Car 5

Mr Bill McReady

Outward appearance

Short, grey haired man in red Adidas shirt, denim jacket and jeans, rubber-soled bovver boots. Makes a football kick at someone's briefcase.

Inside information

A sailor in the merchant marine docked at Chatham for the last time. Drunk and lost in the underground system. Has a semi-derelict home in a Glasgow suburb. No wife or family.

What he is doing or thinking

Last night's bender has induced a kind of euphoria. Bill hears all around him the roar of a football crowd, thousands of people singing : You'll never walk alone!

Bill loves footie. He played a lot when he was younger. He couldn't resist taking a swipe at the gentleman's briefcase.

Bills feels friendly towards him. "Scotland Forever," he says, meaning, you and me, we're not one of these English cunts. Bill spent six years of his life, anchored off Ascension Island. He remembers the chief of police from St Helens. He was black, a great little striker.

His tanker never moved. It was filled regularly with oil to supply the Beeb, the Yanks, the RAF. During the Falklands War, the sky was filled with planes. At night on the beaches, giant turtles would lay their eggs. You'd take motorboats to go ashore, and you had to duck the flying fish. The island was blistering hot -- red, black, and beige from different kinds of lava. But the top of the mountain was emerald, like a memory of the heaths of home.

How he wanted to be back home. Now he wants to be back on Ascension. The crowd roars.

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