The assistant gazes at the reasonably attractive man from Gdansk
with round eyes full of regret.
'Je suis tres desolee,'
She says in pidgin Polish.
'We do not have Robots and Empire in the library at this time.'
He smiles; the melancholy smile
of a man who has read the first three books in the series
and cannot understand why the fourth is unattainable
(it's a specific expression that causes hairline cracks around the aorta of those who see it).
Then he sighs
and vanishes into the mist
never to be seen again.