On Wednesday he ate chicken that he had fried in a pan, strictly adhering to a recipe he’d first encountered in beautiful ink printed with real care and taste onto the white paper of a book that smelled like glue and, mildly, of mildew. The book he found lying open on a table in the kitchen of he’d been sent to help demolish and rebuild. It was the property of a woman in her sixties or seventies who sat at the kitchen table smoking cigarettes even though the kitchen was pretty much gutted and men were working in it. She didn’t seem to notice any of it.
“May I take this to the library to photocopy it?” said William.
“Sure,” she said.
He left the building and went to the library and smoothed the pages of the book with his thumbs and photocopied a few recipes.
“My you're young,” said the woman when he brought the book back.
“I’m twenty seven,” said William.
“Ach,” said the woman. She died a few weeks later while the job was still unfinished. They left her little spot as it was for a few days after they’d heard the news, but then they put it all a way, her teacup, her ashtray, and everything else.