Bernal Diaz del Castillo is a tattoo artist who is five hundred years old, or believes he is five hundred years old. His mind is filled with images of the Spanish conquest of Mexico. He lives in Cape Town, working out of a tiny studio in Long Street. Dying, he feels the need to chronicle his remarkable experiences. Luke Turner is a freelance journalist with three obsessions - cooking, women, and the art of tattoo. His ironic style masks the emptiness of his identity. Searching for the truth of his life, he is driven to work through what he calls his 'alphabet of women'. He is equally obsessed with becoming an illustrated man, and so becomes the perfect canvas for Bernal Diaz. Malibongwe Kwetani is a child from Khayalitsha, on the outskirts of Cape Town. Born on the margins, living without means or hope, he is driven to the streets, traversing the city like a ghost in its architecture. Unlike Luke, he does not have time or opportunity for questions of identity.