Some years ago our neighbours were two lawyers of about our age, Lawrence and Kate. They had a beautiful but face-pierced daughter of about nineteen or so, called Rebecca. If Rebecca was heading in a lawyerly direction, she was taking the scenic route. She smoked pot in the gully between our house and theirs and wore a lot of gothic makeup. She had a drop-out boyfriend who shuffled around in hang-crotch pants and wore black lipstick like hers. From a distance it was sometimes difficult to tell them apart. For a few months this boyfriend lived with them.

“He’s an emo,” Lawrence said when he and Kate came to dinner, “according to Rebecca.”

“What’s an emo?” we asked.

“We don’t really know,” Kate confessed. “But we think they’re basically new-age punks with feelings.”

“Rebecca says he’s very deep,” Lawrence added.

“Deep how?”

“I don’t know how,” he grunted, “but whenever he asks me for money I can see that he thinks to himself all this guy has is a fancy house, a Mercedes, a wife, and a high-paying job—what a fucking loser.”

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