I guess I nearly scared the pants off Placido when I asked him out at the start of our final semester. I’d barely said boo to him for three years. I liked that he was different

In a course like ours there was plenty of bullish masculinity. For some, everything was a competition, from making that first ten million to who would finish up with me. Morons.

But Placido kept to himself. In the end that was all he needed to give him a kind of charisma. Not that I thought he’d ever be more than a middle manager. But he was a nice guy, hilariously funny when I got to know him. And he could spring a surprise when he wanted.

‘I’ll beat them all,’ he told me one night.

‘Beat who? At what?’

‘I’ll be making seven figures before they’ve even graduated.’

‘How?’ I asked.

‘All will be revealed.’

A few nights later he showed me a booklet. Nice package. Smart looking. The back page took the form of a patterned tattoo image.

‘Every one’s different. Computer generated. They’re a new formulation. Last up to a year.’

‘So?’

‘They have powers.’ He winked.

‘What powers?’

‘Seduction,’ he said. ‘They give people hope.’

‘Snake oil?’

‘Call it what you like,’ he said

‘Seduction,’ I said.

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