The cockroach is looking at me. It’s waving its antennae at me. It’s whole body is scrabbling out of the case. I can’t move far. There’s not much spare room in the luggage hold..
“My name iz Axel.” All of the cockroach’s nasty shiny body is out of the case now.
“You have sat in something, I think,” he tells me.
He is correct. Most of the contents of a bottle of sun cream has apparently emptied themselves onto my feathers. I need a bath.
“I am most grateful, Mister beeg bird, for you and your bottom have opened up this case, and inside there iz much to eat. Look.” Ah, so the thing he is sitting on is a piece of bread.
““May I perhaps in my turn be helping you?”
What? A cockroach helping me? I feel a little lost for words, not a situation I often find myself in, though, in truth, since Mrs Desai died there have not been many other animals to talk to. I used to chat to a pink pigeon but she moved on, I trust to better things.
“I er,” I shall gather my wits, “er thank you, but I do not really see how you can help me.”
“Leesten and I will tell you.” The cockroach really seems to mean it. Perhaps he is not so bad after all. He’s talking again. I must listen.
“I am thinking that you may be having problem leaving the boat. I am thinking that you are not permitted to be here and you will not be wanting to be seen.”
“So, you hide in thiz green bag here. It iz quite empty.”
There is indeed a rather smart, bottle-green canvas bag with its zip partly open.
“There was only leetle lovely food in the bag,” says Axel. “It was most unhappy for me.”
It’s happy for me however. I fit the bag well. And it seems my dear and clever friend, Axel, has another plan up his sleeve, though, of course, he does not wear clothes. Perhaps, I now wonder, he sometimes wears a cardigan. I must ask what that ent-school-cardigan meant and who Mick is.
“No time for more talking now,” says Axel. “When you hear the screaming, jump from out of bag and run to a grey door. I wish you much glück.”
What does he mean? Axel? Axel?