The evening sinks into night and two men sway out onto stone streets. Having left the music and

clatter of the restaurant, this new silence seems concentrated; something they have to wade through. James clutches a bottle of red wine in his hand and they decide to make a toast. There’s plenty to celebrate; their company has just finished it’s tour.

They use the marble edge of a water fountain as a seat and James tops up their glasses until they’re almost overspilling. He lifts his glass to his lips and slurs over it: “Is all really said and done now the fat lady has sung?”

Lucas trails his fingers in the fountain’s water, he notices a drowned bouquet of flowers. “That’s a question of forms and endings.”

James peers at Lucas through his wine glass. “And also a question of: why must she be so fat?”

Lucas gives a breath of a laugh. “Because life is fat.” He carries on staring into the fountain’s water. Tonight is their last night in Italy.

“That’s true.” James strokes his chin slowly then stands up with his hands on his hips. “Sometimes too fat to fit on a stage.” He starts to pace, his rolled sleeves fall down as his arms swing about. “Which is why curtains are important, and also the flowers; thrown like fullstops. Thentherearethoseclaps-thatspacebetweeneachhand:empty,full,andemptyagain.” Hespins round to see if his performance is being observed.

Lucas sits still, he bites the rim of his glass. “Another toast?”