“What?” he asked.
“I’d like you to have the word ‘residual’ looked up.
Naz tapped a message into his mobile, then stood with me watching the cars turn and cut. His eyes, still sunk, glowed darkly. After a while he said:
“We’ll need to disappear afterwards”
“Disappear?” I said. I looked up at the sky. It was blue.
It was a bright, clear early autumn day. “How can we disappear?”
“Get out. Cover our tracks. We should remove all traces of our activities here, and get ourselves and all the re-enactors well out of the picture.”
“Where can we all go?” I asked.
“It’s very complicated,” Naz said. “There are several…”
Just then his phone beeped. He scrolled through his menu and read:
“Of or pertaining to that which is left – e.g. in mathematics.”
“Left over like the half,” I said. “A shard.”
“In physics,” Naz continued, “of what remains after a process of evaporation; in law, that which – again – remains of an estate after all charges, debts, etc. have been paid. Residuary legatee: one to whom the residue of an estate is paid. Resid…”
“Accrued,” I said.
“What?” Naz asked.
“Go on,” I said.
“Residual analysis: calculus substituting method of fluxions, 1801. Residual heat of a cooling globe, 1896. Residual error in a series of observations, 1871.”
“It’s because the time of year has changed but that’s not how he used it.”
“Who?” asked Naz.
“The short councillor,” I said. “He used it like a… you know, like a thing. A residual.”
“A noun,” said Naz. “What short councillor?”.
---from Tom McCarthy, Remainder (London: Alma Books, 2006), pp.250-251.