Black and White

Danny’s first job for the Provos was in darkness, an alley off the Falls Road. He was crouched with his back against a brick wall and Colum Allen was beside him. In the republican pubs and clubs of Belfast, Colum was sometimes called Hallion, or Hallinan, or the Welsh Saint, the last of these nicknames persisting despite his energetic claims to have no Welsh in him at all. He was tall and thin with a great vein forking up the left side of his neck; even in the dim you could see it flickering. It moved whenever he spoke, which was always. His leg jerked up and down a lot. Punching his palm was a frequent hobby too. Nodding his head. Biting his fingernails. Humming. Singing. Some of the many daily ways that Colum relieved the pressure of being Colum.

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