Excuse me

“Excuse-”
David put on his happy-to-help-tourists face, ready for the next words, where is castle, old town, queue for tattoo….
“- me pal, where’s North Bridge, the methadone clinic ken, the chemist?”
David wasn’t ready for this. It was August, after all, season of upside-down maps and disbelief at the steepness of stairs. He checked his wallet, phone. Idiot.
“Well, this one up at the top of the hill’s parallel to the Bridges so if you go up here and turn left and then right the next one’s the Bridges but I don’t know if the clin- the chemist is left or right -”
But the two men were gone, fast on thin legs, across the road through the traffic.
David breathed deeply and turned back towards the Grassmarket. Now, where were the tourists in distress?

Working in an office in Edinburgh in August

High Street flyerers! Your attention please.

Look out for the man with a briefcase, and madness in his eyes.
He is going to a meeting. He does not wish to be disturbed.
Do not approach him; do not approach him.

Do not paint his face or tickle his chin.
Do not offer him a two for one.
He is going to a meeting. He does not wish to be disturbed.

Inside he carries his sadness. He should be having fun with you.
But he is carrying his briefcase and there is madness in his eyes.
He is going to a meeting. He does not wish to be disturbed.