been following around the city for the entire trip, the little trident on the little circle. Only…

‘Tim?’ I tried to keep my voice as conciliatory as possible as I held the map out for him to see.

‘This symbol here, the green trident on the red circle? That means a coffee shop.’

He nodded vigorously.

‘And this other symbol, the one where we are now: the red  trident on the green circle? That means “interesting bridge”.’

This is a fictionalised version of a real event. Most of it is true, the largest change being that it was at least as much the authors fault as it was Tim’s. 

Remember kids: doing drugs doesn’t make you cool. It just makes people think you’re cool. Which is actually pretty cool. 

Cranking it out

Have I got the stuff? Have I got the stuff? Sugar, do you really want to be that way? Sugar, do you really want this to be a strictly business, no frills, no names, no smalltalk tradeoff? Sugar, do you want to know what I had to go through to get this for you? To bring this all the way uptown (me without an automobile by the way) and keep it warm on this nasty winter’s day (about body temperature or 37°c, don’t ask) and put together the whole shebang from production to delivery in less than an hour? All that and you can’t even say hi to a fella? Jesus.

No, don’t humour me. We’ve missed the oppurtunity to make this a civilised exchange. If you want all business, I can do all business. But Jesus.

Let me talk you through this. The product- it’s right here by the way, no, don’t take take it out the box, the cold will ruin it- the product is top notch, the producer being not only a sound worker but also a close personal friend. I’ve got ten guys, ten vendors, and this guy would be my first pick every time. I don’t offer guarantees as a rule, but I can tell you that his success rate is around 90%, so any failures are likely to be the result of human error. On the part of the customer I mean. So when you go about using it, Read the Frickin Instructions. They’re included with delivery, right there in the box, and you can’t go too far wrong if you just do Exactly what they say. Specifically: You may be tempted to use half of this supply and sell the rest on. You wouldn’t be the first. Do not do this. Aside from the risk of arrest, and the likelihood that what you sell will have deteriorated beyond use (it being an extremely perishable product), the amount you have bought is the amount that you will need. Using less than the full amount purchased will very likely result in failure.

You know, there was a time- not too long ago although I’ll bet you’re too young to remember- there was a time when half the planet was producing it. We were surfing a tidal wave of the stuff, blowing bubbles with it. People were giving it out for free. You could fill a bathtub, if you were so inclined. Nobody thought twice about it. Hell, people were going out of their way to avoid it. Now you’ve got to scour the country to find ten guys still making it. I know that you know this little lady, I want you to understand it. I’m ready to hand this over; it’s three milliliters give or take, and the price is six grand, so take a moment, be sure you want it, and then make the transfer.

You’ve made a smart choice. I know it’s tempting to go legit, pay five times as much at a government outlet. Their propaganda is the stuff of nightmares, I’ve seen it. Limbless babies, disease, miscarriages. Trying to scare custom away from the indepedent contractor. That won’t happen to you. I know this because I depend on referrals and repeat business. So if in the future you find yourself wanting to go again- or for that matter, if you’ve got any lady friends that might want to get fixed up- you give them my number. Like I said, I’ve got ten guys, ten fertile business contacts, producing well, producing more than I can sell even. Cranking it out. I’m open to doing discounts on bulk orders. You have my number.

Anyway. That’s that then. This is yours, be careful with it. Good luck, and remember what I said about reading the instructions. It’s going to be great, best thing you’ll ever do. Money well spent. Try not to think about it as two grand per milliliter. Think of it as two grand per 600 million sperm. See you around.