The Victoria Pub
Hearing urgent footfalls behind me, I turned to see the figure of a young man approaching. He was dressed in shabby jeans, and a hooded top which partially obscured his face, perhaps deliberately, and was clearly heading in my direction. I will admit that for a few seconds I felt a certain amount of apprehension and even fear: it was late evening, and the sight of a hooded figure emerging from the subway and aiming to accost me for entirely unknown reasons, was unnerving to say the least. It took a moment for me to gather my thoughts.
As it transpired, the man's motives were benign. I am certain he had not been amongst the group of six in the underpass moments earlier, but no sooner had he arrived within a few yards of my position, than he began to speak. My dictaphone recorded the conversation, which began there at the entrance to the subway in Civic Drive, and continued a few minutes later in the adjacent Victoria pub.
The full transcript of this interview may be viewed here. Like the conversation in the subway moments earlier, this interview also features a degree of bad language. I have chosen to present the full and unedited version here, but please exercise caution if easily offended.
The man declined to give his name, but for ease of reporting, I have chosen to refer to him on this website as 'Vic', after the Victoria pub. It was difficult to judge his exact age, since our encounter took place in dim light, and Vic continued to wear his hood throughout our conversation, yet I can be reasonably certain that he was no older than early twenties, and possibly little more than eighteen or nineteen. His accent was local, with, I suspect, an added London inflection.
Shortly before 11pm I suggested that we transfer to my car. Vic concurred, and we agreed to meet outside. To my frustration, this meeting did not take place. I exited the pub and waited by the main door for a little over five minutes. When Vic failed to emerge, I re-entered the pub, which by now was fast emptying of people, and made my way to the gents toilet. Vic was nowhere to be found. Whether he left by means of the rear fire exit, situated close to the toilets and open at the time, or even via the toilet window, I cannot say. Neither can I be sure if he left of his own free will, though it is perhaps presumptuous to think otherwise. Whatever the case, he did not reappear.
I returned to my post outside, where I waited a few moments longer, before walking around to the rear of the building. There was no sign of Vic, and indeed no sign of anything suspicious. I remained on the corner of Civic Drive and St Matthew's Street for a further fifteen minutes, after which time I was forced to return to my car: the underground car park closes at 11:30pm, and I was in danger of being impounded by default. Reluctantly I left the Victoria pub and made my way home.
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