Saturday 5th May 2012
A clash of giants
PAPA Ratsy is a mighty giant, both feared and worshipped by the inhabitants of the United King Dumb.
The Pry Minister, suddenly very nervous, ran behind the bench and stooped, as if hoping not to be seen.
Quinn moved forward, placing himself directly in the path of the speeding cage. It skidded to a halt on the wet grass, the doors opening swiftly, three people jumping out.
“You’re under arrest!” shouted Quinn.
“Up yours, Quinny! This is the scoop of the century, mate! You can’t arrest us. We’re doing our job.”
Flashing lights and the click-click sound I recognise as that of a camera. Faces hidden behind the flashes. They run up, calling and laughing:
“Smile please, Pry Minister! Out late tonight, aren’t we? Anything to say to our readers, sister? Hey, Tom Walker’s here too! Hi Tom!”
They photograph everything and everyone, pushing devices under chins, demanding comments. Quinn seizes one of the cameras; there is a violent shoving; somebody falls over.
Bilton’s bodyguards run up, help him to his feet, stand in a phalanx around him. Other cages are being driven across the grass. Sirens suggest more are coming.
“Confiscate their equipment and get them out of here!” orders Bilton. He glowers in my direction. “No press, we said. That was the agreement and you broke it! Mister Quinn!”
“This meeting’s over. Do what you need to do.”
Quinn nods to two of the waiting henchmen, who step forward. Strong hands grip my arms and force them behind my back.
“No!” screams Tom. “You can’t! We didn’t tell anyone… You mustn’t take her!”
“Shut up, you!” Quinn spits.
But Tom heeds him not, striking one of the guards with his skateboard and trying to pull the other away from me.
“Get away, Ulla! Fly! Go!”
I try. I wriggle and kick and sway, but more men arrive, to restrain me, to wrestle the skateboard from Tom’s grasp.
With Quinn and others in pursuit, the boy flees, running up the slope, away from the bench, towards the point where the headland meets the sky.