The sir faded away to nothing as he saw who it was. He continued, "what the fuck, are you trying to scare me to death? "I've got better things to do than talk to you. Do you know what happened tonight?

His face was in shadow from the thick black police parka, lined with black and white luminous strips that covered him from the top of his head down to nearly his knees, despite the fact that he was very tall. The hood covered his face which could barely be seen and looked rather demonic in the flashing red and blue lights from the land rovers. He reminded me in that second of a film I had seen about the serial killer John Wayne Gacy and the lurid make up he wore as Pogo "The Killer Clown"

That was simply the light, the shadows and lights panting that picture, I knew Hamish well and ever since we were young boys.

In actuality he was a handsome fellow, tall and slim with a slight build, a full head of sandy blond hair tending towards curls. He had a wide jaw and piercing blue eyes, a short sharp nose but in this light all was garish and I suspect I looked far more of a fright than he.

"Look Hamish, I didn't even know it was you".

"Well you fucking well know now, now piss off as there might still be someone left alive and I have to get on with my job". "There is", I said.


"There is", I said again, "someone else alive and this is not a joke, just look at me".

Hamish paused and stopped searching the ocean for a few seconds though his eyes kept straying back to the ocean. This time he took in the soaking wet clothes the blood on my hands and knees and the fact I was sober.

"What the fuck happened to you, you been fighting again"?

"Don't be daft I had hardly got home after drying the creels when the maroons went off". "I know this kind of weather and watched the news and waited. I was ready when the car came round"

He nodded, "I went out with all the good folk and started walking the beach".

"How'd it take you so long to get here then and why are you in such a state? He asked nodding to my soaking clothes and bloodied Jeans.

"I judged the tides and thought the old pier at the shipyard, was the most likely place for the bodies to come ashore. The wind was blowing right and next to this it's the most likely place for a body to be found.

For the first time, Hamish turned away fully from the searchlight and the sea in front of him. The look of fury on his face I had rarely seen before and I had known him almost my whole life. "We don't want to find anymore fucking bodies" he shouted in my face, spittle flying. I felt it on my forehead and chin but did not even wipe it off as I knew he was near his breaking point.

This was not an everyday occurrence, in the summer it rarely happened except occasionally with inept yachters and though you felt sorry for them you still knew that they were there for the fun of it.

Fishermen faced the sea for the food upon their tables, for the good of their families, because they had to and it was never really fun or a joy to do but rather just another form of employment.

I make it sound dreadful there and it is not, many face hazards in their jobs, nurses, miners, engineers and even teachers these days and all can face death in some form or another. Yet we felt ourselves more at risk than most mainly because of our master; the Sea. Never has there been a fickler beast in the history of mankind, be it real or legendary, than the sea. Even the gods of the earth like Vulcan using his forge and creating earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, even though devastating cannot match Neptune for the loss of life that our mother, the sea, takes as its toll for its bounty.

"We want to find survivors, not bodies". He looked as though he wanted to punch me. "We don't want to find any more bodies". "Not one more", shouted with real hate into my face as he hated himself for what he had found, he hated himself more for what he would then have to do; tell the families of the dead.

I must have paled before him, though how he could tell in this light I don't know, as he calmed slightly, seemed to regain control of himself, though I had the impression that great violence lay behind his eyes in his fervour (how our emotions affect us).

He seemed to take a deep breath and calm himself, when he next spoke he was clearer and without the venom of the earlier outburst, "and did you find any"?



I nodded and started to smile, "Alive"

Hamish seemed to wonder if this was a joke by a friend, a last misery to put upon him. Something to break him down completely but then realised that Billy was not the one to do this. If there was anyone as thoughtful as Hamish himself, it was Billy. I saw him summing me up in his eyes and facial expressions all in a few seconds. He dissected me, thought all of his thoughts about me, how I acted, my silly practical jokes, my strange philosophies, my stoic ways, my Spartan outlook and my romanticism, my love of poetry and realised that is something that even irreverent I; would not make a joke of.

"You found a survivor"? He said it with such hope that I may have lied if I had not, to please him but luckily I did not. "Yes". Was all I could say though I felt things far more deeply than just a yes sufficed to describe.

I realised just how good a man my old friend was, how much he felt all these things and I knew now his dark moods, which were only occasional but deep.

He Cared. This was not the act that many put on about caring as they thought it expected. This was true caring. True empathy for those that he would have to tell the worst possible news.

Not a fear for himself over such a distasteful task but rather a fear of what this news would do to loved ones and relatives. Even though he had been my friend for years and I cared deeply for him I do think that up until this moment I had ever known why. I now did, and I loved him.

"I judged that the tides would take them (I hesitated to again say, the bodies) to the old pier at the shipyard", I said, I glanced down at my hands and knees, no light to see the damage but they felt pretty sore and I could feel the blood running down my leg from the gashed knee, "who told you to look here?" I asked Hamish "Old Ramsey?"

He nodded. "who was it that you found?"

"I have no idea", I said, "I never saved him, just went in after him, he crawled out by himself, Bobby and Janet are away looking for him up at Trench Point they said they would take him home and let the family know.

Hamish smiled, "the next time, my friend, save the guy, it would do you no harm to be a hero for once".

I would always follow old Ramsey's thoughts over mine, he knew the seas, the tides and the winds better than anyone. The only reason he was still alive at such an old age. Few of us made it to that great age in fact, quite a number, never made it out of their thirties never mind into their eighties. 

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