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Perhaps…” DR Klagfarten leaves this word dangling for a while-he likes to do that, “perhaps the blackbird is the real object of your sympathy. After all, it cannot leave the room, whereas you can.”

“Perhaps.” I don’t leave the word dangling. I leave it crashing, falling to the floor between us, the iterative equivalent of a wildebeest, shot in slo-mo, after being shot with a high-velocity rifle bullet and collapsing in undulations of muscle and dust, crumpling on to the hard, deathly ground.

Dr Klagfarten tries another tack. “I’d like to see you again this afternoon, about another matter… you…

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