20th April


‘Leon!’ he called, not loudly. He bent the metal sheet back into place, let his eyes adjust to the dark. ‘Leon! Where are you?’

He could make out the crates they’d turned into chairs, the blankets and bits of cardboard they slept on. He crawled a few more feet, dragging the sack, then was able to crouch. The sack would feel heavy and therefore, at least for a moment, exciting to Leon, who was much smaller than he was. But the haul from the hotel bin wasn’t exciting: two bruised apples, a huge but yellowing lettuce, some overripe tomatoes and half a loaf of day-old bread. Still, he’d make it sound as good as he could. And then there was the special thing he’d lifted from the booth at the hotel entrance. He’d just run past and taken it. The man in the booth was too slow but the doorman had almost grabbed him. He couldn’t go near that hotel for a week now, but it had been worth it. What a prize! A whole, untouched, unbroken bar of chocolate, still in its wrapper!

‘Leon!’ He’d been away longer than usual, and Leon sometimes got frightened, thinking he’d been caught or hurt and wouldn’t be coming back. But he always came back.

He heard a shuffling sound at the back of the hide. Then a match was struck, and Leon’s little face was there. Leon lit the stub of candle they kept for when they ate.

‘Are you okay? I’m sorry I’m late. You won’t believe what I’ve got.’ He pushed the sack over.


‘Have a look. Nice bread, juicy tomatoes, apples – and something else. A surprise.’

‘A surprise? Will I like it?’

‘You’ll love it.’

Leon took out the tomatoes and divided them, three each. He tore the bread into equal pieces. That was his job.

‘What’s this?’

‘A lettuce.’

‘Yuck. Is that the surprise?’

‘No, but you have to eat it first.’

‘It’s like eating grass.’

‘I know, but we have to eat it. Then the apples. Then you get the

Leon felt around at the bottom of the sack. In the candlelight a huge
smile broke across his dirty face.

Reader: John McGeachie
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Guitar: Sorren Maclean
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