‘I’ve ’ad worse lumps. Did I ever tell you about a girl I used to know in a village near Heraklion? Aliki, her name was. She was crazy jealous.’
‘He makes them up,’ Modesty said to Tarrant.
‘I don’t, Princess. Honest. We used to sleep out on the balcony, first floor. Just a single bed with little castors on. Well, she got the idea I was after some other Cretan girl, and you know what she did?’
‘No, we don’t know what she did,’ Modesty said with the brisk interest of a music hall comic’s feed. ‘Tell us, Mr. Garvin, what did she do?’
‘Well, this balcony rail was just wood and pretty flimsy. So she waited till we’d gone to sleep one night, then she got up …’ He paused and drank. ‘She was a really big girl, see? Hefty.’
‘Go on,’ Tarrant said, fascinated. ‘What did she do?’
‘She gets round the side of the bed and she heaves. I wake up just as the bed an’ me go smashing through this balcony railings, like I was on a dirty great roller-skate. Over the edge and down on the grass. Twenty foot. Wham! Two legs broken.’
‘You broke both legs?’ Tarrant stared.
‘No. Two of the bed-legs. I fell clear. But I got some lumps, though.’ Willie drank reminiscently. ‘I’ve always ’ated sleeping in a bed with castors on ever since. It’s a phobia. I can’t get to sleep in one.’
Modesty was looking at him blankly. She said, ‘Is that why you took the castors off the bed in the spare room at the penthouse?’
‘M’mm.’ Wille nodded virtuously. ‘I told you I wasn’t making it up, Princess. It’s the Aliki-complex.’
(I, Lucifer, chapter 7)