Like all its neighbours the street is jammed incoherence in the form of restaurants and bars, part-Spanish, part-Turkish, part-Mexican grill, a lot of Italian, some Zorba the Greek, some Dim Sum, some Indonesian, some non-descript and some Indian. Your eyes take a beating first-off from the jumble of signs (some neon, some not) and the overlapping maze of job-lot discount plush and patio furnitures that are breaking ranks all over the street plus its hard not to wonder why the décor/colour-schemes of these places look like they got chosen by the managers cousin or by his brothers second-wife or like they were simply determined by some bloke who sold them the remnant 12 litres of paint left over from some other place he’d painted elsewhere. Anyhow. It’s not a spectacular area in any way – to call it run-down would give it a glamour that it doesn’t have. Its more a kind of roughly approximated but somehow defective acceptability that seeps, grows and cancers everywhere just like the narrow pavement with its topping of sporadic food remains and broken wine glass. No big deal.
A young guy, skinny, looks like he might be Spanish, sporting Superman t-shirt and with him a girl in white shirt and jeans – could be his younger sister or maybe girlfriend, impossible to say. They come hurrying determinedly through the crowds of people that are looking for somewhere to eat, or who maybe have just eaten already and want to find somewhere they can go to forget about it, which probably won't take long. They come past the dazed or stoned Australians and the drunk English and the grim Germans, and the family packs of Americans – all kids with braces walking single file and yelling ahead to their dad – and the occasional groups of Dutch-guys-in-suits-and-ties types (impossible to read). In her hand she (the girl with the Spanish guy in his Superman t-shirt) is carrying a muffin or a cake of some kind, wrapped in cellophane, and as they come through the crowd past the table where we are sitting, they break their stride, just for a very short moment, in which she holds the cake flat in her hand and he photographs it, with the small digital camera that he has, and once the picture is taken they are gone – vanished in the endless flow of pedestrians and incomplete and incomprehensible narratives that make up the night.
S's nightmare, he said, seemed like an episode of something, because first it was happening and it was horrible and then it stopped, and he thought it was over, and then it all just started up again.