Monday 23rd April 2012
Prior to meeting the Pry Minister
“DON’T suppose either of you has an umbrella?” Jenny wondered.
“Nar. It’s only a shower,” Tom answered. “I’m ready. Let’s go.”
“But Ulla might want a cup of tea first. It’s only twenty to.”
“Thought we’d get there early, put some itching powder on the bench. Bought some specially.”
“Only joking, our mam.”
We had the cup of tea. A nurse was on duty in Emily’s room, in case she woke. Jenny hugged us both before we left, saying we must come straight back so that she could hear all about it.
“We can always take another room here. Save you going back to the cottage. And Em’ll want you to be here when she next wakes up. Have fun. Love you both.”
We took the lift, of course, jostling with each other for the right to press the G button, a tussle which Tom won, being the more determined.
“I hope Quinn’s not there,” he muttered, as we descended.
“Em I five, special branch, whatever. Came round after I told the papers. Looks at you with this icy stare, like he’s pretending he never needs to blink. Then needles you, winds you up, making you want to thump him… cos then, if you do, he’s got an excuse to thump you back. Only he’d break every bone in your body, one at a time. Bar stud.”
The man at the desk gave Tom his skateboard and told us to ring the night bell on our return, as he would be off duty.
It was no longer raining, but the downpour had left many puddles. We crossed the road and pushed our way through a narrow gap in the hedge. The night was dark, the bench wet. We had not thought to bring a cloth, with which to dry the seat. We stood and waited.
Several slow-moving cages came into view, two of which halted by the side of the road. Doors opened and figures emerged. A third cage stopped further up the lane. Tom grumbled. From the huddle of officials by the nearer cages, two people stepped forward and began to cross the grass in our direction. One appeared to be carrying a small case.
“Damn,” whispered Tom. “It’s him.”