Car 2

Mr Michael Lipkin

Outward appearance

Well dressed, long faced man about 35 in grey suit,beige coat, small round hat. Reading a sumptuously printed book of Hebrew scripture with gold-tooled lettering. He nods slightly in agreement, prodding a protruding upper lip thoughtfully.

Inside information

Works in the accounts section of Pall Mall Oil as a specialist in VAT. The undertaking is vast: tributaries of information about every transaction from catering to cleaning, the staff newsletter or computer maintenance flow into his section. He clarifies policy on each kind of transaction and monitors adherence. It is a sideline.

What he is doing or thinking

The central facts of Michael's life are God and loneliness. He is a naturally solemn man who does everything properly. His work for the company is technically superb and largely unappreciated. He jogs, one might say religiously, every day for the sake of his rangy figure. He thinks a lot.

Michael's father is prominent in London Jewish affairs. Through him, Michael's views on the scriptures are gradually gaining a reputation. Michael's reading is thorough and his arguments, rehearsed in open debate, are authoritative.

Nevertheless Michael feels continually, completely out of his time. Sage,thoughtful Jews like himself allowed themselves to be herded into camps. New Jews are big, bronzed, crew-cutted soldiers who enjoy cunnilingus -- and those are just the women. Michael is not a virgin except in his soul, which only flowers when he reads scripture -- or imagines that he has a wife.

The train stops and he gets out at Waterloo. He bounds long-legged up the steps as if to leap out of himself.

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