‘I think we should go,’ the Hand said.
Persistent Smith flicked on his torch and checked his watch. It was about an hour before dawn. ‘Far too early,’ he said curtly.
Smith felt a little sorry for being so abrupt. ‘Well, we could take a look.’
He had spent much of the time in the boot of the Imperial in whispered conversations with the Hand.
‘You’re always popping up when I don’t need you.’
‘That’s not fair. I’ve been helpful.’
Smith had to admit this was true.
‘We’ve had fun together, adventures,’ the Hand said.
Despite himself, Smith had to agree with that as well.
‘Hand, when I was talking to Heidi you made me feel really embarrassed.’
‘She thought I was funny.’
‘I wanted to be with her on my own.’
A long silence followed during which Smith did some thinking of a type he’d done very little of before.
‘I know you’re really just me. You’re not a separate thing. I made you up one day and you hung around.’
‘I know. We’re the same person. You needed a way to share things. You needed a friend.’
Smith thought about that for a while.
‘Yes,’ he said. ‘You’re right. Or rather, I’m right.’
‘We’re right?’ the Hand suggested.
‘No,’ Smith said firmly. ‘We’re both me, so it’s still me who’s right.’
‘Yes. Good Thinking,’ the Hand said with approval.
Smith knew he had changed from the person who had invented the Hand. He no longer needed another voice to help him make his mind up. The realisation felt very good. In that newly empowered frame of mind, though he couldn’t put a name to the concept, he knew he should be gracious.
‘Hand, you are fun to have around, but you can’t just keep appearing when you want to. I don’t want you to go away and, seeing as you’re me, I can’t really do that. Just don’t forget I’m the one who wears the hat in this relationship.’
Somehow the Hand contrived to look deadpan. ‘You’d have to be. I don’t have a head.’
Smith’s laughter boomed through the car. ‘Yes. I’m the one with the head, which means I get to do the thinking. Perhaps I should get a white hat like Markus Koponen. After all, we are the good guys.’
He checked his watch again. ‘OK, let’s get out of the car.’
To be continued…