1234 12.34 PETE

12.34 PETE

Laters. He decides laters. Don’t rush her, she’ll be waiting. Limps to the Hofmans. Two warm pork pies, two sausage rolls, flakey pastry. He wolfs his roll as he walks, hot fingers, hot mouth, warm stomach.

Hanley will be sitting on his tool kit reading the Mail, even if the room was full of chairs he’d still sit on his tool kit, back against the wall. He does it wherever but, Pete thinks, with the guys in Wakefield that would be a good joke, he must remember it.

At the gate the pies send the dog wild but the handler still wants to look so Pete opens up the bag, pork pies, sausage roll, brown lumpy meat each end.

‘Not those you daft bastard.’ The handler points to Pete’s pockets. ‘Empty them.’

The weight starts way back in his head as he pulls out coloured plastic wire ends, coins, house key, a weight of dark water that comes to the front of his head and begins to sink down his chest as he fishes out, a bottle top, Ilkley Brewery, Mary Jane.

‘Inside out.’

Pete pulls at the linings, still hoping.

‘And that one, the little one, go on.’

Hanley had warned him, be careful, you daft twat, you daft bastard, you daft cunt.

The other PO, shaven head, stuffs in his fat ginger forefinger and thumb and picks out the little plastic bag with the bud in.

Pete can’t hear what they are saying, just the wind in the trees outside, he can’t remember any trees outside, he turns to go and look, tries to tell them, ‘The trees .. I’ve got to -‘ thinking there are no trees just those branches of whatever growing out of the walls, out of the railway bridge, ‘The trees.’

‘Come with me son.’ The ginger one has him tight round the bicep, leading him towards a door he usually has to wait to be opened.