Twenty-five years in the navy, he is 73, smart and smells fresh and clean he has just visited his lady friend in the caravan that’s in the nice park just north of the town. It has just gone eleven and the meter trips over to the night rate at exactly that time; I notice he noticed that the meter is now on the enhanced night rate and ask him about himself. He tells me about the boatloads of alive and dead souls he has seen in all of the oceans of the world trying to flee from oppression. He has holed and sunk gunrunners and their cargo, he tells of lovely weather and death in the same sentence, always just an able seaman, never promoted and was happy with that. We arrive and I stop the meter total, he is sighing as he is counting his change. I laugh and joke and wish him a good evening, I even get out of the cab and open the door for him , stand to attention and salute, he laughs and walks off, I notice his shiny brogues, good ones. You can tell. He did not notice my sleight of hand because I didn’t take his money, it wasn’t that much. After twenty-five years protecting this country, it was just a little thank you from me.