"This isn't what it looks like..."

Said to me by my best friend Emmet, when I went round to visit him one day. He buzzed me in, and I slowly made my way up the 8.2 million stairs to his flat. I walked into his living room, and found him on all fours by the kitchen door, wearing only his boxer shorts, holding a screwdriver in one hand, and a tin of lighter fuel in the other.

These are the moments that return to haunt us.

He looked at me, frozen in time, an image that instantly burned itself on to my retina for all eternity. There was a horrible silence. "This isn't what it looks like," he said, eventually. "Well, you know, that's funny," I replied, "Because I really don't know what this looks like."

It turned out they'd had an outbreak of mice in the building. The sleazy landlord had convinced them that the problem was finally taken care of (that's what they always say), but of course the mice had returned. Emmet had trapped one underneath the door with his screwdriver, and was attempting to gas it, either into unconsciousness or eternal sleep. When I found him, naked and desperate, he truly was a man at the end of his tether.

Sometimes, in the night, I can still see his crazed, naked grin.

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