He enters the pub hesitant and blinking, muttering to himself, and completes a circuit scouting for empty seats.
When he finally approaches the bar he moves sideways, one nervous step at a time, apologising with his body language before he says a word. “A glass of water, please,” he barely whispers.
He is served without question, and in fact with a smile.
He circles again, gauging threat levels, before deciding to sit next to us, with a half-voiced, “Sorry, can I…” With a faint rustle of anorak he folds into the space and closes in on himself.
A sip of water first, then to business: on to the table from his old army bag he tips a pile of small change, which he carefully sorts by denomination, and then counts. Job done, he puts the coins back in his bag.
He sips more water, rises, and tiptoes away to use the toilet.
On his way out of the pub he pauses to look at a bowl on the bar. It is full of cubes of cheese. His eyes dart – could he…? Would it be OK if…? He takes one piece, and gets away with it; then a second. With a quick jerk of his hand he throws them into his mouth and blinks furiously – an expression of pleasure, perhaps.
Finally, he slides through a mere crack in the door, not wanting to trouble anyone with a draught, and is gone, leaving no trace but a half-empty glass.