The small, round man, who smells of sweat, leaves a trail behind him. Papers and cards and objects in bags, reasons to return, reasons to exist. He places images of himself in prominent places. Like a fungus, he creates an unseen network of fibres, a web of life-sucking mycelia, hyphae that colonise and absorb. He has a set of keys cut for his own use, so that he can come and go as he pleases. He spends money that is not his, making himself seem generous in the process. ‘Liar,’ thinks the sister. ‘Crook,’ thinks the brother. The small, round man, who sweats and leaves the air smelling stale, dissembles. As he spins another yarn, his beady eyes survey how much of it has been accepted. He is here to visit a friend. He is here to support the mistress of the house. He is here to get away from the pressures of his home life. He is here to reconnect. His words are shown to be lies by his actions, though. He is here to extract as much as he can get away with. He is here to feather his nest. ‘Imposter,’ thinks the sister. ‘Con-man’, thinks the brother.
The small round man, who smells of sweat, watches with his beady eyes. This way and that, he turns his head, trying to determine who his sob story will work on best. He has assumed a proprietary air since the moment he set foot in the house. This is a place he has not set foot in for almost 30 years, but now the master of the house is gone, and the mistress in a vulnerable state, he thinks the time is ripe to make a move. Only the owner of the house seems to trust him, that vulnerable woman. Her children are suspicious of a man whom they have not seen since they were young. He seems to expect them to welcome him with open arms. He is devious and sly, this small round man, saying one thing to the sister and another to the brother. He conveniently forgets the things they have told him, and plays innocent when he is caught in a lie. ‘Sponger’ thinks the sister. ‘Thief’ thinks the brother. The other, their mother, is merely thankful for his company and the retying of old bonds. But the small round man bides his time, and sweats.