Monday in the Park, counting pebbles in the path

So I wandered around the park for a while, picking up as many details as I could. There were floodlights, generators, and big boards of electronic equipment. It was either a ritzy DJ setup or a military command centre. Either way, somebody wanted to make a big impression.

I found the sign that Old Patrick mentioned, and it was addressed to me. I was considering its meaning when a short guy with a bald spot and mean eyes jogged over from one of the buildings.

“Having trouble reading?” he asked with a sneer. “It says ‘Yer cooperation during this period is very much appreciated.'”

“I’m the kind of guy who cooperates,” I said with my most ingratiating grin. “Is there anything I can help with? It looks like there’s some lawn that hasn’t been covered yet.”

“You can help by getting yerself back to the other side of the fence. And if yer really after helpin’ — ye can take care of yer business on the Nort-side.”

I just watched him for a minute. I was deciding what to do next, and I didn’t see any attractive options.

He looked at the big, glass-walled building, where a tall, thin shadow was standing, motionless. When he turned back to me, he said, “What do ye tink about violent crime in this part of the city?”

“I’m opposed to it.”

He smiled, big and toothy, so I could see bits of the sausage roll he had for breakfast. I was wondering whether he appreciated my wit when I felt my knee give way. By the time I was aware of the pain, my face was resting on wet pebbles.

My first thought was that the Duchess’s grandson was probably enjoying the scene. I’m sorry to say that I have a hard time keeping focus when somebody knocks me down.

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