>He had been hiding inside some natty compartment meant for ropes or supplies or something else useful that we didn’t have. He appeared on our forth day at sea, suddenly among us like he’d been there the whole time. Except he didn’t have angry stubble, sunburn or diarrhoea. He wore a fresh white shirt and crisply creased shorts.

The first time I noticed him, he was lying back at the lifeboat’s edge like a Hollywood playboy, trailing his fingers in the water. I prodded him with my foot and he flipped up his sunglasses which were, for some reason, on tiny hinges.

“Who are you?” I said in my scratchy, ever-thirsty voice.

“I’m here for the party,” he said, grinning at me with unnatural intensity.



And I had to admit that amongst the horrors and adrenaline-fuelled despair of the shipwreck, I had quite forgotten that today was, indeed, my special day.

The man took a little wrapped gift from his shirt pocket and handed it to me. Which I had to admit was very thoughtful of him.


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