D i A i )

M i N


realised that with very little effort I would be able to release the laces. A t the t i m e , I was amazed how i n e f f i c i e n t and disorganised they were, having to use my own laces to tie my hands and feet. I wondered how they w o u l d have tied my hands and feet if I had been wearing a pair of casual slip-ons that day. I suddenly saw the w h o l e ghastly business as a comedy — Chico shaking and nervous, fiddling with my laces, unable to tie a knot, and Jim, w a v i n g the hand-gun about, telling me over and over again not to ' t r y a n y t h i n g ' . 1 began to laugh at the thought, perhaps from nerves. But I d i d laugh and I looked at them. They looked at each other in disbelief, not knowing what to think. 'Get a blanket, get a blanket,' Jim said and Chico left the room, found a blanket and threw it over my head. It seemed to reassure them that they couldn't see my face any more. Five minutes later, McCarthy disappeared and I presumed he had gone to phone someone to tell them their m i s s i o n had been accomplished. Chico, meanwhile, sat on the end of the settee and every few seconds told me, 'Remember, Marty, we've got a gun, so don't try anything.' The room became stifling and I could hardly breathe under the blanket. After ten minutes or so, Chico got up, went to the kitchen and returned with a newspaper. From under the blanket I could now see a bit of the room and the lad, whom I didn't recognise, sitting in a chair opposite me, reading a book. 1 could hear a radio, tuned to a music station, and I listened to the love songs and melodies and thought of young people leading happy, carefree hves, enjoying life and i n love w i t h someone. A n d , unbelievably, I found myself smiling at 288

my present predicamciil, lied .itul trussed like a turkey, waiting for a bulk-t in \hc of llu' head. Chico was sik-nt and, as (he time dragged on, 1 could hear the sound of kids playing i n the street below. My thoughts turned to little Martin and Podraig and I bit my lip, desperate to quell the tears that swelled in my eyes as I became convinced that 1 would never see them again. I cursed myself for stepping so pathetically into the trap, agreeing to come to see Wilson. I should have known when McCarthy asked whether I had brought a car to the meeting that my days were numbered. Three hours later, I asked whether I could have a glass of water. The young lad went and found a glass and brought it to me. Still lying on my stomach, he fed me the water which 1 drank with difficulty, and which tasted stale and tepid. A t no time, however, had either of them threatened me or given me a hard time — McCarthy had still not returned. As the minutes ticked away I began to lose faith in Felix and the Branch. I believed that i f they had intended to rescue me, they would have intervened before n o w . I knew they must have k n o w n my whereabouts precisely, and 1 could not understand why I had heard nothing — no helicopters, no RUC sirens, no Army activity. I could not imagine that Felix would simply throw me to the wolves after all we had been through together. I had trusted him with my life and now that I needed him, he had let me down, doing nothing to resctie me. Only that morning he had promised to keep a watch over me and protect me. He had claimed that no harm would come to me and now when I was desperate for help ... nothing. I had never felt so alone in my life. At least twice in the hours I lay there, I heard Bryan 289

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