Kitty was in the kitchen concocting a red Thai curry made from beetroot and coconut milk. Now she’s sitting on the loo seat lid. Smoking a long filtered cigarette. Hand cupped as an ashtray. Mascara smudged. Panda eyes. It’s been like that for two days. It’s kind of punky she said as he looked at the smears on the pillow. Sometimes they met. An occasional thing. We are empty hotel rooms baby he told her as she laid her head upon his chest. She listened. Faint beat like a butterfly heart. Inadvertently Kitty tipped her ash into the bath where Arnaud was sitting. He laughs. She is oblivious. My panda eyes, she says, they make you laugh. Arnaud wants to ask her what’s cooking but doesn’t. Yesterday she did okra and shiitake mushrooms with chilli and fresh coriander in a porridge oat gruel. Lots of it. It surprised him. She sensed his surprise. Sometimes she knew what he was thinking or where he might be. I wanted to make congee but there was no rice, she had said with cigarette pursed between her lips as she straddled his chest during a monologue about dreaming of smuggling fake Prada shoes, heels injected with radioactive substances into uranium hungry rogue states. He loved lying there looking up at her listening to the timbre of her voice. Nothing at all to do with the enjoyment of seeing her naked. The pleasure he got from seeing her stroll around in a T-shirt and panties and then finding her in bed because it was too cold. Bed was the place where they talked most. Dreams and plans. Plans derived from dreams. Substance of the ether. They floated in it. Arnaud lifted a clothed and drew it across his face. Arnaud, she said, do you often use your boxer shorts as a face flannel. I mean do you often load the bath with your laundry and sit there like a human washing machine. Baby, I do as I please, you taught me that. Remember, he said laughing, I’m a monomaniac and we are jellyfish in seduction.