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Let’s start at the end, Virginie thought. She pulled a pair of plastic gloves from her neat brown handbag, and put them on. Then, gingerly, she pulled the elastic band away from the pile of underground tickets. She was glad she had the gloves on. She wasn’t squeamish about blood and guts, but she couldn’t stand filth. Everything in this flat was grimy and slightly sticky-seeming, and these tickets… there was something especially unpleasant about them. She hated the thought of the last fingers to touch those tickets. The pile was about 12 centimetres high, 2 centimetres across and 5 centimetres wide. It was a phallic little monument. It was surprisingly sharp-edged. Those ticket machines must have precision-cutters. She peeled the one with the most recent date and time on it from the pile.
Oberkampf 20 June.
She smoothed her underground map onto the small gap she had cleared on table. The map lay in between his dirty plate and his tidemarked glass of rum, like a placemat waiting for dinner to be served up. She glanced at the door. It crossed her mind that this was going to take longer than she had thought. How long did she have?