I was out with Billy, taking him for his morning business, when I heard whistling behind me. It was loud. It was good. It was some classical thing that I vaguely recognised. I also heard the workings of a bicycle and the tinkle of bottles. These three sounds got closer and closer and then passed me, then stopped outside a shop ten metres in front of me.
The guy on the bike was probably in his late forties, early fifties; he had a shaved head, a flat nose like a boxer, and a huge abdomen funnelled into tiny denim cut-off shorts. He was a big man. The sort of man who’d make you poo your pants if your girlfriend introduced him as her father.
But he was whistling such a beautiful whistle. Then he took the used cereal box full of empty bottles off the back of his bike, and spoke to the alcoholic chaps outside the shop. His voice! Completely the opposite to his whistling. Such a deep, gravelly, scary voice. A voice you only hear in films telling someone that they’ve been a naughty boy; a naughty boy who’s about to get his kneecaps blown off.
Why am I telling you this? Sometimes, it’s the tiniest things that can make your day seem sunny or cloudy.