"NAZI'S OUT! NAZI'S OUT! Hey man what are you doing?" whispered Mo, between exclamations.
"I'm rolling a fag: OUT!: what does it look like."
"NAZI'S: the cameras are rolling. NAZI'S: Amy will do her nut, if she sees you."
"OUT!," Josh licked the paper, "fine."
Josh made his way to the edge of the crowd, and ducked back behind a large concrete gatepost to make sure he was not in view of the news-crews. He lit the cigarette.
"Herbal is it?"
Josh looked up to see a policeman standing in front of him, "I wish."
"Oh don't worry sir," said the policeman, moving into the gateway beside Josh, so as to be equally unobserved. "We are under strict instructions to only arrest toublemakers today. It would be awfully bad form if any of your lot were to be arrested. Very bad PR all round. What with Austin-Maxi making hay about the corruption scandal."
"My lot? What do you mean my lot?"
The policeman adjusted the radio on his shoulder, "aren't you with the anti-Nazi's? I was sure I saw you venting you spleen not two minutes ago."
Josh shrugged his shoulders. The policeman had a cocky air that Josh did not all together trust: not least because the number on his shoulder had been obscured by a piece of black elastic. "It's a free country," Josh replied, hoping the answer would be sufficient, the policeman would take the hint and leave him alone.
"I take it you are one of the rent-a-mob then?" continued the officer, not taking the hint. "How much did they pay you?"
Josh was about to answer when Amy appeared. "There you are," she said, however her gaze immediately went to the policeman, and then back to Josh. "What's going on?" she asked, a note of heavy suspicion in her voice. "Josh?"
"I'm trying to have a quiet smoke."
"We need you in the demo. The film crew are having difficulty filling the frame. You are letting the side down. Come on." She grabbed the placard leaning against the post, and thrust it into Josh's hand. "Now!" she said, pulling him by the arm.
"NAZI'S OUT! NAZI'S: how much longer do we have to be here?" Josh asked, waving his placard.
"OUT! I'm not going on the march," said Mo, "they've had their twenty quid out of me already. Do you want to go somewhere afterwards?"
"Oh wait, I have to see my uncle."
Amy turned to them, "will you too stop gossiping and protest, please."
"I'm sure she fancies me," said Mo, winking.
"NAZI'S OUT! NAZI'S OUT"
The door of the tanning-salon-cum-party-office opened and out came Max Straw, the object of the protester's anger. The crowd jeered and shouted insults at the rather small man in a neat suit, who smiled, and blew a kiss as he got into his car. A few of the protesters, closest to the film-crew from the local BBC news, jostled with the tight-head from the police rugby team; and an egg was thrown, but didn't hit anyone. And with that Mr Max Straw was gone. Leaving only the local candidate, Noreen Plum (Mrs), and her election agent, Henry Plum (Mr), and a few of their supporters on the far side of the road, to shout at.
Giles on the megaphone tried to get a chant of "SCUM, SCUM, SCUM" going. But the autumnal afternoon was growing cold, and most of the crowd wanted to be like the news-crews: namely pack up and go home. Besides the Plum's spoiled the fun, by going back into the tanning-salon-cum-party-office.
"Wait a minute," said Josh, holding out the money in his hand as proof, "I'm two quid short here."
"I docked you for your unauthorised smoke break," said Amy, turning away, to deal with the sundry hands outstretched for payment. She was checking the list of those to be paid, when Big Malc, the local convener, intervened, by pointing out that this was hardly the best place to conduct such business, and bustled Amy, and a trailing gaggle off students, into the Nice Buns cafe: where the affairs of the League might be conducted in private.
"I can't believe she did that," sighed Josh, pocketing the short change.
"It will be worse when the revolution comes." It was the policeman again. "Still, it will good for me. I'll be on triple time come that happy day."
"I'm so pleased for you."
"Don't spend it all at once," mocked the policeman, as he moved off to join his colleagues laughing and joking by the van.
"It looks like you made a friend," observed Mo. "Oh, and don't feel too hard done by, they ripped everyone off by two quid. I was seen on camera yawning."