adrenaline and flow. He’d been up since six. He couldn’t remember the last time he ate. He took another sip of the cognac and scrolled right back to the gleaming opening line that had woken him, hoping to convince himself he still had that at least. He didn’t. It was banal and transparent. He shoved the coffeestained papers out of the way to look at the black and white prints of writers he admired – Agnon, Borges, Murakami – that he had taped to the surface of his work table. He used to believe they helped him focus; it was Borges himself who said the history of literature was a never-ending, fascinating conversation. Of course he meant the history of good literature. Saul couldn’t believe how old his hands looked. Before he married Evie - this was going back - when he told women at parties he was a writer they would arch their backs. Maybe it didn’t matter, he thought, scrolling to the last line he’d written. He might edit most of it out tomorrow, but the important thing was to get some rhythm into it that he could pick up later. He should write a couple more pages. He lifted his hands again. When he heard the knock on the door they dropped heavily onto the keyboard. ‘Who’s there?’ ‘It’s me you fool.’ How the hell had she gotten here so fast? Saul stood and walked to the door. Leaving the chain on its bolt he pulled it open slightly. ‘I told you not to come,’ he said through the gap. Emily had an impossibly small velvet purse in one hand and a white plastic bag in the other. She was soaked. Her normally silky black hair had ruffled into her eyes, and her dripping coat clung to her chest. ‘Open the door Saul.’ ‘I’m in the middle of something.’ ‘Ok. Then stand back.’ ‘No. Emily. No. You can’t…’ ‘I mean it Saul.’ ‘Emily, I said no.’ He moved to the side as she took a step back and raised her right leg. ‘Emily! This is a private…’ Thump. The chain snapped feebly, the door burst open, and she pushed past him into the room. ‘You can’t keep doing that Emily,’ he said, grabbing the door to stop it swinging. ‘I deserve …’ ‘You’re a cretin, Saul,’ she said, facing him just long enough to register her disgust before walking straight to the desk. ‘The girls think you were probably abused.’ She laid her things on the desk and straightened his lamp. The panthers went skulking behind the furniture and she peered at him through dark, bloodshot eyes. ‘But I forgive you.’ ‘Marvellous,’ Saul mumbled, closing the door resignedly. ‘I brought soup,’ she continued, draping the dripping coat over the back of his chair and raising the plastic take away bag. ‘We can talk it out.’ ‘I’m still working, Emily,’ Saul insisted halfheartedly, ‘Please. In fact I'm on the verge of a break...’ He pinched the bridge of his nose. Emily looked him up and down with a curled lip. ‘Really? You’re gonna make it that easy?’ Saul sucked in his stomach, tied his dressing gown around his waist, and folded his arms. ‘Yes, Emily, a breakthrough. It’s a word creative people use to describe…’ He stopped when she put the soup back down on the desk and leaned towards the laptop.