Westminster (England, 1993): "Madam Speaker, I —" Baxter groaned and lifted the pen. He stuck the end in his mouth and sucked on it, searching for a better opening line. He crossed out the first words and started again. "Madam Speaker, the —" His pen froze again. "Damn it, why won't the words flow?"
"And now the piece de resistance," the old Colonel announced, leading his younger guest to a sunlit garden. "What do you think?" he enquired, waving his walking stick at the garden's centrepiece. There stood a life-size marble sculpture of a man and woman, hands caressing each other, lips fused in a kiss.