He had a few minutes before his rendezvous with Kathy. Half-concealed in an alley, Simon lit up. While the Bruges authorities tolerated small quantities of cannabis, they came down hard on people who smoked in public. He inhaled and felt the world slow down, the chill of the early morning recede under the caress of the April sunshine.
The carillon of the Belfry chimed the hour. Ten o’clock. He smiled, took one last drag, and ground the joint underfoot. He took a deep breath of the crisp air, blinking at the sudden dizziness. Strong stuff, this Belgian weed.
As he wandered towards Chocolatier Dumon to meet Kathy, he realised he was staggering. It was hot; he was sweating.
A woman approached him.
“Are you okay?” she asked
“Fine,” he slurred, through chattering teeth.
He felt a clattering of bells, and smoke sounding like burning rubber.
Slowly, he slumped to the ground.