Car 1

Mr Tony Colley

Outward appearance

Worn, but otherwise well turned out. Coiffed, and tinted hair. Dark coat over black pressed trousers. Large case at his feet. Reading The Daily Express. A playing card peeks out from his cuffs, and the bag stirs uneasily, all by itself.

Inside information

A magician on a cross channel ferry. There is a live rabbit in the bag.

What he is doing or thinking

Pretending not to notice the ship's piano player, Passenger 11, who also sits in the carriage. He tries to absorb himself in news of Camilla Parker-Bowles's divorce. He vaguely identifies with her; he suffers a similar sense of exposure, of aging, of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nothing beats getting a card trick wrong in front of a bored seven year old. Nothing beats a set of hardened eyes which plainly say: did we ask you to come to our table and do tricks with coloured scarves?

If it were possible to live in complete good faith, he would tell management that it doesn't work, people don't want a magician. But he needs the money. He has a beautiful little daughter. He never sees her, bounding back and forth from France in a French boat. He hates the fatty food, the iced prawns, the language.

He is suddenly aware of scuffle further up the row of seats: some bully picking on a little fellow. Life is too short, he thinks.

Then he knows: today he will get off at Waterloo, and turn around, and go home to his daughter. Then he knows that he won't.

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