The man who made this fateful proclaimation was Scottish, and went by the name of Mick. There was always a tension between Mick and Eyes, and to this day I have a feeling something went on - something not good - between the pair of them before I entered her life. He was middle-aged and she was young, but his eyes roamed over her as a former possession, whilst she alternately leant towards him as an anchor and shrank away with disgust on a seemingly random basis. Man wasn't happy with this, I could tell, although the full story is one I will never be privy to. I suspect that's a good thing.
Mick had a dog called, simply, "Dog", an aloof black and shaggy thing who wore his Collie Alsation breeding like a threat. He paid no attention to anybody or anything except Mick, and the nearest he got to the rest of the dogs was to sniff us out every now and again to make sure we knew he was top of the tree. There were quite a few of us canines drifting about with our owners - Socks and Mutley stick most in my mind, the latter being the mother of the former, but there were others from day to day, depending on who was passing through.
After the morning's greetings we'd head off our seperate ways to earn our keep - Eyes and I worked alone, in the long tunnel which ran to the side of the Library linking it with the bridge over the river and shopping area behind. Eyes would get out her Flute and I would curl up in her cross-legged lap with my nose on her knee, keeping warm whilst she filled the rich and echoing acoustics of the passage with a well-rehearsed repertoire. There was passing trade plus regular visitors - many of whom got to know my name and brought me my favourite treats, which I would devour on the spot. We would make our money fairly quickly, maybe in three or four hours, so we'd pack up and seek out Man and JD. Man was a juggler, but only a very basic one, which is why they didn't earn like we did - although he swore it was simply because of my puppy face, a claim which was disproved later on when we swopped owners for the day as an experiment. I don't know why he cared anyway, as he always took our money from us and packed up his own pitch the minute we appeared. He'd then disappear with JD for an hour or two, whilst Eyes and I would wait with the others back at the library until he returned with lumps of spicy smelling resin to roll into joints. If we were very lucky, he'd give us some pennies back and Eyes and I would head across the square to the bakery, where she'd buy us something hot and steamy whilst I waited with my nose pressed against the glass.
The rest of the day would vary, the time passing with talk and sometimes fights. If Man was in a good mood he'd let us have money to buy fresh food, and we'd take it back to the skipper to cook on the one ring stove. More often, though, we'd wait in the town until late in the evening and then head across the square to a car park at the back of a row of shops, where a soup kitchen was run by the ladies of St Oswald's church. They'd ply us with cups of what was really more like stew, and fresh ham and cheese sandwiches - the leftovers of which us dogs were only to pleased to hoover down. They were always pleased to see us, and always had a kind word and a fuss for us all - especially me, being so small. Then we would return to the hut, light the candles, munch our dog food (one thing of which there was never any shortage) and crawl into the bed to keep warm, whilst the sleepy smoke curled and the trains clattered past in their usual manner. Sometimes others would visit and stay, but mostly it was just the four of us, waiting for the dawn to come so we could start to scratch our existence all over again.