A policeman detaches himself from the line and says, “Doing a runner mate? Can’t have that.”
“I must speak to the man who is in charge of the nation.”
“It’s a woman actually. And what do you want to speak to her about?”
“I must photograph the Crown Jewels.”
“Look, I’ve had enough of this. Are you going to pay this man?”
Pay. Payment. Money. People seem to talk a lot about trading tokens. I take out my wallet, give it to the policeman and walked away. The policeman pays the taxi driver, comes after me and gives me my wallet back.
“Where is the Prime Person?”
“I don’t know, but she’s not here.”
“I need to speak to the Prime Person about the Crown Jewels.”
“Listen. The Prime Minister is not here. You will achieve nothing by harassing police officers. Go away. I don’t care where you go, as long as it’s away.”
I move on. There are a lot of pigeons around. I hold up my amethyst camera, peer through it and will it to photograph the birds. I photograph shop windows. A very stylish shop appears on a corner, its windows full of pianos. A white Baby Grand occupies centre stage. Pianos! Pianos for the hungry! I go in.
“Can I help you sir?”
“I wish to buy pianos.”
“Very good, sir. How many?”
“Many, many pianos.”
“May I ask where they would be going?”
“I wish to export, to trade…”
“Do you mean to act as our agent overseas?”
Ah, thought Harrison, agents. He was, of course, an agent. “Special Agent.”
“Very good. You have your card?”
Card. Ace of spades, ace of hearts, queen of hearts.
“Pianos, pianolas. Send this white one first, today. Music for the hungry.”
“I… I… actually sir, we’re just about to close. Could I ask you to come back another time?”
He puts his hand on my shoulder and gently leads me out of the shop. From the pavement outside I photograph the Baby Grand.
Under the ground
I see people going down a flight of steps into the ground. I follow and find himself in a small area with machines and a map on one wall bearing coloured lines and names. Destinations!
I see the name Heathrow. Something stirs in me.
I vault over the barrier and find himself trying to go down an upwardly moving staircase. I find that by stepping quickly I can go down, by stepping slowly I can go up and if I judge my pace just right, I don’t move at all. In fact this earth, this heaven, moves under me and, stationary, I travel.
A man approaches on the upward stair. He wears a dark suit, a bowler hat on his head, an attache case in his hand and a look of alarm on his face. I maintain my stationary position; the man is upon me. Somehow Bowler Hat Man manages to narrowly avoid a collision. The middle aged woman on the next step down does less well. We collide and she falls.
“You stupid, stupid man!” she says after picking herself up. I’m at the top of the upward stair and decide to go descend by the downwards stair. Somehow I find the line to Heathrow and a few moments later I’m on a seat on a tube train, bound for the airport and which foreign shores?
More to follow, folks – soon!