He sat next to me on the bus on the way home, trying to draw me out. Me with my pimples and long brown hair to hide behind and only my books for company. I kept stammering. Mark was patient: "What do you do for fun? There must be something ... what, you've got a computer? No way. All of your own?" He walked me home and I showed him the Osborne I, how you booted it off a five-and-a-half-inch floppy. I showed him Zork, and then, very shyly, I ran some of my own text adventures, cobbled together in CP/M Basic.

Maybe up till then he was just winding me up, winning a bet with his friends. If he was, at least give him credit for tact and kindness in doing the deed. But he looked at me then with different eyes, seeing not just my face and body but the things I could think and make.

There was a long silence. Then, to my lasting astonishment, Mark leaned over and kissed me. My first kiss. I remember being surprised at how warm and soft his lips were. I could taste the cigarettes on his breath.

Have you ever met a dead man?