Derek is watching the cat as he walks up Glebe Point Road. Derek is walking, not the cat. The cat is sitting on the footpath up ahead. He’s a ginger tom, or not, because something like ninety percent of ginger cats are toms, so hey, this cat could be one of the not-toms. Derek’s hands are in his pockets and he’s trying hard to project non-threatening. A non-threatening vibe. This is because the road is four lanes, two of parked cars and the odd empty spot. It’s peak hour now and the road is busy. That’s why Derek is worried about the cat. He is being careful not to startle it. The cat looks ansy. Toey. Like he might just up and dash across the street at any time. Derek feels a bit queasy thinking about it. So hands in pockets, projecting non-threatening nonchalance, Derek gets to the cat, squats down.   The cat has astonishing greeny-yellow eyes. His tag says ‘Russell’. Derek strokes him, feeling a bit foolish for his concern, for goodness sake. Russell accepts the attention in the benign, uninterested way that cats do. Russell scratches under his own chin with a lazy hind leg. Russell watches the parade of bikes, pedestrians, cars and buses on their way to the city or on their way back. Derek thinks he might as well sit down and hang with Russell for a bit, maybe till peak hour is pretty much over, with as much of that aforementioned nonchalance that he can muster.

The cafe is pumping for 7:15 am. Not full, but filling up. They are playing music that sounds like a car chase scene from a French new wave film and Brendan can see it in his mind’s eye. He sets the car chase at midnight so there’s no gridlock and also, so he can enjoy the City of Lights lit up like a postcard. The music leads him through the streets on the tail of a Citroën DS, and from the cabin of a late model Peugeot 208, Brendan can see it all. The speeding and mad lane changing down the Champs-Élysées, the screeching around Place de la Concorde, skidding off on to a road he doesn’t know so well, pushing up through the gears and fanging it up to la Défense for the big finish. You’d think the younger Peugeot would have the advantage, but the Citroën driver knows his stuff and takes a last minute sharp turn and the Peugeot overshoots and comes to rest in just the sort of deserted car park in Courbevoie where you really shouldn’t be messing about at midnight. It’s just in time too, because the next track is Stevie Wonder’s You are the Sunshine of my Life, and you can’t speed through the streets of anywhere to that.