SLEEPING WITH BJORK is usually more enigmatic than problematic. Little unexpected things are the usual sparks for conflict: making her a pot of tea when she clearly needs herbal e; throwing her "installation" out with the trash because you thought it was only mess; forgetting to offer the ritual sacrafice to the rising moon. Sometimes she'd chide his choice of side-burns or the colour of his eyes. Sometimes she'd explode in such savage bursts of anger that recriminations quickly lead to body-blows, then possibly to blood. This jarred Croon to begin with, but he soon realised it was a necessary flip. Lava flow and ice: that was the Iceland polarity.

Sometimes Bjork would turn so vulnerable that even the most emaciated man would turn hero to protect her. One stormy night Croon found her hiding under a table in the conservatorium. <<We're in a lot of danger, aren't we?>> she whimpered.

<<Huh?>> Croon said, incredulous.

<<It's Thor, the god of vengeance, and he despises me.>>

<<I don't get it>> he said.

<<I've dishonoured the clan, and Thor is calling for my doom. It wasn't supposed to end this way.>>

She commenced weeping, an indulgence Croon usually disliked in his "consolation obligation" zone. He gave her a regulation hug, said: <<Come on, it's just a storm.>> That didn't sound convincing so he hurriedly threw in: <<I know what you mean, celebritydom. It kills the soul, if you dwell on it too much.>>

The tactic seemed to work: she looked up with eyes so misty he could melt and said, <<Who are you? I've never met such an enigmatic.>>

<<Baby, I can't tell you who I am... house-rules.>>

<<Baby, I'm the mistress of the house - I make the fucking rules!>>

<<Look, I don't mean to be difficult. It's just I've always had three rules, three rules to guide me threw my work. One, I never shave my chest. Two, I don't play gays - not that I'm just homophobic, it's just not my thing. Three, this is most important - I don't reveal my true identity. In this kind of work, anonymity is crucial.>>

<<Well, we see about that>> and despite another crack! of thunder she unbuttoned Croon's shirt, exposed a tacky amulet 'neath forests of curled black hair. <<Uhhhh!>> she said. << Well, I'm going to three things to rectify this unbalance. First, I'm going to get me a razor. Two, I'm going to shave this chest retro-bare. Three, I'm going to find out just who the hell you are! >>

Cassius Croon and other characters copyright Robert Sullivan 1996-2000.