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Part 6 Where Silver Street crosses the river theres an old pub called The Anchor.

After dark the same faces crawl out of the woodwork and find their way across the city to that spot. On this night two of those familiar faces were stood right where they always stood drinking what they always drank. They were talking away very serious about something. I aint never seen nothing like it, said one. Go on and tell said the other. Well it was about two oclock or so and I was walking through town. I saw one of them cyclists in all the kit and not bothering to watch out for pedestrians come fast as you like across the cobbles. She was one of those who think the world should watch out for them and not the other way round. Had a big picture of a llama covering her back, so I thought probably in some club or other. You know they got a load of scaffolding up around Kings Parade at the moment, well as she was passing under that something must of come loose and fell right the way down, but as if to confirm this girls arrogance it missed her by a few inches. She smiled and just carried on not even probably thinking what couldve just happened. Watching cyclists was getting tiresome so I pretty much decided to stop, but I saw her lock up her bike just a little bit beyond the scaffold. Some scruffy kid ran up and gave her something. Something very small. After that I dunno really what happened. Everyone started screaming and shouting to call an ambulance. I hurried up quick as I could to get a good look in and I saw that girl lying on the ground. Dead as anything. But I saw something no-one else did. As they picked up the body to try and move it, something rolled out of her clenched fist, a coin it looked like to me. I was dead sure that was the thing that little boy had given her. But that aint the last of it, by no means. My afternoon was just getting started, so it turned out. See after that, I decided to walk up by the river and clear my head. I was sitting on a bench and feeding the ducks, when along the river comes a boat, all the rowers straining every fibre and their cox screaming at them. I noticed too that all of them had those llama badges, same as Id seen on the girl before. Right then round the bend came another boat, but this one came silent as you like, nobody called anything, they just slid round the bend. I could see right away that there was gonna be trouble unless both stopped. I cried out to stop, but the new boat, rather than stopping just carried on as if nothing was up. That was then I saw a shiny piece of metal at the front of the new boat and realised they didnt want to avoid colliding at all. The llamas could see it all clear as day but there was nothing they could do. The ram tore chunks off the side of their boat before the strangers rowed on. The llamas knew theyd never make it the bank. They called out to me. They asked if I had a rope, if I could call help. I called police; but they never made it in time. Then those rowers seemed to resign themselves to what was coming to them. It didnt take long, in a couple of minutes theyd gone to the bottom.

And now I come to the worst part of all. After what Id seen I needed a drink. Heck, I needed at least two. I knew where the nearest pub was, through a little wood. Walking through it, I happened to glance up and I saw something hanging off right up top one of the biggest trees. I shoulda carried right on to the pub, but I decided to climb up and investigate. I got to the branch, and started to pull up the elastic rope that whatever Id seen had been attached to. I reached down to get it and felt something warm and moist. I pulled it up and damn nearly fell outta the tree. Two eyes stared back at me. Blood dripped down my arm, and a sodden bandana clung to black matted hair. The bandana had, you guessed, a llama picture on it. It was all too clear how itd happened. Theyd tied the poor guys feet to something else and then released the tension, and tore the head clean off. Somehow I got down from that tree and got here. The speakers companion said nothing for a while, but went to get his friend a strong drink. Its very interesting hearing you say all this I can tell you. Let me tell you what Ive been doing today. I got myself into one of the colleges; you know the one right across the road from here. They were having some big old ceremony. One of them was being given a big honour, being given college children or something like that. And she had to go through this ceremony to tell them all that she was worthy and all. Turns out I knew the girl they were giving the thing to. I remember her being the quiet one that everyone called Pescellina. But I could tell right away things werent like that anymore. It was always Pesce, and always with the greatest respect. She had to go through this old ceremony. They asked her all sorts, whether she would be kind and forgiving; whether she would protect her children and renounce violence against humankind. And she was saying yes of course. So it was going on, and getting fairly boring. It wasnt until right after the ceremony that it got interesting. Some girl comes pushing her way through the crowd, she pushed her way right passed me and I saw her face for a second. There were fresh tears running down her cheek. She got right the way to the front, and I saw her march straight towards Pesce as if to hit her. But two big guys whod been somewhere in the shadows were all of a sudden holding this crying girl back. I was interested of course, and tried to get to the front to see what was happening, and to my total surprise, most of the crowd started to turn to go. This girl was screaming at Pesce the worst stuff Ive ever heard: inside a University at least. Both men chuckled. From what I gathered somebody had just died. Hed been rowing on the river and his boat had sunk. And for some reason, this girl was dead certain that Pesce was to blame. I couldnt see at all how she could be to blame after all shed been doing her ceremony the past hour; and from what I heard the whole thing sounded like an accident. Well eventually, the girl was quietened down and those

big lads led her away. I thought Pesce might recognise and old face like mine, but I dont think she glanced my way once. I pretended to be reading the programme, and kept and ear out for what she was saying. One other girl that I recognised, one of Pesces old friends I think, was talking to her. And I was taken aback to realise that this old friend was asking whether crying girl had had the truth after all. Pesce seemed to find the questions that her friend was asking very wearisome. But this friend kept on, so Pesce smiled her smile and soothed her friends worries. She said right out that no it wasnt true. So this friend went away all satisfied. After that a couple of people came to ask Pesce why she hadnt gone to some meeting with her old friend Gamberetto. But to that she just laughed. And then a few old faces and a few new ones came up to Pesce and she starts handing round biscuits and theyre talking so quiet I cant even hear. Well after what youve just told me; Christ, I dont even know what to think. Don Pesce?

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