It had been a relatively quiet night and the reception was completely empty. But as the rain lashed the police station’s windows, Desk Sergeant William Rockwood knew it was only a matter of time before the storm brought him another visitor. Bill heard the bell above the door, smelt the all too familiar odour of the streets, and pushed his newspaper to one side,
“Can I help you?” he sighed.

The tramp was glued to the door, peering through the glass at the wet world beyond. He was old, no younger than seventy in Bill’s estimation, and though he was tall and broad shouldered, he was weak and malnourished. Time had made a wrinkled example of his face, and his beard was almost completely white, save for a small streak of nicotine yellow on his upper lip. His long woollen coat and corduroy trousers were typically worn and caked with greenish-grey patches of grime. But in stark contrast, his black leather boots were surprisingly clean and shiny; no doubt, deduced Bill, an echo from time spent in the armed forces,
“Can I help you?” repeated Bill, a little louder this time.

The old man jumped, put his hand to his chest, and turned to face the counter,
“Er...er yes, yes of course,” he shivered, “It's just that, well, I... I.. No....”
“Yes?” said Bill.
“Well, I...I was just wandering if I could wait in here for a while....ju-ju...just until the storm dies down.”

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