And then the road dives into a vale, together with the black woods flanking it on other side. There’s nothing to see on the opposite lane. No cars, no lights, no people. But my line only inches ahead by the treble minute.
I have not seen them yet, but I know they’re there. It is past 10 O’clock. A bold night suggests itself. A restless driver behind me swerves out of the queue onto the jagged, hard shoulder. He meets my eyes with a bright-eyed smile, and burns up the dirt sidetrack. Another car follows. And another.
My turn comes. It is a bold night for sure. There are three of them standing silhouetted in the headlights.
“How is the evening?”
“The evening’s over.”
“What did you bring from town?”
“I’m coming from work.”
“On Friday? What work…”
“…I’m a lawyer.”
“Ei! You look young-o. Small boy lawyer. You know we and you lawyers, we are brothers.”
“Charlie, your brother is sleepy-o.”
“And your brother is cold. Won’t you give me something small for tea?”
“Here, take this. Which tea woman will come by now, anyway?”
“Oh, they come-o. Carry on, my Lord.”
Like most of them, he does not know he just addressed me as a judge.
They are not searching the cars or looking in faces. As I coax Maxine (my car) forward, I scan three cars parked a ways off the road. There is a half dozen people standing around, lips chattering in sync. As Maxine cruises past, they stretch their arms with open hands towards their captors. A bold night all round.