Car 1

Mr Toby Swiswe

Outward appearance

Thoughtful, mature black man, nodding and smiling as his neighbour tells jokes. They both wear nearly identical herringbone trousers. From time to time nervously gnaws this thumbnail.

Inside information

Swaps day and night shifts driving the same minicab as his cousin, Passenger 9. Mr Swiswe arrived in Britain before him, and is already having to be careful not to draw attention to himself for fear of deportation.

What he is doing or thinking

He is preserving the innocence of Passenger 9. His friend thinks the car was damaged in accident. It was in fact the target of a gang. Mr Swiswe dropped off a fare at Hammersmith tube station. There were many cars and people gathered in the glare and darkness of the forecourt. He drove alone up Shepherd's Bush road, to the traffic lights at the Bush. Suddenly, the car was surrounded by white youths. They shouted at him; he did not understand. They gestured at him to come out. The lights were red, he could not escape. They started kicking his car, and wrenching off the antennae. "Stay out of it, you black bastard!"

Mr Swiswe feels he cannot call the police. His cousin with the British passport advised, "Stay out of Hammersmith. The gangs there think they've got a right to all the cab trade. And the Hammersmith police are the most unpredictable in London." Mr Swiswe remembers how Britain first looked to him, calm and orderly if slightly deadened. That's a lie, he thinks, it's still all there, all the shit. He is badly frightened, and wants to go home.

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