Adm looked across at Edrig, this somewhat overweight shambling figure with a rather bald head and puffy grey face framed in sparse wisps of grey hair that had been allowed to grow too long. And the clothes that did not match, nor properly fit. He was a rather sorry sight.
'Maybe we can find some work for you Edrig. I have some friends. Some good friends.'
'Hah! yes, mainly. Nice lovely lady friends.'
'As nice as Eva?'
Adm furrowed his brow at that.
'Ah... Eva... Eva is not here... My friends are cleaner than Eva. They smell very differently, but... Well... We have to deal with things as we find them, don't we?'
'You have become very articulate Adm... And yes we do. Indeed we do.'
'Articulate? Oh yes. I have very good teachers.'
'Young lady teachers?'
'Oh yes. Ha ha. Oh yes. They teach me much.'
'So you like the ladies of Samp... Eh, of Earth?'
'Oh yes. Very much. And look. There is where I work, sometimes.'
Edrig looked up at a large white building.
'A hotel? You work in a hotel?'
'As a barman?'
'Wait and see. But there is a sign that will give you a good idea.'
And Adm led Edrig into the hotel and along a corridor to the restaurant area, then through the restaurant to a large children's play area that, apart from its open doorway, was separated from the restaurant by a glass panel allowing diners to view their children while the children played inside.
'Take a seat. Wait there,' Adm commanded, 'Oh and I'll get a beer sent out for you.'
'Thanks,' said a rather bemused Edrig, then as he sat down he saw the sign:
This Evening's Children's Entertainer - Adm The Man From Somewhere Else
The play area was already populated with a dozen or so children who were wandering between the ball pool, full of brightly coloured plastic balls, the climbing net, and the two plastic chutes that led from a platform at the top of the climbing net and down into the ball pool.
Just as a young lady delivered a beer to Edrig, Adm appeared out of a doorway and stood by the side of the ball pool with his arms raised.
He was dressed in his old ragged fur gown, although it did appear to have been laundered. He was also wearing bright green lycra leggings and his head was covered with a long-haired shaggy wig. He looked very wild, but the children seemed pleased to see him, one even clapping his hands together as they all smiled.
'Hi Ho Kiddsy Peeps!' Adm boomed out in welcome. 'Adm frum planety Biggy Boom hus here!'
And the children laughed some more, while Edrig noticed that many of the adults were looking across from their tables and watching appreciatively also.
'Oh he's great,' Edrig heard one adult say, 'We're going to book him for Hannah's birthday party. He tells great stories too. The kids love him.'
At this juncture Adm called out, 'Look. Me Biggun! Hi hup. In we gu!' and he jumped high in the air then landed in the middle of the ball pool.
The children screamed, but with laughter in their screams, and began pelting the theatrically flailing Adm with some of the coloured plastic balls while Adm tried to repel the balls with his hands, all the time uttering comedic cries of alarm.
'Uh! Huh. Ich! Uh! Noh. Noh.. Badder than Biggy booms this! No Kidsy peeps! Stop kidsy peeps!'
And Edrig watched in wonder and admiration, sipping at his fine Sample 717 beer.
And he watched for about fifteen minutes until a managerial type of lady approached him.
'I'm sorry sir, but some of our diners are complaining about you sitting there looking at their children.'
'The children sir. Are you a parent of any? A grandparent?'
'No. I'm a friend of Adm's.'
'Ah yes. I see. One of the girls mentioned that but... would you mind terribly if I asked you to finish your drink at the other end of the room, perhaps?'
'No... I wouldn't mind terribly, I suppose, but... what time does Adm finish?'
'Oh. Not until eight.'
'Ah. We didn't discuss that.'
And so the managerial lady shepherded the rather odd and bedraggled Edrig away from the children's play area and to a seat by a small table at the opposite side of the room, where he sat, and supped, and pondered.
Edrig was not inclined to wait until eight in the evening, since sitting with an empty glass and no money to refill it was making him feel uncomfortable, especially as he began to realise why some of the diners might not have wanted him to be looking at their children.
With no prior arrangements having been made he decided on leaving a note behind the bar for Adm, giving the address of his hostel and also saying that he would be near to the circle sculpture at 4pm on the next day.
And then he wandered out of the hotel and walked slowly across the bridge over the wide river as the sky darkened. He was alone again, with only his thoughts for company.