�I can see what he meant.�
Mike pointed down the street, filled with Saturday shoppers. �The guy who wrote that poem. �Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough.� Who was he?�
�Don�t know.� Owen was trying to concentrate on driving. He still got trapped in pointless circuits of the town centre when trying to escape from Slough.
�I�ll text my sister. She knows this sort of thing.� Paul had a new phone, though he had been complaining that the flip action wasn�t what he really wanted. If his head stayed down too long, he was going to get car sick from the round about route out of town.
�God, I was expecting it to be y�know�. I don�t know. Better. Down here.� Mike wasn�t impressed. They were on a road which promised to take them somewhere nicer. On the left were out of town shopping boxes, to the right identikit corporate buildings. They went past The Company�s headquarters.
�You�re not going to come over all Northern on me are you.� Owen averted his gaze from the office.
�What, and you haven�t been trading on it for the last six months. It has to have some redeeming features, doesn�t it?�
�There�s a BMX track. And I get to ride in through Windsor every day.�
�That may redeem it for you. What about me? Comic shop?�
�I think there�s one in Richmond.�
�It�s a start, I guess.�
�There. Sent it.�
�What was the answer?�
�Give her a chance, she won�t even have received it yet.�

They�d wound up in Staines, on the look out for Ali G, and gravitated to The Swan. Mike had found his redeeming feature. He loved rivers, and the Thames was better than most because it was alive with boats and the eponymous birds. He watched a cruiser going up stream. Maybe, one day, he could do that.
The beer wasn�t so bad, either. More expensive than in Manchester, but not as bad as he had expected. Owen, as designated driver, nursed his half pint of Speckled Hen. �The car has to go back on Tuesday.�
�What you got it for?�
�I�ve got to go down to Southampton and have a look at one of the offices. Dull as fuck, but someone�s got to.� He turned to Paul, �So tell us about this mystery woman.�
�There�s no mystery. I�m just not telling you anything.�
�She�s someone I know.�
�I should fuckin� well hope so.�
�What�s her name?�
Paul�s pocket beeped. He pulled out his phone and flipped it open as nonchalantly as possible, read the TXT and nodded. �John Betjeman.�
�Your girlfriend?�
�The guy who wrote the poem you were on about.�