A girl walks into a bar and takes a seat in the furthest corner of the room next to the jukebox. She doesn’t know the song but it’s Elvis. The barman is wearing a white shirt and a black tie and he nods in her direction. She smiles without opening her mouth and she takes off her coat. On the walls there are some paintings that she won’t remember, but the photograph she sees will stick with her. A pint of Best please—£2.50—and she sips off the top and takes it back to her seat. The envelope in her hand contains an idea. It is a rental and will expire after five minutes. Her finger slips into the corner of the sealed lip and tears carefully along the crease. Inside, the paper is white and folded in thirds. She can see this through the frayed edge of the envelope. She takes another mouthful of beer and holds it in her cheeks. She feels shifty. She swallows the beer and takes out the paper. The five-minute countdown commences as she reads the final word.

It’s standing right next to you and her friend twists in her seat looking over
her left shoulder.

No, the other way.

The two of them are sitting on a park bench in the Botanics. A woman with
an empty buggy walks towards them and stops to wait for a toddler who’s
trailing behind.

There’s nothing there .

It’s a regular occurrence.

Please read the following instructions carefully before proceeding:

It is advised that you position yourself comfortably, ensuring that you are
seated and that your back is supported. After reading do not…

She skims the rest of the document missing the small print entirely. *

Her glass doesn’t smash when it hits the floor but spits, splattering froth on her jeans. The five minutes passed half an hour ago. She picks up the glass and puts on her coat and wipes down her jeans with her sleeve. The barman nods as she walks out the door. He wrings out a cloth. On the floor is a white envelope that he takes to the bar. There’s no name on it but the paper inside is folded in thirds. He puts down the cloth and wipes his hands on his thighs and

*Although side effects are rare, previous renters have reported dizziness, nausea and a slight swelling of the gums post rental. Momentary black-outs during the rental period should not be cause for alarm, however, the renter may find these lapses in consciousness continue post rental appearing as a dark shape, frequently described as an oblong. This shape may arrive unexpectedly, inducing panic, therefore it is highly recommended the affected individual does not attempt to drive or operate machinery. Please allow the oblong shape to remain absent for five consecutive days before resuming your normal activity.

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