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the wiser of us, the clearer thinker, the better judge of


He always gave his rhino its full title – “Rhino-keros,”

pronouncing it like a Greek word, and I thought that

sounded more impressive too, more poetic.

Alik and I came away from that sports center after the

interview talking incessantly, in no hurry to part, and

headed over to the park. It was summer, hot, and two

plump schoolgirls aged ten or so were playing in the river,

dancing up and down, shoving each other under the water

and, without noticing it, moving away from the bank until

the bottom suddenly disappeared, one grabbed the other,

they clutched at the air and disappeared from view.

Like two greyhounds, in our T-shirts and jeans, we raced

into the water and trampling, on something hard, without

being able to see it from above, I groped around and pulled

out the first one and El pulled up the second; – their eyes

were bulging out of their sockets, they had both swallowed

plenty of water and seemed about to start shrieking but

then, completely unlike little kids, just didn’t, as if they had

grown up in those few seconds they were down there, they

seemed stunned, although only a short time before they

had been squealing and grunting like piglets.

Goggle-eyed and at a loss for words except to babble his

thanks, as taken aback as the girls, their big brother arrived,