Prelude 11

He lay in the gutter, rank and disgusting, the stench of filth and cheap alcohol about him. The respectables walked past, looking the other way, tut-tutting and glad they were not he. The wind tugged icily at the ragged clothes of the man in the gutter, but he did not move. He would not move - he was done.

Joe found Aaron sleeping rough after months of tramping the streets, asking anybody who would stop if they'd seen the man in the picture. Joe was sure that Aaron, if alive at all, would not look anything like the well-dressed executive in the picture but it was the most recent shot of him Fiona had.

"Aaron, its me, Joe."

"Aaron looked up, unable to focus through the alcoholic haze."

"Aaron, its me. I've come to take you home."

The broken man before him sobbed, "No. I can't. No more."

Joe replied, "You'll die if you stay here - you can stay at my place", and with that gently lifted Aaron up and took him home.

He called Fiona but she refused to come. She and the girls were better off without him, she said.