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Edition 19: The Meet by Geoffrey Collins

flag Ausralia

This is the place where it will go down. Where back-up is not a precaution; it’s a requirement. Lines are drawn in the sand, in the face of oncoming darkness and despair. SY

In every evening there is a time when the city takes a stops to take a breath. The five o’clock exodus is over and the workers are home deciding what to be instead. Shop doors are closed and locked, streetlights blink on. As the tide of the day runs out, in the ebb of its last waves, you can find things that are always there but usually hidden.

I had found a neon sign with a name in Bauhaus script that pulsed red in the puddles on the sidewalk below. The sign fronted a bar, a sub-street level affair with a grey-stone office block squatting on top of it, a narrow courtyard in front with dwarf hemlocks in terracotta pots and some wrought iron settings with the sunshades dropped, chairs resting against the tables.

For a week I had been watching the place like a hunter in a blind, subsisting on coffee and bagels from the kosher delicatessen on the corner, skulking back to a bolt-hole hotel room before dawn. People came, people went; I watched. After a few days I had called for back-up, hoping I wouldn’t be thought overly cautious. When I saw who had been sent, I knew I needn’t have worried.

“You’ve become soft,” said a voice in my ear. “I could never have come up on you before.”

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