A pingwing at Christmas. Day Four.

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Pip the pingwing settled himself under the table “reserved” at the back of the pub, where a noisy discussion was starting on books, and writing, and where someone had discarded a cup and straw of melting ice. He drank and listened, as they talked about a book on the shelves “The Luck of Barry Lyndon” by Thackeray. The story of someone of poor but good beginnings who does well through friendships, and lives a comfortable life. Well, thought Pip, if only such things were true, not fiction. Here was he, setting out to find himself a better life, only to be sitting, ignored, on a pub floor.

A mighty BOOFF and a shoe kicks him; a second BOOFF and an odd, unmatching shoe hooks him out from under the table. A gentleman, looking and sounding much like Bill Sykes, picks up Pip and smiles. A thousand childhood memories in his face, he places Pip carefully in his bag, alongside an i-pad and a collection of manuscripts, and takes Pip home, to a better place.

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