Low and flat – as was the rock, she supposed, that the first fish to venture gasping landward, all those millions of years ago, had struggled onto – the briefcase lay across the stranger’s knees in the thin, fluorescent light of the train carriage. It was not quite square with the man’s lap, resting a good ten degrees – roughly 0.17 radians, she quickly calculated – askew. The misalignment, seen both directly and reflected in the dark window of the train, transposed over hurtling fields and telegraph poles, bothered her a little. As for the briefcase itself, it was notable only for its consummate unremarkability; a brown gloss finish with a handle, she surmised – a briefcase so similar to the hundreds of others on that very train as to be rendered figuratively invisible. Literal invisibility, of course, remained beyond the capabilities of science and engineering. For now.
The man got off at the next stop, taking his briefcase with him.