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You see that guy that just walked past. Yeah, that one – no, it’s not him. I went to school with him. He sat in front of me in French and was reading that book – you know the one – about that guy who killed an Algerian because it was sunny – that’s the one – while the rest of us were still trying to figure out what the second person plural of avoir was. He was one of those people, you know the kind, who thought he was a rebel because his hair wasn’t regulation length. He didn’t tuck his shirt in either. Or do his tie up. And he got bollocked all the time because of it.

Anyway, one day – sit down, that’s not him either – he dyed his hair green – I think it was for charity or something, so the teachers were okay with it – but after the weekend, or whatever, it was still there. He said he’d tried to wash it out but it wouldn’t budge, and so for the rest of the year his hair moved through different stages of green, from a kind of neon to sort of grassy, and then to that pale green they use to paint the walls of mental institutions or whatever. The green of tea cups at Church Hall coffee mornings, or something – wait.

We called him Grassy or Alien Boy – that’s it, the green of aliens in cheap sci-fi shows – but he didn’t care. You’d say, hey, Grassy, and he’d just say, yeah, like you’d called him by his proper name, whatever that is, I don’t remember now – I said, wait.

I don’t think the green tinge ever really washed out, though clearly it has now – what was his colour? Ginger? Strawberry blond? He ended up studying French or Russian at Bath, or somewhere in the south east, I think. Yes, he tried engineering in a fit of testosterone, but then realised he’d once dyed his hair green – let me pay the bill first.

I didn’t know he lived round here – if he does. We should probably look him up, what with his languages and all.

Right. Ready? Let’s go.

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