Car 3

Mr James Mair

Outward appearance

Nichol Williamson playing a farmer. Pale, aging face, red hair, red beard. Clean jeans, rubber-soled boats, green anorak. Tank-like briefcase at his feet.

Inside information

A consultant veterinarian returning home after an early morning call. James has not committed suicide. Many vets do.

What he is doing or thinking

This morning James attended London Zoo to examine an old sick gorilla. To examine gorillas he has to fire tranquilizer darts at them.

The gorillas have learned what the darts are. The animals have taken to flinging them back at their handlers. Even more cunning, some of the gorillas pretend to be tranquilized. When the keepers get close, the animals stab them with the needles and send them to sleep as well. All in good fun.

Now the vets call at 5 am to take the gorillas by surprise. A team of three fire at once from different angles to ensure a hit.

This morning Beefy, an old cancerous male, woke up and saw the team and the darts. Instead of fighting, Beefy slumped depressed onto his haunches. It was strange: he stared at the ground, at his feet. They needed to fire only one dart. It plunged into his arm, and Beefy stayed sitting upright, as tranquilized gorillas do.

When James got near, Beefy suddenly reached up and pulled the dart out of its arm. James scurried back in fear. Then the gorilla, eyes full into his, passed James the dart, handle first. He can still see the old creature's eyes, accusing, ill, angry and sad.

It's that sadness the vets can't take.

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