The secret ministry of the frost.
My friend Anna tells me about her cat which, having killed a mouse, hid it without her knowledge, in her bag. "I was on the underground between Embankment and Sloan Square," she says, "when, not knowing what my hand had encountered , I pulled the mouse out by its tail, and stared at it in amazement, which was nothing to the amazement of the other passengers."
In the train on the way home: the man is like an overweight bear. As he reaches up to stow his bags on the rack, he reveals a large, loose paunch which falls over the top of his trousers. There are already three people occupying the four places round the table. He makes the fourth. He spreads his files, calculator and mobile phone on the table , and extends his ham-like elbows on either side of them. The man sitting next to him politely shrinks into himself. When he has regained his breath, the newcomer begins his telephone calls at the top of his voice. First on the list is Terry. "What you're looking at, Terry, is total. I'm paying pound notes. You know what I mean. .. Alright I 'll give you a grand on Friday...I'll have to have a word with Liza. ... I'll meet you half way. It'll be in "£20.00 notes . Half on Friday. Cash. Alright buddy, no problem. Alright then, matey. Alright. OK."
Next is Liza: "I said, call it three grand. He said, there's one other thing: I need some money. Just something to tide me over. It was just crap. I knocked him down again. He was just gutted. I said, 'No, Terry'. He said what about the extras? A meter of tiling, he said. He's such an idiot. But you've got to hand it to him for trying."When he has finished, he slumps forward with a sullen expression. It is too late to open my book. So I go over my notes. The time has passed, as it so often does on the train nowadays, not without amusement.