Tom Parkes sat on the porch of what was little more than a tumble-down shack, his rheumy eyes squinting against the scorching sun. Drawing long and hard on the last of his cigarette, he stared into the distance as a grey trail of smoke emerged from his wide nostrils, reminding him that it'd been too long since the town had last seen the sky that colour.
A huge 4x4 came belting over the hill at the end of the road, leaving clouds of dust in its wake. Its haze distorted shape became clearer as it drew closer before finally slowing to a halt at the entrance to Tom's property.
The door swung open and a stout, balding man wearing a red plaid shirt jumped down, the soles of his heavy boots thumping hard against the sun baked earth.
"You been into town today, Tom?" he called, marching across what had once been a lawn.
The old man shook his head slowly. What did Ron Polten--a drinker and womaniser for whom he had no time--want with him?
"There are journalists and photographers all over. They reckon--"
"What kind of visit is this exactly, Mr Polten?" Tom pushed himself up from the old cane chair and drawing back his shoulders, hooked both thumbs into his worn, leather belt.