October 6th 2018
A cake shop in Bristol. I walk in off the street to ask directions to the cinema. Jodie J pops up from behind the counter.
“Funny, you being here,” I say.
“Not really. I work here.”
She pushes a plate of Lemon Drizzle across the counter.
“You’ll need this,” she says. “I call it Lemon Brizzle.”
(this, clearly, even in sleep, is one of the best jokes ever!)
I ask her to carry it for me. But she says that she can’t leave.
“What time will you finish?”
“Oh, late tonight. But I don’t know where the cinema is.”
October 7th 2018
Hannah B is running in the Great North Run. She is exhausted at the start line. She lays in the road, panting. The race starts in ten minutes.
“I’ve walked all the way here from Liverpool,” she says.
Philip M pushes his way through a crowd that has surrounded her. “Get up, kid,” he says.
The crowd starts to chant his words.
“Get up! Get up! Get up!”
She goes to sleep on the street.
A man in running gear, but carrying an armchair, arrives – he offers her a seat. It seems an extraordinarily kind effort on his behalf.
“Get up! Get up! Get up!” Chant the crowd.
Hannah B sleeps.
And now the crowd just whisper.
“Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.”
October 8th 2018 (London)
The tide has gone out so far that all I can see for miles is mud and rock and shipwrecks and whales and, oddly, Crystal Palace radio transmitter.
A woman, dressed in Victorian garb, sits at a spinner at the end of North Shields pier. She is in the distance, but I can hear the wheel creak as she pedals it. She looks up and over the vast bay and waves. I can hear her thoughts.
She is sad because her son drowned at sea long before I was born.