Ring ring went the phone.
I continued to read the newspaper. I wasn't on speaking terms with the phone, not after what it said to me last week. Daring to impersonate the disembodied voices of my friends, family and neighbours. The cheek.
Ring ring, it went again.
My resolve broke and I answered, hearing the familiar but muffled tones of Max from the other end of the device.
"What's happened now?"
"Taken prisoner!" Came the distorted reply, "By the Koreans!"
I sighed. I was faced with several alternatives. Either Max had accidently time-travelled and was participating in the Korean war, he had been arrested in Korea, or far more likely, he'd just gotten into an argument with someone of Korean ancestry and exaggerated the argument. Taking down his address, I headed off to find out what had happened.
The laundry was small and worn, with cracking paintwork and a decrepit sign. Inside, I discovered Max trapped inside a spindryer. Spinning round and round, he explained when he called me he'd been trapped in a washing machine and had a load of soap in his ears. Two Koreans, a husband and wife who owned the property, were attempting to help Max out of the machine. I slowly explained to Max, in the loud and patient voice one uses on foreigners who don't speak any English, that the Koreans were not imprisoning him but trying to help. I'll tackle his use of the phrase "the Koreans" later. It'll take a lot of work to explain to Max the difference between 'some' and 'all' again...