There's a gruff-looking soldier standing, supervising the line with disinterest. A Swedish guy goes over to him and asks in broken English where to buy tickets. The Gruff Soldier stares at him, and does this irritating thing where he refuses to anticipate what Swedish is trying to say, even though he's struggling, and also even though Gruff must get asked that question about a million times a day. He doesn't even smile or nod to indicate that he's listening. He insists on waiting until Swedish has managed a complete sentence before he jerks his head and mutters a few words.
'Nice,' I think. 'Very courteous. Bloody Americans.'
There is a Squirl* sniffing around the park, eating all the things that the tourists drop. He stops near Gruff and looks up at him, its Squirly nose all twitchy and adorable. Gruff looks down at Squirl and continues to look gruff.
Squirl is clearly disconcerted that Gruff didn't acknowledg
e him. So it shuffles a bit closer, and puts a little Squirly paw on Gruff's khaki trouser leg. Gruff exhibits no discernable emotion.
Squirl is just plain pissed now. Can't this stupid man see how CUTE the Squirl is? The fluffy tail? The twitchy nose? The adorable wide eyes?
Squirl does a little shudder of the tail, and then runs up the outside of Gruff's military issue trousers, grabs his belt, and fixes him with a beady and slightly pugnacious eye.
Gruff looks down at the adorable ball of fur attached to his hip pocket.
And he winks at Squirl.
*Squirrel. Like this one: