What is that smell in the air? It's been an undernote all week long, gradually rising each day to prominence. Peggy's the one to identify it. It's fear she says. It's here at this time every year. The approach of a new school term.
Parrot and his wee brer are taking shelter in the close as I come down the stairs.
"What yous up to boys?"
He casts an upward glance at me and down again at a bike he's wheeled in.
"Ye goat any spanners, Ah'm just fixin ma bike," he says.
"Nope, and you need to do it outside," says I.
"It's rainin. We'll just be a wee minute."
"Aye," says the wee brer, looking at me pleadingly.
"It is not raining. Take the bike outside," I say and then, stopping to look at what they're doing, I accuse, "That's not your bike."
"Aye it is," he snaps back, "M' ma goat it fur's. You can ask 'er."
"It's far too big for you, and how comes yer taking the stickers off as well?" I say, watching his nail bitten fingers scraping and peeling off the decals and throwing them on the ground.
"Uch, Ah'm just fed up wi them. Had them too lang."
And they wheel the bike out into the cool wind and Parrot jumps up and cycles down the street, standing on the pedals cos the seat's too high, on his last day of freedom.