There was a little café at the top of the high street, near the clock tower where he could get a cheap but well-made lunch, away from the bustle of the shoppers. He knew the owner- a man almost as persistently indifferent and withdrawn as Mr Trobmill was.
Not much further now.
Two men in silvery suits, carrying briefcases, approached a gang of teenagers who were loitering around a bench.
“Evangelists…” Trobmill muttered.
More crowds of people reading the newspaper, more gossip more noise. Mr Trobmill kept his head down as the teenagers, now behind him, were quietly escorted away. A man distributing papers shouted the latest headlines cheerily, but there was never any real news in this part of the country, so Mr Trobmill tuned it out. He tuned it all out in his quest for a decent lunch.
The headlines, the suits, the busy mums with their push chairs, a dog barking, the red haired girl who was crying in the street… head down, don’t get in the way.
The girl’s mother would be along shortly, probably caught up in some idle chat with any of the shopkeepers who were all far too cheery these days.
The door of the café knocked a bell as it opened, and the elderly man behind the counter looked up to see Mr Trobmill shuffling inside.
“Allo Alistair,” he mumbled gruffly.
Mr Trobmill nodded curtly, closing the door behind him and scudded his feet on the welcome mat a few times before sloping towards the till.
“Gordon,” he acknowledged briefly, and the shopkeeper returned the nod.
Mr Trobmill peered upwards at the chalkboard over the shopkeeper’s head and mused over his options in peace.
“Funny news about that star then,” said Gordon.
Mr Trobmill gave a start and shifted his gaze.
“Not heard much about no star,” he replied shortly hoping to put an end to it.
“Not heard none? The whole town’s mad with it! Last night, shooting star- right across the sky! People reckon it musta’ landed somewhere it came that close.”
Mr Trobmill shrugged politely.
“Just a tea and a cheese roll, Gordon thanks.”
Gordon turned and began to busy himself with a kettle but it did not stop him from carrying on.
“Been some funny folk about today, government I reckon. Maybe a satellite fell down. Maybe it’s Russians.”
“Milk, no sugar thank you, Gordon.”
“I know, I remember. Fancy that though, something landing here and they can’t even find it.”
Gordon placed a cup and bread roll on the counter, which Mr Trobmill paid for and took to a nearby table without another word.