Car 2

Mr Martin Park

Outward appearance

Thrusts his way into the carriage as if having beaten his way through bushes. Grey-green trousers crumpled where bicycle clips usually go. Heavy Arran sweater under a duffel coat. Ill-advised greying beard. Carries a bundle of books in plastic bag and a bicycle seat. Accidentally hits passenger 47 with it as he passes.

Inside information

Runs a bookstall along the embankment in front of the National Film Theatre. Last night found that his bicycle, ringed round with chains like tinsel on a Xmas tree, had had its seat stolen. He is bringing in its replacement. The books in the bag are stock. Twenty years ago running a bookstall seemed romantic. In January, in biting winds with few customers, it is a fate that closes in. Last March he developed large purple welts across his face. The doctor said it was the ozone layer: standing outside in winter sunlight has become dangerous.

What he is doing or thinking

He cannot believe the pure hell that is London Underground. Due to the genius of British design, the way out and the way in to the platform at Embankment are the same tunnel. A thicket of blocked, bored people had taken root in it. His bicycle seat caught one woman's bag. She plainly thought he was a thief. Spinning around he trod heavily on a gentleman's foot. The man erupted: "You people are ruining my shoes!"

"Hey man," rumbles passenger 47. He's big. "Sorry," says Martin, like a curse. "Didn't mean it."

He will arrive to find that, chained to the railings, only the bicycle wheels remain.

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