(Discreet surely? - Ed note.)
(No. Discrete. It's quite distinct from the others. - Heelers note.)
London drifting by the window.
Serafina said: "James, I'm living a double life."
I said: "Wotchu talkin' about Serafina?"
She looked at me seriously.
My eyes widened as I realised that seriously meant seriously.
She wrote something on a piece of paper and handed it to me.
She said: "This is my website. Check it out and you'll understand."
The mighty Heelers appeared momentarily nonplussed.
Serafina stood up to go.
Her parting line: "I want you to be brave. Remember the real me is the me I have already shown you."
Then she was gone.
Well bold readers it can only be one of three things.
Porno, drugs or witchcraft.
Curiouser and curiouser.
Oh my gentle travellers of the internet. You know I've grown up a bit in the last three months.
The gout and all.
It's matured me.
Mentally and spiritually.
As one who pretends to be a Christian, I really shouldn't be interested in the lowgrade titillation of my faculties. Such titillation as my febrile spirit now sensed might be going a begging on the aforementioned website.
My only real concern should be for the well being of Serafina.
By rights I shouldn't even check the website at all.
Yes, that's it.
Never even look at it.
A seeker of truth does not need phantom realities.
Tell her if she wants to talk to me about anything, then that's fine.
Tell her not to be afraid.
Tell her there's nothing she can tell me that will change my opinion of her.
With the calm detachment of an immortal I sat back in the window seat and watched the swirl of cars and buses past the cafe.
A faint smile played about my handsome features.
The smile of a liberated soul.
Others abide such questions.
I am free.
I lasted about thirty seconds.
Hurried from the cafe.
Back to the hotel.
Internet connection in my bedroom.
Furtive glance over my shoulder.
Heavens to Murgatroyd, as the Funky Phantom always used to say when contemplating salacious material of a gratuitously sexual nature on the internet.
My jaw dropped.
Black and red slashing script across the screen.
Of course I couldn't read a thing.
It was in Portuguese.
I'm telling you bold readers.
What boots it if a man gains a momentary anticipatory thrill but loses his immortal soul reading sexual fantasies that he can't even bloody well understand?
I mean really.
What boots it?
What boots it indeed?
(Booties it, surely. - Marquis de Sade note.)
I returned somewhat sombrely to the streets of London.
Strolled up The Strand through the merry indifferent crowds of Thursday.
(A wiser weaker man. - Johnny Cash note.)
Presently I addressed the Deity.
"Er God. Are you there God? James here. Sorry about the whole mad rush to the hotel thing. Letting the side down I know. But remember that spiritual strength and detachment business in the cafe... The thirty seconds worth... I think I'd like to have that for real."