one, we watch them as keenly as they watch us I assure you. Then he was away for three days. Maybe he had some speciality they needed or had been in on a similar investigation in his home town. Whatever, he returned to the site and took up position at the lights near the Eastgate entrance.

They aren’t the enemy. That’s difficult to remember sometimes when they’re hauling you off the top of a truck by your coat-tails, but basically they have kids to feed like most people. They’ve just chosen the wrong job to do it with. So we watch out for them, especially since the crack-up two years ago. Then, a young bobby had visibly wilted on duty, being stationed on the long side of a lorry delivering death and destruction and torture to a conference hall in London, to be sold to Saudi, Turkey and Israel for use on citizens. Incredible, isn’t it? This young fella was stood in the sun for three hours while we blockaded the road. Stood facing my cool drinks stand, the art tables and kids workshops, watching us all being normal, lovely people to each other. He cracked when I approached him and offered to go get him a drink. Took off his radio, threw it to the ground and stormed off, crying. Thank god. He’ll choose something more suitable and that he’s not ashamed of. Rambling again.

So this bobby that came back to the protest. He didn’t seem right. Couldn’t pin it down but thought I’d have a word with him anyway. I was the first to approach him. I stood with my back to the activities tables so that he would be looking at them. Offered to get him a drink. Shook his head distractedly. He was staring at the tables and the goings-on there. Off in a dream world of his own. I thought that there was no way this fella should be on duty. All I said to him was ‘Is it the kids? Are you wanting to be back home with yours?’.

He grabbed my hand. I gave him a good manly handshake. We were out of sight of most of the other bobbies but he didn’t seem to care whether we were or not. He pulled me in close for a hug. He was shaking and there were sobs. I thought he said ‘It’s dreadful mate. And there’s the dreams.’, but I couldn’t be sure. I know now that he had been called into the Twin Jennie team briefly for those missing days.

On returning north and home, I caught up with the missed news and old messages, but with feeling so ill I wasn’t joining the dots and everything became a bit of a blur. Lately it’s been the medication. However this last couple of days I’ve felt very clear-headed. Very lucid. I guess that’s not a good sign, time-wise, but I need to sleep now so let’s hope I’m clear tomorrow.

Right. Just re-read this so far and I haven’t mentioned my dreams. Ever since I hugged that bobby I’d had them. Very violent, waking-up-shouting dreams. Siobahn’s taken it to mean my illness is progressing but in the early days I didn’t have the illness. Or didn’t have the diagnosis anyway. So now I’m dying and the dream’s gone, thank god. Now it’s the daytime that’s bad. The stuff the dream left behind.

People are popping out of the woodwork now that the news has circulated that I’m not long for this world. Some good old friends and some pains in the arse, but what the hell it’s the last time we’ll ever see each other and if they say the wrong thing I’m still strong enough to bawl them down the stairs and out. I won’t settle for Siobahn being upset. Not more than she is now at least. Nights are the worst. Waiting for the dream to come. But at least she’s there with me and the closeness, the body heat, is lovely, even though I’m burning up myself. Rambling. Goodnight.

Visitors. Sally came by. We’re worried about her. She’s had some rotten luck with men but she keeps building herself up again that this latest one is the one. It’s like she has one last dream left in her. All the time. We support her, she’s lovely, just unlucky. So when we found out the latest one is a copper, her words not mine, from London, we were concerned. He’s only available if she goes to him. We said we’d feel better about her chances if he showed willing enough to come north and meet her friends and family. Not expecting that he would, but then he did. Well we were glad to meet him. He seems a genuine sort and maybe her luck has changed. Maybe he can be the man of her dreams. She deserves one.


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