I left Grace as the streets were starting to wake up and checked over my pockets as I walked. So that’s it then – a fiver and a shake of change. Just shy of eight quid. To go how far – 400 miles? Not bloody likely. I couldn’t think who else I could call on, and Davey said we needed to hit the road as early as we could, so it would have to do. A car pulled up beside me.
The window came down. “Could we have a word?” Four uniformed officers crammed in a patrol car. Two thugs with moustaches up front, two women in back. They didn’t leap out the car at me, they just looked at each other conspiratorially.
The guy behind the wheel looked me up and down. “Where’ve you been?”
“Sorry?” What on earth was he on about?
“You will be.” He glanced at his colleagues, then turned to strike me down with his eyes. “Where. Have. You. Been?”
“To see my friend.” I answered like an infant.
“Are you sure?” said the copper, and the the two WPCs smirked in the back.
I just stood there, stuck on a pin.
“We’ve had reports that a fellow meeting your description has been seen loitering outside the infant school.” A sickening grin spread under his moustache and the women in the back burst into giggles.
I was trying to figure if these were people in stolen uniforms, but that would be even more far fetched than my current situation. I’d seen the pictures of strikers getting truncheoned at Orgreave, and I knew what the police were capable of. If they put me in the car – what would happen to me then?!
“Was that you, watching the little boys and girls”
My knees started to go.
He turned to the others. “Shall we take him in?” The women in back had their hands at their mouths and we’re shaking their heads as if to say, ‘I am sorry, but it’s too funny’. The cop in the passenger seat threw his head back and laughed.
The driver turned back to me with a deadpan face. He stared for several seconds. “Go on. Fuck off.”
I backed off, but my boots seemed glued. They all watched me blankly as I picked up my feet. I picked up pace and started towards home, trying to make sense of what just happened and feeling a little sick. But then I realised the joke was on them – Davey was still free.