On Tuesday the phone rang in the hotel room, ringing twice and stopping then twice again after the first time. The third time he was ready and snatched up the receiver on the first ring. There was no one there.

The clerk at the desk informed the stranger that it was impossible to see who called. This seemed confusing given that there were clearly apparatus elsewhere who tracked such things and even the telephone company offered such a service.

He wondered how one formed the plural of apparatus as he prepared to go out for the day. The sky was fragrant with Spring flowers, always a delight in a strange city.

It was his birthday and he imagined someone had tracked him down here, an old lover or his dead mother, calling him in the room.

There was less release than the instructions promised though she held the book closely to her and breathed through her mouth, wondering whether iris could bloom under the oaks.